Thursday, April 29, 2010
I wanted to make marshmallows more as a chemistry experiment than anything. I made up my own recipe using candy-making concepts and different marshmallow recipes I found online. The difference between my recipe and most is that I don't use corn syrup (because I didn't have any on hand at the moment) Corn syrup is used to prevent crystallization in candy by adding glucose to prevent large sucrose crystals from forming. Two or more different sugar molecules have a harder time joining together to form crystals. Make sense? Instead I use sweetened lime juice as an acid to cause the sucrose to invert into fructose and glucose which also prevents the molecules from joining together to form crystals.
Enough of the chemistry lesson! The fun part is just seeing how it gets all poofy and white.
4 packages of unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp sweetened lime juice
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)
Food coloring (optional)
Prepare an 9 x 13" cake pan by greasing it and dusting it generously with confectioner's sugar. Combine the first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Combine second three ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the temperature reaches 240ºF (use a candy thermometer). Add flavorings and food coloring if you wish. Add the cooked sugar mixture to the gelatin mixture in the bowl. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Beat on high until white and fluffy and about triple in volume.
Pour into prepared pan (this is the hard part). Work quickly and use confectioner's sugar on your hands to carefully spread it evenly. Dust the top with more confectioner's sugar. Cool and then cut with an oiled knife into squares or shapes. Toss marshmallows with more confectioner's sugar to coat. Keep in an airtight container.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
This is my daughter Adara's original recipe for Triple Chocolate Coconut Rum (TCCR) Cookies. She loves to experiment, and these came out flaky and gooey and simply delicious!
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
Combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and extracts and beat until smooth. Combine dry ingredients then add to butter mixture. Mix until completely integrated. Add chips and fold until distributed evenly.
Roll into balls, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350ºF for 7 - 9 minutes or until slightly cracked. Don't over cook!
Adara says that next time she would probably rather substitute pecans for the white chocolate, changing the name to DCCR (Double Chocolate Coconut Rum) Cookies... with pecans.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Cake balls are a trendy way of using up leftover cake and icing. Or, if you are me and up all night craving them... you can make them from scratch. They are simply crumbled up cake and icing, formed into balls and then dipped in chocolate. Some people call them cake truffles. Any flavor of cake or icing can be used, and many people make them with box cakes or pre-made frosting. If you know me, you know that I cannot stand cake from a box or icing from a can. I'd rather eat things made from more natural ingredients if possible. So here is what I did for the photo above:
Whisk together in a small bowl:
3 T milk
2 tsp vanilla
In a larger bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 dashes salt
3/4 cups sugar
Blend into dry ingredients:
1 cup of softened butter
Add egg mixture to dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Scoop batter into a greased 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan, and bake at 350ºF for 50 - 55 minute or until done. Allow to cool while making icing.
Brown Sugar Icing
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
In a small sauce pan, bring butter, sugar and milk to a boil. Boil one minute. Do not over-boil! Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool. Beat in confectioners' sugar until it is a good icing consistency. More or less confectioners' sugar may be needed.
Crumble the entire Butter Cake and about 2/3 of the Brown Sugar Icing together. Form into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze for several hours or over night. Dip in melted candy chocolate (or I used good chocolate chips). Cool on wax paper. Serve! Store uncovered in refrigerator.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I have a great recipe for bread pudding that I got from a friend years ago, but he wants to keep it a secret... so I searched the web for a similar recipe that I can share and found one by Paula Deen. She calls it "The Best Bread Pudding", and I agree. It is extremely rich and amazingly delicious. I made a few small changes, which I've indicated in red.
2 cups granulated sugar (I used brown sugar)
5 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale over night (I used 4 cups)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten (I left this out entirely)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy (I used 1/3 cup rum)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
There has been some debate over what "Strawberries Romanoff" is, but usually it involves fresh strawberries, cream, and a citrus or orange liqueur such as Curacao, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. When I was at a party once, the host, Jacob, had us dip strawberries in sour cream and then in brown sugar and he called it "Strawberries Romanoff". It was a wonderful treat.
I had a bunch of fresh strawberries and leftover cream from Easter dessert (and as usual, too much milk), so I decided to try my hand at that same flavor, only I froze the whole thing into a batch of ice cream. I think I must be ready for spring to start acting more like summer. Here at my home we've been having snow days alternating with windy and cold sunny days. Making ice cream helps me feel like we've moved beyond winter at last.
Strawberries Romanoff Ice Cream
2.5 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup fresh strawberries, puréed
1/4 cup *Grand Marnier (or use 1 Tbsp orange zest)
1 cup brown sugar
Combine and freeze in ice cream maker according to directions. Eat while freshly frozen!
*If you use Grand Marnier or any liqueur as a flavoring in ice cream, you need to first burn off the alcohol. Otherwise it will prevent the ice cream from freezing. You can do this by pouring the liqueur into a pan and heating it, then carefully igniting it. Once the flame has died the alcohol will be gone and all you have left is flavor.
Photo of me eating strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar at Jacob's party.