Monday, February 14, 2011

Fluffy Love

I'm always up for a food adventure....even more so if I get to make something deliciously complicated. So when I found a recipe for homemade marshmallows, I bookmarked it....waiting for the perfect occasion to test them out. I thought they might make good Christmas presents...but when that came and went, I decided they'd be this year's Valentines! (last year everyone got pie pops...can't have them thinking I don't still love them!)

So I called up my baking-goddess friend Lindsey and asked her to help. It was a win-win because she is great at all things cooking related, AND she has a standup mixer! (and by win win, I mean I won twice....there wasn't much in it for her. Unless you count hanging out with me). And as it turns out, she had actually made marshmallows before (because of course she had!) So now it was more like a win-win-win!

I chose two recipes, unsure of which would work better....And we actually ended up using both, as part of a semi cook-off challenge. First up was a Valentine's Day themed version, and second was Marth's swirled rendition. (we didn't add the peppermint oil....just went with a regular vanilla.)

They were actually very similar, the main difference was Martha's called for eggs, and the other didn't. And the ration of sugar vs. corn syrup is a bit different. But the good news is, they both turned out delicious! The first recipe was very big points there....and while Martha's was more complicated (always!) it was a bit fluffier and easier to spread.

Both recipes are very thorough, so I won't bother giving you instructions....instead, I'll just share some photos and tips!

I had never used a candy thermometer before....but it was a must.
No idea how "prairie women" as Lindsey referred to them, used to do it!

The first batch! We split it into a 13x9 pan, and a 9x9 pan. This made each batch a little shallower so I could make shapes with cookie cutters later. But you do have to move quickly....spray EVERYTHING with cooking spray, and coat it with powdered sugar, or corn starch to keep it from sticking. Having two people really helped with this step so we could get it done before the marshmallow got too stiff.

Next tip- definitely use a stand up mixer. I don't think our arms were up for fifteen minutes of mixing per batch....

Oh- and my favorite tip? Make them at someone else's house! Then the mess is their problem! (Just kidding....I helped her...but there was powdered sugar everywhere!)

Swirl it up, and let them dry overnight.

Cutting out the hearts wasn't hard, but it did take a while...Call your mom on speakerphone while you're at it. She'll thank you, and it'll feel like it's going faster!

I rolled the sides of the first batch in pink and red sugar, and coated the sides of the swirled batch in plain powdered sugar. (this helps keep them from sticking together)

So pretty, right?!? I "heart" them!

Then I filled little bags with one of each kind...

And sealed them with Valentine's stickers.

And that's it! I was so so excited to try this out, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. It was a time consuming process, but who cares, when you're having fun?

Happy Valentine's Day!

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