Monday, January 8, 2018

Eggnog Marshmallows

Quick post.

No story today about how a little boy thought it was a good idea to chuck a jar of spaghetti sauce out of his mom's shopping cart just as I was walking by and made a terrible mess of my jeans and boots. No story today about how a friend's dog peed all over my cozy winter coat that had fallen onto the floor just as we were about to leave and walk home in -24 degrees celsius weather (that's -11 degrees in fahrenheit). And certainly no story today about how I went to get the mail from the postbox and fell flat on my ass in front of a couple taking a walk and accidentally took out their dog in the process. (Different family, different dog).

No stories today, but rather show you a way to use up any leftover eggnog you may have hanging around. I figured there is a short shelf life for this post, I wanted to get the word out fast. Please don't break my heart and dump it down the sink. Eggnog lends a unique, yet delicious flavour to baked goods. For those naysayers, in many cases, the favour is quite subtle, you won't even taste it but will reap all the benefits of its richness. I have discovered yet another way to incorporate this favourite seasonal flavour into my goods: MARSHMALLOWS. Not only are marshmallows an easy treat to make (they really are!) once you do, you'll find it pretty hard to consume the store bought variety afterwards. Add your own spin and flavours to the mix and the sky's the limit.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and enjoy some lush hot chocolate with several of these smushed into my cup while I come back to reality.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2018 be nothing short of sweet.

Recipe adapted and modified from Butter Baked Goods

3 envelopes unflavoured gelatin
½ cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup eggnog (preferably 2% or higher fat content)
½ cup corn syrup (or golden syrup if you cannot find in your area)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ -1 teaspoon rum extract, optional
½ teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for dusting
2 cups powdered sugar

Generously butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. Rosie's recipe calls for a 9 x 9 baking pan, but I prefer my marshmallows a bit flatter. If you want fat, gorgeous marshmallows, go for the latter pan.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, pour in water and drizzle gelatin over top and allow the water to absorb. Gelatin must be softened or bloom before it can be used.

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in sugar, eggnog, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a rapid boil. Keep a small bowl of water close by and brush down the sides of the saucepan with a saturated pastry brush to avoid any sugar from bubbling up and crystallizing or burning. Once achieved, boil mixture for one full minute to allow sugar to dissolve, otherwise you'll end up with grainy marshmallows. You can tell the sugar has properly dissolved by coating the tip of a spoon in the mixture. If you see sugar crystals, keep boiling. Remove from heat.

Turn mixer on low speed and very carefully pour sugar mixture down the side of the bowl. The sugar will be extremely hot, so take care not to burn yourself. Once mixture is incorporated, slowly increase speed of mixer to high. The entire mixing process will take roughly 10-12 minutes and the volume of marshmallow should triple in size. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often to avoid the batter overflowing as it fluffs. Stop the mixer, add in vanilla and rum extracts as well as nutmeg; whip to incorporate.

Empty marshmallow mixture into prepared baking pan. Evenly distribute batter using an offset spatula or bench scraper, working quickly as marshmallow becomes harder to spread once it starts to cool. Give the baking pan a good rap on the counter. Generously butter a piece of plastic wrap and place on top of marshmallows, butter side down. Allow marshmallows to set at room temperature for at least 4 hours, but best overnight.

Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar onto counter or cutting board. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into strips then into squares. Toss cut marshmallows into a bowl of powdered sugar and ensure all cut edges are coated. This will prevent them from sticking together. Lightly dust with nutmeg before serving, if so desired. Store marshmallows in an airtight container. For soft and chewy marshmallows, consume within 4-5 days. After about a week, they will begin to take on the texture of  the store bought variety, but are still perfect in a hot beverage.

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