marshmallow

Spice is Nice: Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

424 Edited Spice is Nice: Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

I felt really good about this recipe until I told my sister I made marshmallows. She responded by asking if I made them into anything. Ignoring the red flag my consciousness immediately raised, I asked her what exactly she meant. “Like shapes?” I foolishly inquired. She went on to explain she had seen homemade marshmallows made to resemble mushrooms. She further claims to have seen such a thing in real life, not just on television. Well sheesh, my marshmallows are just squares.

Simple, boring ol’ squares, but  tasty ones at that. In her defense, my sister attempted to soften the blow by reassuring me most people do not makes marshmallows at all. My hope is to change that with this delightful recipe for pumpkin spice marshmallows. I assure you, they really are quite simple and worthwhile to make.

Other than waiting for the sugar syrup to reach the correct temperature and then waiting for the mixture to whip up just right and then waiting for the marshmallows to fully set, this recipe is a breeze. If you have patience, you can conquer this recipe. In fact, even impatient cooks can make these marshmallows with relative ease.

419 Edited Spice is Nice: Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

 

Case in point, if asked to note something I would like to change about myself, my tendency to indulge in impatience would be right up there. I am and always have been a rather impatient individual. That is tough to admit, but I do so in hopes you recognize even an impatient person can get through all the waiting to enjoy homemade marshmallows.

I also admit I have tried my hand at such a recipe before. In that attempt, I made (giant-sized) homemade marshmallows. After my second attempt here, I still have quite a way to go before I reach perfection, but I tell myself that is part of the fun.

My verdict? Homemade marshmallows are soft, pillowy, lovely tastes of deliciousness. That is the extent of my ability to wax poetically about food, so I hope I have done them justice. Enjoy! 

438 Edited Spice is Nice: Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

 

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • ¼ cup powdered gelatin
  • 1¼ cups corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine the pumpkin puree, ½ cup of the cold water and the powdered gelatin in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the remaining ½ cup of cold water into a saucepan along with the corn syrup, sugar and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Gently brush down the sides of the pot from time to time to return any sugar crystals that form back into the mixture.
  4. Upon boiling, place a candy thermometer into the syrup and continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 255 degrees F (hard ball stage).
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  6. With the mixer running, very slowly and very carefully pour the hot sugar solution into the pumpkin-gelatin mixture.
  7. Gradually increase the mixer speed to high and allow to whip for 10 minutes. It may be necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice if the mixture creeps up to high.
  8. At the beginning of the final minute of whipping (minute 9), sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice.
  9. Lightly spray a standard baking sheet (I used a jelly roll pan to help contain the mixture) with non-stick cooking spray and rub gently with a paper towel to distribute the spray and remove any excess.
  10. Scrape the mixture into a prepared pan and spread as smooth as possible with an offset spatula or large knife. Be sure to coat the utensil with nonstick cooking spray as well.
  11. Set the marshmallows aside and allow to rest uncovered at room temperature for at least four hours. (Resting overnight is fine).
  12. After this final wait, cut the marshmallows with a lightly oiled knife or pizza cutter, break into individual pieces and place in a large bowl.
  13. Whisk together the cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar and pour over the cut marshmallows.
  14. Toss to coat completely and shake off excess.
  15. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container with the lid slightly ajar for one to three days.
Notes
1¼ cups powdered gelatin is equivalent to just more than 1 box or 4 envelops of Knox gelatin. In lieu of pumpkin pie spice, the original recipe called for 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies of the Cornflakes & Marshmallows Variety

IMG 5028 Edited Chocolate Chip Cookies of the Cornflakes & Marshmallows Variety

The email came in with the subject line, “A Cookie That’ll Send You to Rehab.‏” That meant it was going to be good. As good as something like, Crack Pie perhaps. And since the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie recipe was written by the same person responsible for the Crack Pie, I believed in the subject line. That and the fact pretty much anything has me at marshmallows.

Imagine the sadness I experienced when the first batch came out burnt to a crisp after a dip in oven much shorter than the recommended 18-ish minutes. So I tried again…and again…and again. And time after time after time I failed. What the heck?

