Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

I did it! I made marshmallows. This started last year, around my birthday. Austin is knows for their Trailer Eateries and we went to one that has cake balls. I got Lily homemade marshmallows, which I never thought about making from scratch. The taste of this fluffy, squishy white powder coated square was enough to send me to Google for some recipes. I came upon one that gave trial and error about the mess involved and to not expect clean beater, bowls or spoons.

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined.

Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

These are her directions, mixed with my images.
I used my hand mixer, for the mixing and a regular knife (not oiled) for the cutting.
The best part was bouncing the fluffy white squares in the powdered sugar. I toasted my first one on a shish-kabob skewer, over my stove's flame. It was delish~! I boxed them up in Christmas containers and gave them to family and friends to eat alone or with cocoa. The next time we get the fire going, I will be sure to have a batch of these for smores. Maybe I'll even make graham crackers...!

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DIY Coconut Milk

After a friend told me about doing it, I wanted to try too.
I made my own coconut milk...well, Coconut flavored water at least.
I started with a brown coconut (then later read that I should have started with a younger one that has more water in it)
After breaking it and getting out all the meat I peeled the brown skin off as much of the coconut meat as possible. This was a little hard because the skin is so tough, but using a small paring knife made it easier. Then you toss it in the blender and add water.

As you blend, you have to get your hand and squeeze out some of the "milk".
You can also use cheesecloth, but what is the fun in that?

I felt like I got a really nice moisturizer for my hands with all the coconut oil and there was oil and coconut snow on everything in my kitchen.

After you strain off the milk, you have milky white juice and flaky coconut meat.
I tried making granola bars with the coconut, using oatmeal, raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips. They didn't hold well, but they tasted great and ended up more like granola than bars. I guess I could have tried to bake them to make a crunchy bar.
The milk was used in my fruit smoothies and added a great flavor and creaminess.

It did NOT come out the consistency of the canned coconut milk, either because of what I used, or the lack of power from my blender, but it was usable.

The best part was Lily wearing her coconut hat. I didn't get a picture because I was busy with my mess.
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