Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - I already love ya!

On facebook yesterday I joked that I was gonna spend my day cleaning the old year out and baking the new year in and boy did I! The kids and I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. We sat and vacuumed every little dog hair off the couch only to finish, survey our work, and watch Jake the Wonder Mutt jump right onto his seat on the couch and begin to repopulate it!

And, while I definitely whipped up some dishes for the New Year, I didn't even make a single cupcake. Bet ya didn't see that coming huh? Instead I tried making something I had never done before, making homemade marshmallows.

You heard me right, marshmallows. Because, really, is there nothing that fits me more than spending hours making something you can buy cheap at any store? But it was a lot of fun and something I'll definitely do again! And, since plain old marshmallows could never be my style, I made them peppermint.
And then, once the peppermint marshmallows had time to fully set up, the kids and I ushered in the New Year with a big mug of homemade hot chocolate with the new marshmallows on top! And poor Not-So-Ex, who had to work a 14 hr day on New Years Eve, had his own mug waiting on him the second he got home (in fact, Hunt and I met him on the porch with it).
So anyway, here's the marshmallow recipe. It comes from and I would strongly suggest going to the site and reading the reviews because they clarified a lot of things for me. To make mine peppermint, I added both vanilla (as the recipe says) and peppermint extract and then, once they're in the pan, swirled a bit of red food coloring through them.
1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups water, divided
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.Dust a 9x9 inch square dish generously with confectioners' sugar.
2.In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together white sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 cup water. Heat to 250 to 265 degrees F (121 to 129 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball.
3.While syrup is heating, place remaining water in a metal bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Place bowl over simmering water until gelatin has dissolved completely. Keep in a warm place until syrup has come to temperature. Remove syrup from heat and whisk gelatin mixture into hot syrup. Set aside.
4.In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Continue to beat, pouring syrup mixture into egg whites in a thin stream, until the egg whites are very stiff. Stir in vanilla. Spread evenly in prepared pan and let rest 8 hours or overnight before cutting.
And, since it's the New Year and I'm feeling happy and generous, I'm gonna throw in the cocoa recipe too! Enjoy!
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1.Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

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