Don’t get me wrong, the cookies were edible. If you like an overwhelming flavor of salt in your sweets and burnt edges to your cookies, that is. And if you like super thin cookies, these may very well send you to rehab.

In all seriousness though, I did eat a few of these cookies simply because they fascinated me. There was so much about them that could have gone right. Yet in actuality, so much went wrong. Why?

IMG 5044 Edited e1346719167284 Chocolate Chip Cookies of the Cornflakes & Marshmallows Variety

First off, I think the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt is too much.If you can get past the salt, or decide to reduce its amount, you will likely find the cookies have a delightful toffee-like taste. I certainly did. And if you can get the occasional cookie with a marshmallow toasted just right, your mind will be instantly transported to a summer campfire where the perfect marshmallows are roasted over red hot coals.

Secondly, though the recipe cautions, “Do not bake room-temperature disks — they will not hold their shape”, that was not enough to prevent near-paper-thin cookies. I say heck with refrigerating the disks of dough and freeze those babies. That definitely helped the cookies hold their shape, and as a lone chick in the kitchen, I could bake just one or two at a time throughout the week for perfect portions.

Admittedly, as a weekend baker who is just barely beyond the rank of a kitchen novice, I have zero credibility to criticize a recipe provided by Christina Tosi of Momofuku’s Milk Bar. The woman’s won a James Beard award for heaven’s sake. Yet here I am, winner of nothing more prestigious than a coloring contest, criticizing her recipe.

But I write what I experience. A lot of the time I hear people say how they can’t cook or they can’t bake. And after crap cookies like this, I see why. If this is the first thing I ever baked, then I would probably quit too! But I am evidence that you should not quit.

IMG 5024 Edited Chocolate Chip Cookies of the Cornflakes & Marshmallows Variety

Whenever I hear someone say they like my cookies but they cannot bake, I think, “but all I did was follow the instructions.” And when you have good instructions – i.e. a well-written recipe – your food will turn out. I am convinced of it.

If I ever get around to trying these cookies again, I will most certainly reduce the salt and likely the fat to see if that helps reduce the cookies’ spread. But getting around to these cookies again is a pretty big if.

As I was taking their pictures, I thought to myself, “you know, these cookies are like the teenage boys of cookies.” They try to be cool, but really, they are just full of nonsense. With plenty of other delicious cookie recipes in the world, I just don’t know that it’s worth putting up with the nonsense to try these again.

Lastly, you likely noticed a change in the look of the blog today. After a summer of transition, the flip of the calendar from August to September just seemed like a good time to refresh the blog as well. I hope you like it. I can say without a doubt it’s better than the cookies.

IMG 5057 Edited Chocolate Chip Cookies of the Cornflakes & Marshmallows Variety

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon salt*
  • 3 cups Cornflake Crunch (see notes below)
  • ⅔ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1¼ cup mini marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat 7-8 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Still on low speed, add in cornflakes and chocolate chips until just incorporated, about 30-45 seconds.
  5. Add in the marshmallows.
  6. Place ⅓ cup of dough at a time onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently pat the tops of dough domes flat.
  7. Wrap pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate** for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (Do not bake the dough at room temperature as the cookies will not hold their shape.)
  8. When ready to bake, arrange the chilled disks at least 4 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees F until cookies are browned on edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. This could take anywhere from 12-18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread as they bake.
Notes
To make the Cornflake Crunch 5 cup cornflakes ½ cup milk powder 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 9 tablespoons butter, melted In a medium bowl, crush cornflakes to about a quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt to the bowl and mix. Add the melted butter and toss to coat. The mixture will form into small clusters. On a parchment-lined sheet pan, spread clusters and bake at 275 F for 20 minutes. When done, the clusters should appear slightly toasted and smell buttery. Allow to cool completely using. “Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for one week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep with one month.” This yields about 4 cups, and the cookie recipe calls for 3 cups. I threw my leftovers into some Rice Krispie treats. *I wrote the cookie recipe as seen in my original copy, but I strongly recommend reducing the salt by ½ to 1 teaspoon. **I also strongly recommend freezing the dough rather than refrigerating. At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

 

Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

IMG 1898 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

Some of you may recall the Fondant Friday posts that appeared during this blog’s infancy. They weren’t too good but at the time, I had big aspirations to practice, practice, practice and become really adept at working with fondant. But aside from making a few fondant flowers to top cupcakes near the Fourth of July, I didn’t touch fondant again until this past week. As mentioned in Tuesday’s post, I topped red velvet shortbread cookies with a layer of icing and homemade fondant.

