Saturday, January 17, 2015

Candy Cane Marshmallows

I mentioned in a prior post that we've been on a kick where we are trying to use up what is in the kitchen... the cupboards, the freezer, the refrigerator.  Sure, we've been going to the store to buy things to make meals with what we have on hand, but it's been fun to see what we can make.

Yesterday, I made up some lentils and some Candy Cane Marshmallows. The only think I needed at the store was a little jalapeno... for the lentils; NOT the marshmallows. 

For the lentils, I tried a recipe I found HERE called Smoky Lentils with Fire Roasted Tomatoes. The flavors in this recipe are great but, for some reason, my lentils just never seemed to soften up.  The lentils were rather old (do you think that could impact things?)  I added a lot more cooking liquid than the recipe called for. Today, I took the lentils, which I had put in the refrigerator over night, and I added them to the Crock Pot with a carton of chicken broth. I am hoping some simmering in broth will soften the lentils further and I will have a nice soup. I was planning to have the lentils with brown rice or quinoa for work week lunches, but soup sounds good, too!

The Candy Cane Marshmallows are a hoot to make. You do need two specific tools to make marshmallows at home:  a candy thermometer and a stand mixer. I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. If I remember correctly, I adapted this recipe from a Paula Deen recipe... maybe. It's been a long time. Now I am not sure.  The problem I have with making marshmallow is that the fluff gets so sticky I feel like a quarter of the recipe is wasted because it sticks to the bowl.  It makes me wonder if I don't need to whip the fluff as long as I do. 

Whatever the case may be, these little yummy fluffy pillows of marshmallow-y goodness are AMAZING in hot chocolate.  If you make these and try them in hot chocolate, I am sure you will write to me to thank me. Hee, hee! 

Candy Cane Marshmallows

3 packets unflavored gelatin (I used Knox brand)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (I used Karo brand)
1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or iodized is fine)
2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
3 to 4 candy canes, crushed
confectioners' (powdered) sugar, for dusting

Lightly grease a small baking sheet (I use a roasting pan with sides) with Pam Non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with a light coating of confectioners' sugar using a fine mesh sieve and set prepared pan aside.  Place candy canes in a gallon sized plastic zip close bag and crush the candy canes with a rolling pin or the flat bottom of a sturdy mug. 

Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow it to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.  Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.  Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add in the peppermint extract and mix thoroughly.

This is the hilarious part.  Attempt to remove the marshmallow fluff from the bowl!  I found that it helps to use a sturdy spatula to help you with the task, but first spray the spatula with more Pam Non-stick cooking spray.  To spread the fluff into the prepared pan, wet your hands under the tap repeatedly or else the fluff sticks to your hands.

Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top of the marshmallows.  Let the marshmallows set, uncovered on the counter top over night.

Cutting the marshmallows is also a tricky, sticky mess.  You'll find that the top and bottom of the marshmallows are dry and not too sticky, but once you cut into them, the newly exposed sides of the marshmallows are sticky.  My suggestion is to have more powdered sugar on hand while you are cutting them up and you can roll the marshmallows around in the powdered sugar so they don't stick together.  A nice clean pair of kitchen scissors might be a good tool for cutting up these stick buggers, but I have yet to try that.

Store the marshmallows in an airtight container so they keep fresh for several weeks.  Awesome in hot chocolate. Enjoy! 

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