I’m kind of in disbelief that there are only a few short sleeps until 2011 is over. It’s been quite the year. These past few months have raced by at lightning speed, with work and excitement flooding the days. Right now, I’m sitting in my living room, with family. We’re all scattered on our various implements and gifts, in that post-Christmas joyfulness. Books, games, movies, and a little writing, here. Every time I’ve sat down to write in the past while, it’s been with a pre-defined purpose. Something that will be marked, graded, sent off to be analyzed by someone wiser than I. Although my final exams aren’t yet upon me, that time where I melt into the computer and pour out an essay that’s been simmering in the back of my head for awhile, that time has been postponed. Repeatedly put off while I write something I’m required to, or study quarks and organic chemistry (but don’t you dare get me wrong- I adore all of the science. It’s utterly enthralling. I can’t wait to learn more and more of it). Now, though, is time for rest and reconnection.
Boxing Day has always been one of those grand yet quiet days for me. Either a day in transit as we recuperate from the festivities of Christmas, or a day like this one. Waking up slowly, skiing, lazing about, with a hearty dash of loving food.
This time of year is one of sharing. Of giving. Of celebrating and loving. These marshmallows? I’ve been sharing them all about. Bags to friends, here and there. Spreading some holiday cheer, all around. Most of all, I’ve been dropping them into hot chocolate. I love to curl up with a cup while decompressing after the day, or while chatting with friends.
To make this recipe even better, it came from my dear friend Aimée, who writes both Simple Bites and Under the High Chair. When I visited her over the summer, she gave me one of my first tastes of homemade marshmallows. Cinnamon and vanilla ones, if I remember correctly. Heaven. I’ve played around with a few different recipes as of late. The vanilla bean ones from Ashley at Not Without Salt are sublime as well. In the spirit of the season though, here is my ever-so-slightly adapted recipe for peppermint marshmallows. If you’ve never had homemade marshmallows, I dare you to make some to ring in the new year, no matter what recipe you use. They’re positively magnificent, and incredibly easy. The only scary part is boiling the sugar. Aside from that, your mixer does all the work. Then, you have marshmallows that you can share with friends, who will be amazed that you! made! these!
3 envelopes of unflavoured gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly grease it with oil.
In your stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment, pour the 1/2 cup of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin onto it. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water until uniform. Bring to a boil, then allow to boil hard for a minute.
Pour the boiling sugar mixture over the gelatin and add salt. Turn your mixer on to high, and beat for 12 minutes.
Add extracts and food colouring (I used enough red food colouring to achieve a pink colour, added drop by drop), and incorporate into mixture.
Scrape mixture into the prepared pan. The mixture will be very sticky, but just do your best. Spread the mixture as evenly as possible in the pan. Place an oiled sheet of plastic wrap on top, pressing the mixture even it out, and allow marshmallows to sit overnight.
When removing the marshmallow slab from the pan, ensure that you coat it completely with icing sugar, so is doesn’t stick to everything! Cut into bite-sized pieces with a sharp knife or kitchen shears, coating each cut marshmallow with icing sugar. Enjoy!
Soft, pillowy and collecting light. That crisp winter morning light is such a treat. Especially on days where I can watch it stream in, rather than being out the door before the first ray of sunlight makes its appearance.
After ensuring the top was coated with enough icing sugar, I flipped it over and covered the rest. With candy recipes, you just have to make sure to read the instructions. Make sure to follow them. I know that sounds obvious, and it is. Candy recipes are often simpler than we build them up to be (or at least that’s true for how they’ve been built up in my head!), so read and conquer. You can do it.
On the morning I was cutting these marshmallows, my friend Kate came over (Hi Kate!). I met her through this space. We baked together. One holiday recipe from my family (cookies!) and one from hers. She shared this spectacular bark, a chocolate-laden pistachio bark. Oh my. When my brother found it in the freezer (where it’s stored), he told me to get the recipe. He said he wanted to make it. That’s big, really big. This bark is so incredibly good. Go see Kate for the recipe. I have no doubt that it’ll be popping up in my house sometime soon.
No matter what, marshmallows are a fun thing to throw together. Taste some homemade marshmallows soon, if you haven’t already.
I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season and copious amounts of hot chocolate! I can’t wait to see what marvelous things 2012 will bring to all of us. I’m positive it’s going to be a phenomenal year, just as 2011 has been. Wishing merry merry, happy happy days to all of you!