I was very curious about how to make fondant at home and how the taste of homemade fondant would compare to that of store-bought fondant. My friend Niki once told me she prefers to look at cakes decorated with fondant, but prefers to eat cakes covered in icing. I thought that was a very eloquent way to say fondant just tastes bad!

Since the homemade fondant recipe I used called only for sugar in various forms – marshmallows, corn syrup, and confectioner’s sugar – and flavorings, the taste was superior to the two store-bought fondants, Duff and Wilton brands, I had tasted. While Duff’s fondant tastes pretty good, Wilton’s fondant is terrible. Wilton offers a lot of great baking-related products, but fondant is not one of them.

Making homemade fondant is a sticky process that requires a lot of kneading. I can’t stress enough how important it is to lightly coat the mixing bowls and utensils you will use with non-stick cooking spray or shortening. Since fondant is so thick, more like modeling clay than Play-Doh, you will likely need to knead by hand at some point. Adding a bit of confectioners’ sugar to fondant, just like adding flour to bread dough, while kneading helps alleviate the stickiness.

IMG 1903 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

My number one tip for working with fondant is to make sure your work surface is clean. Wipe off the counter, or mat if you have one, and then wipe it off again. Fondant picks up crumbs and dust like a magnet, and it’s no fun to roll out a sheet of fondant and then see flecks of non-fondant stuff all over it. Seriously, someone should start to market fondant as a perishable lint roller.

Other suggestions include rubbing a thin coat of white vegetable shortening on the work surface and your hands before rolling out the fondant, but I’ve always just used my dusting pouch filled with equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch to prevent the rolled out fondant from sticking to the work surface.

To color fondant, I dab a small ball of fondant with a toothpick dipped in gel food color until the fondant is speckled. Then I knead the color into the fondant until it is consistent throughout. As for kneading, I work an entire batch of fondant likeI would knead bread dough, pressing it out with my hands and folding it over.  When kneading in color, I pull the smaller ball of fondant like I imagine I would pull taffy.

If you have never worked with fondant before, I would suggest buying a cheap package of fondant (that’s where the Wilton brand comes in handy) simply to get a feel for the texture and its properties.  Working with fondant takes time and patience, but with practice, you can do some pretty cool things.  See the Cake Journal blog for all of my favorite fondant tutorials. Happy (Fondant) Friday!

IMG 1901 Edited Fondant Friday: Homemade Fondant

 

Homemade Fondant
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Non-stick cooking spray or shortening
  • 15 ounces marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 cups confectioner’s sugar
Instructions
  1. Grease a microwave-safe bowl, a stand mixer bowl, dough hooks, and spatulas with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray or shortening.
  2. Combine the marshmallows and water in the microwave safe bowl.
  3. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is soupy.
  4. When the mixture is melted and soupy, stir in the lemon juice, corn syrup, flavoring extracts, and salt.
  5. Place 5-6 cups of confectioner’s sugar in the stand mixer bowl and form a well in the center.
  6. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and knead on low speed with the dough hook until the sugar is mostly incorporated.
  7. When the mixture begins to stick to the bowl, add an additional 1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar and continue to knead until the fondant is smooth, thick, and loses it’s stickiness.
  8. Form the fondant into a smooth ball, very lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray or shortening, and wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap.
  9. Allow the fondant to rest 3-4 hours or overnight before using to decorate.
  10. Store wrapped in plastic wrap and in an air-tight container.
Notes
Fondant is very thick, so if the stand mixer starts to work too hard (which is likely), remove the fondant and knead by hand on a clean work surface.You may want to coat the work surface with non-stick cooking spray, shortening, or a mixture of equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch.