Candy Cane Marshmallows

I found this recipe while looking for something new to make for the holidays. I’ve only worked with egg whites once or twice before and wasn’t very successful. I like a challenge now and then so I thought I’d give these a shot. I felt a little like a mad scientist: sugar brewing over here, gelatin over there, egg whites in the mixer. I had a good time making these, maybe because I felt like I won- I beat the egg whites! It was so neat to see it grow in volume as it whipped together. When it was all done I was (overly) proud of my marshmallows. They are light and fluffy, with just enough (not too much) peppermint flavor. I think it would be fun to experiment with different flavor extracts and see how they taste. I shared them with anyone who’d try one, and even got a couple requests for the recipe!


Candy Cane Marshmallows
(from Martha Stewart)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water, divided
4 pkg (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin (1 Box)
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 tsp red food coloring
Powdered Sugar


Coat a 13X9 pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.


A few things I learned that might come in handy:
* The original recipe used an 8 in square pan. The marshmallows were very tall, I ended up cutting them in half. I prefer the 13X9 pan size.
* These are quite sticky, but if you roll them in powdered sugar and brush off the excess they don’t stick anymore. I did this to the top and sides before starting to cut my second batch and they went much easier.
* Using a pizza cutter to roll through went a lot faster and smoother than a knife.


Scott got a chocolate fountain for Christmas with my family last weekend. I think these will be great for our first chocolate fondue! I know I said in my last post that was all of my holiday treats; but I promise, I really am done now with holiday treats. For this year…  🙂
– Jodi

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Holiday Treat Extravaganza!

It’s been quite a while since my last post. I don’t want you to think this is due to a lack of baking though. In fact, I’ve been baking and cooking so much I haven’t had time to post it all! There was the Cheese Ball, the Peanut Butter Kiss cookies and the dipped pretzels. Those I do every year because they are favorites around here, my sister’s been asking for weeks for the kiss cookies. My mom loves these spritz cookies, so I always make a double batch. That’s a whole lot of spritz! I use the recipe that came with my cookie press, and they come out great every time. They’re like a little crisp sugar cookie.

Spritz Cookies
1-1/2 cups butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
(Makes 6 dozen cookies)


Preheat oven to 400° F. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract; beat well. Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough. Do not chill. Place dough into Cookie Press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown on bottom. Remove cookies from sheet and cool.
I then frost them with a very simple icing and decorate: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp milk and 1/4 tsp almond extract until smooth. If too dry add a little milk, if too runny add a little powdered sugar.

Each year I also use the holidays as an excuse to try out a bunch of new sweet treats too. Here’s a couple for you to try out.


Toffee Bars
These are very thin crisp bars that have a light toffee flavor and a milk chocolate top. I was hoping the toffee flavor would be more obvious because I love toffee, but they are still tasty and very simple to make.




1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 bag milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350, grease a jelly roll pan. In a medium bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour. Press mixture into pan and bake for 15 minutes. Immediately after removing pan from the oven place the chocolate on top and allow to melt. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the surface with a spatula.  These are easiest to cut while still warm.


Chewy Caramel Oatmeal Bars
These were a new one, but have been such a hit they are gone already! I will be making another batch this week for sure. The recipe calls for a bag of caramels, but I felt ambitious and used homemade caramel from this recipe instead (told you I’ve been busy!). These are rich, so I cut them small before serving.


2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted,
1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz bag caramels
5 tbsp milk


Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in melted butter until thoroughly mixed. Press half the mixture into a 13X9 baking pan. Bake for 10 min, then sprinkle the chocolate chips on the baked crust. Microwave the caramels and milk on high for about 3 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Sprinkle remaining half of oat mixture on caramel layer. Bake for 20 minutes, cool completely and cut into bars.

Oreo and Nutter Butter Truffles
The Oreo version of these Scott’s sister made last year and I loved them. So when I went to look up the recipe I found it along with a variation with Nutter Butter cookies. Oh yum! I won’t repost the recipe, just click the link above. You’ll be glad you did! 🙂


I think I’m almost done making holiday treats, and I’ll definitely share if I do make some more.

One last thing I wanted to share was the holiday treat Scott cooked up for me this year. He surprised me with a trip to New York City last weekend. How exciting!! I’ve always wanted to see the city all lit up for the holidays, especially the big tree in Rockefeller Plaza. So we headed east with plans to see the tree and skate on the rink on Saturday night. We saw the tree (it was gorgeous!) and waited in the long line to skate, and I will admit I got a bit impatient… “let’s just skip this, we can come back tomorrow or something”. He was adamant, we were skating and doing it now. After a couple turns around the rink, I found out why. He led me to the center of the ice, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Oh wow! I, of course, said Yes!
We had a great time the rest of the weekend and did find time to do one other thing I always wanted to do in NY- stand outside on the plaza for the Today show. We set the DVR at home before we left just in case, and we were on (see clips here)! Just behind Matt Lauer and Al Roker (I shook Al’s hand!). We also had our picture taken for their blog. We had an amazing trip, a memorable proposal and what a sweet guy! 🙂


Happy Holidays!
– Jodi

Surprise Cookies

I made these right before Thanksgiving and just got too busy to post them. For Thanksgiving I hosted a big dinner for about 25 people, and it turned out great! I was planning on posting all about it, but in the excitement of the day I completely forgot to take pictures. Maybe next year…  Anyways I found these cookies on the Martha Stewart website and decided to give them a try. They tasted great, I love the marshmallows and chocolate together. They are moist and chewy and quite addicting. Having “just one” always turned into at least 2 or 3. I always seem to have trouble though with lumpy chocolate frosting. Anyone out there with suggestions, I’d love to get this kink worked out. I’m pretty sure either my cocoa powder or my powdered sugar is the culprit, maybe if I sift them next time? Help!


Cookies:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally


Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In medium bowl cream together butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.


I’ve just gotten started on my holiday baking. I have a whole list of things I’m excited to try and of course have to make some old favorites too. If I can get this frosting right I might have to add these to my holiday list!
– Jodi