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Posts Tagged ‘desserts’

I swear, I can’t seem to do anything in moderation! What started out to be a gifty (is that a word?) thought for my Gluten-free granddaughters, has grown into marshmallow dreams. I had planned on getting my home ready for Christmas decorating this weekend with festive greenery and glitter and colored lights. Marshmallows, a snow-scene complete with drifts was not quite what I had in mind. But everyone, this is so much fun. It reminds me of playing in the snow as a little girl ohhhh so many years ago. My kitchen is white from one end to the other with powdered sugar and cornstarch. With trepidation I approached my first batch. Dealing with candy thermometers and blistering hot sugar was daunting. It was not nearly as difficult as it seemed and such fun watching that hot sugar syrup being beaten in billowing drifts. The visions of sugar plums set my head jitterbugging. Can I make a life out of this, I’m asking myself. I mean, I love marshmallows but there are just so many cups of cocoa to garnish. Just so many s-mores and sweet-potato casseroles, what will I do with these hundreds of gooey, ethereal, lighter-than-air puffs?
shall I become a puffy, fluffy grandma or..Gifts of course, gift baskets of this summer’s jelly, biscotti and homemade marshmallows.
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My first batch was peppermint, I snitched the recipe out of Southern Living magazine. They are wonderful One warning though, if they will not be served within a day or two, fore-go the crushed candy cane and maybe just swirl some red paste food coloring through the mix in the pan with a toothpick. The candy softened quite a bit after storing, but still givable and delicious.

Batch two was chocolate, nice heavy dark chocolate flavor. No complaints. Perfect for a cup of hot chocolate.020

Now batch three was interesting. I decided to make Dulce de Leche marshmallows, following my basic recipe from Southern Living and working in some Dulce de Leche I made (used loosely) by simmering a can of condensed milk for several hours.
Directions coming. I let it cool while I prepared my simple vanilla marshmallows. When the marshmallows had fluffed up their stuff, I whipped 5 egg whites to soft peaks and folded in half the can of cooled Dulce de Leche.026
I swirled the remainder into my marshmallow mixture. That step was NOT a good idea. The caramel cream sank to the bottom of my pan. 025All was not lost, when I cut the marshmallows, I trimmed the bottom gooey caramel off and put it in a bowl for dessert. Yummy! 030037That left the marshmallows intact. These were luscious flavored but they stay very moist and weepy. Best to serve immediately or the whole doggone pan make for a terrific, rich dessert.

Basic Marshmallows

Spray shortening
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 cup water, divided
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
flavoring (1 tsp vanilla, or peppermint, or lemon, etc)
1 egg white beaten until stiff peaks form
pinch salt

Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with Pam, line with parchment and spray again. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Sift half of the cornstarch/sugar mixture into prepared dish, coating well. In mixer bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup sugar. In a deep flat-bottomed pan, stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Turn heat up to medium-high and insert candy thermometer. Cook without stirring until temperature is 240 degrees. Remove from heat. Beat gelatin mixture briefly, add salt. Slowly pour hot sugar mixture into mixing bowl, drizzling down the side of the bowl (I don’t know why, but the recipe said to do this way). Beat at high-speed about 10-12 minutes or until mixture is tripled in volume and is fluffy and white. Mix in flavoring. Fold egg white into beaten sugar mixture. Turn mixture into prepared pan, sift remaining cornstarch/sugar over top. Set in a cool place uncovered for 4 hours or more. To cut, turn onto board that has been sprinkled with more cornstarch and or powdered sugar. I cut mine with a long serrated bread knife, pressing down in a straight cut rather than sawing at it and had no problems with sticking. Some recipes say to coat the knife with Pam or cornstarch or even hot water, but I didn’t need to. Toss cubes in a bit more powdered sugar to coat all sides.

Dulce de Leche

1 can condensed milk (not evaporated)

Place UNOPENED can in pan, cover with water. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and simmer can for at least 2 hours. Allow can to cool before trying to open, as it can explode when very hot. This makes a terrific sauce poured over ice cream.

Chocolate Variation
When mixing powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture, add 2 Tbl unsweetened cocoa. This will coat your chocolate marshmallows with brown instead of white.
Mix 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa with water until it forms a thick paste. When sugar has been beaten until almost tripled, drop cocoa mixture into sugar by the teaspoon, beating well after each addition.

Other variations are endless. Coming up at my house will be cinnamon, hazelnut, cherry, and lavender. If there is an extract for it, I’ll try it. I wonder how Bailey’s would work, huh? Maybe I can make a life out of this.

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Thanksgiving time and I’m remembering so many happy Thanksgivings spent with my parents and sisters. When my sisters and I were younger, Thanksgiving meant High School football. Natick vs. Framingham rivals like no other. We always made our own pom-poms from red and blue crepe paper rolls and mom would buy us colored crysanthamums to wear on our jackets. While we cheered our team on, mom was busy in the kitchen at home preparing our Thanksgiving dinner. It was always served at the big dining room table, covered in white linen. Our dishes with the pretty pink flowers would be filled with turkey and dressing and all the fixings. Through the years, Thanksgiving day followed almost the same pattern. Because I was the youngest child, the game continued to be a big part of the day, but my sisters married and sometimes shared the day with their spouse’s families. One year, with just the three of us (Mom, Dad and me) it was decided we would eat out. A more beautiful setting for Thanksgiving than the Wayside Inn there will never be.

It was there I discovered Grape-nut pudding. Served warm with whipped cream, I fell in love with the silky custard and slightly nutty crust. In the years that have passed, I’ve never tried making my own until now. I searched my beloved copy of ‘Fanny Farmer Cookbook’ and scoured the internet to come up with what I felt was a suitable recipe. Of course I took my favorite three and took a little bit from each.

Now, more is not always better. Every now and then, I ‘tweak’ a recipe. Here we go, first, I adjusted the eggs, but only because in separating one of them, I broke the white into my bowl and ditched the yolk. I was supposed to use 2 eggs and 2 yolks. Now I had 2 eggs and 1 white. To correct the error I just added another egg, and what the heck, I added another yolk too. I beat up my eggs with the sugar and vanilla and tempered them nicely. Then I decided that 1/2 cup of Grape-Nuts sounded wanting. They looked lost floating around in that quart of milk. So I added another 1/2 cup. What I didn’t count on is, they expand! They plump up to 3 times their size! They are like oatmeal or cornmeal. They take over and suck up all that milk. We ate it anyway, covered in more milk and lots of whipped cream, not a total disaster, but not at all like I remembered way back 50 yrs ago. Lesson learned.

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Raisin Bars

My daughter has asked for these repeatedly over her 40+ years, a favorite passed down to me from my mother-in-law. The smell of cinnamon and ginger is the perfect setting for fall baking. Fast and easy almost every kitchen will have the ingredients at hand.

1 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1-3/4 Cup Flour
1 Teas Baking Soda
1/4 Teas Salt
1 Teas Vanilla
1 Teas Cinnamon
1/2 Teas Nutmeg
1/2 Teas Allspice
1/2 Teas Ginger
1/4 Teas ground Cloves

Place water and raisins in small pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Add Oil to raisins and water. Allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly-roll pan (cookie sheet with raised sides) with Pam.
Lightly dust pan with flour.
Sift together flour, salt, soda and dry spices in a bowl.
Beat 1 egg with sugar until light. Mix in vanilla and raisin mixture.
Add flour mixture a third at a time. Mix just until well incorporated.
Spread evenly in pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tests done.
After cake is completely cooled,
glaze with

1/2 cup powdered sugar
dash of vanilla
Milk to make thin consistency for spreading (2-3 Tbl.)

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