Thursday, January 28, 2010
I took up knitting last March and I've had a wonderful time looking at patterns on Ravelry.com (a knit and crochet community). In June I came across a project by Holli, a fellow member, in which she had altered a hat pattern to fit her husband. I loved it, made it one of my "favorites", and ended up making one for my husband. I also followed Holli's blog and was hooked when I read the s'more cookie post.
I really enjoy seeing what Holli is up to, whether it's cooking or knitting. She is a talented woman! I commented on a blog post featuring some lovely knitting. She emailed me to thank me and we started a little conversation from there. Holli ended up helping me with a yarn suggestion for the hat and encouraging me along the way. Then came the pictures of Jack modeling the hat for my Ravelry projects page and that's when things took an amusing turn. Holli explains it perfectly in her blog.
In 2010, I hope to do more cooking, reading, and knitting.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Our friends Aaron and Anner (short for Andrea), had us over to their home last weekend to teach us how to make marshmallows from scratch. I have been wanting to know about this ever since they brought a s'mores kit with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers to our place last year. We are so lucky that our pals were gracious enough to teach us.
Making marshmallows in not difficult, but there is some timing involved and you have to pay attention to temperature. Here are a few tips we picked up from Anner: as easy as marshmallow making is, it's best to have two people involved in the process. Also, a pizza cutter works great to cut the individual marshmallow squares. I have some pictures of this adventure below. I'll post the Aaron & Anner-approved recipes for marshmallows and graham crackers too. We haven't made the graham crackers yet, but I've eaten them and recommend them. They are made with whole wheat flour which gives them a wonderful texture. Thank you Aaron and Anner!
Anner with a sheet of "demonstration" marshmallows:
Anner helps me cut the "demonstration" marshmallows. We are deep in concentration!
And now Jack and I make our own. Bringing sugar to temperature:
Behold the gooey-ness!
Transferring the gooey-ness:
A treat for one of the cooks:
An artistic marshmallow photo arranged and shot by Jack:
And the recipes:
Homemade Marshmallows Bon Appétit | July 2008
by Molly Wizenberg
These can be layered between sheets of parchment and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup cold water, divided
3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup potato starch*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil.
Coat foil lightly with nonstick spray. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.
Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over mediumlow heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240°F, about 8 minutes.
With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down side of bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to blend, about 30 seconds longer.
Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with wet spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.
Stir potato starch and powdered sugar in small bowl to blend. Sift generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13x9 inches. Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab. Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with nonstick spray. Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture.
*A food thickener made from cooked, dried, ground potatoes, this gluten free flour is also known as potato flour; available at most supermarkets.
And now for the graham crackers:
Homemade Graham Crackers
Once you taste one of these sweet whole wheat crackers, you may never go back to the store-bought variety again. Use them as the base for homemade s'mores, sandwich them with peanut butter, or simply enjoy them on their own.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons high-quality honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flours, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Put butter, brown sugar, and honey into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
- Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and divide into quarters. Roll out each piece between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles a bit larger than 9 by 6 inches, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Using a fluted pastry wheel, trip the outermost edges or each rectangle, and divide into three 6 by 3-inch rectangles. Pressing lightly, so as not to cut all the way through, score each piece in half lengthwise and crosswise, to form four 3 by 1 1/2-inch crackers. Stack parchment and dough on a baking sheet and chill in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Remove two sheets of dough from freezer. Pierce crackers using the tines of a fork. Transfer to large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 8 to 9 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes; transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely.