Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peppermint Marshmallows

⅔ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
½ cup cold water
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
⅔ cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Mixing bowl
Electric mixer with whisk attachment
9 x 13 pan
Heavy-bottomed sauce pan
Candy (or instant read) Thermometer

1. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. You can use foil, but if your pan is well oiled, the marshmallows will pop out just fine.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

3. Pour ½ cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside.

4. Combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.  Don't stir the mixture or scrape the sides.  The mixture needs to reach 240 degrees F (soft ball stage), about 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract to the bowl with the gelatin while the sugar mixture is coming to a boil.

6. With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, avoid the side of the bowl as much as possible.  Whisk at 1/2 speed for two minutes.

7. Whisk at high speed another 8 to 10 minutes.  Don't scrape the sides. You will get marshmallow fluff everywhere.

8. Before the marshmallows are finished whisking, spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray.  You may want to coat your hands here if you want to try to scrape some of the marshmallow fluff off the whisk.

9. Working quickly, scrape the marshmallow fluff out of the mixing bowl and into the 9 x 13 pan with the rubber spatula. Don't try to scrape the marshmallow completely out of the bowl or off the whisk.

10. Coat your hands (again) with cooking spray. Press/pat gently on the fluff to smooth and even the entire surface.

11. Sift 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture over the surface of the marshmallows. Make sure to completely cover the surface. Cover with a tea towel, or parchment and set aside.

12. Eight to 12 hours later (at least until completely room temp and firm), you can turn the pan sized marshmallow onto a cutting board.  Sift the oiled side with 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture.

13. Cut into desired shapes and sizes.  You can use cookie cutters, a knife, etc.

14. Sift the last 1/3 of the powdered sugar-corn starch mixture into a large zip top bag.  Add all the cut marshmallows. Seal with a little extra air in the bag. Shake to coat.

15. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks before beginning to turn stale.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

This is my mother's recipe. It's her mother's recipe. I think it's her mother's mother's recipe.

Ingredients for chicken broth
3 lb whole chicken
1-2 carrots
1-2 celery ribs
1 medium onion, quartered

Ingredients for dumplings
2 c sifted flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T shortening

1. Make the broth
Place in a large pot: chicken, carrots, celery, and onion. Bring to NEAR boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is done. Discard veggies. Remove chicken. Cool until you are able to handle it. Debone. Discard skin, bones, visible fat. Chill broth. Skim fat. Bring to gentle boil when ready for dumplings.

2. Make the dumplings
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add milk until stiff dough forms. Roll 1/8 inch thin on HEAVILY floured surface. Cut into rectangles -- it is easiest to cut into 1 inch strips one way and repeat perpendicularly. Roll and cut all the dumplings BEFORE you start adding to the gently boiling broth.

3. Combining it all
Add small batches of dumpling dough to the broth at a rolling boil. DO NOT STIR except to separate the dumplings. Continue to add the dumplings and cook. Keep the broth boiling. Add milk and chicken once all the dumplings are cooked.