Guinness Marshmallows

20140311-121006.jpg

Oh my gosh, it’s hard to believe that we’re almost half-way through March! I’m already making St. Paddy’s Day food and planning for Pi Day. To make time feel like it’s moving even faster, the clocks sprung forward an hour this weekend!

20140311-120432.jpg

But it’s finally starting to feel like Spring here in DC! The added hour of evening daylight is hard to get used to at first, but it definitely helps shake off the winter blues. Now, I LOVE Winter – the snow, the cold, the boots and chunky sweaters – but the beginning of Spring always feels so magical and hopeful.

20140311-115818.jpg

Pretty soon, it’s going to be time to start planting (we still have at least 1 more frost in DC) out in my little porch garden. But before the bounty of Spring, I’m still in Winter-baking mode, which means chocolate, citrus, and things I can bake without my usual trip to the Farmer’s Market to pick up fresh fruit.

20140311-115634.jpg

So last week, I busted out the candy-making equipment and my stash of Guinness. (I have to hide a few bottles or else they disappear when friends come over. 😛 ) And I whipped up a batch of Guinness Marshmallows, working off my original Homemade Marshmallow recipe from Alton Brown.

20140311-120229.jpg

These marshmallows use what [I think] is the perfect amount of Guinness: 8 ounces out of an 11-ounce bottle, leaving a little bit to sip while the syrup is cooking! 😉 The mallows are then coated with a bit of cocoa powder to bring out the malt in the Guinness. The marshmallows are cooked the same as vanilla mallows, but the heat needs to be reduced as the syrup cooks. So they’ll take a few more minutes to make because the bubbles in the Guinness can cause a catastrophic boil-over! (Trust me, I speak from experience…)

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Advertisements

Homemade Gummies

20140213-114754.jpg

I had a few lofty goals for Valentine’s Day this year. First was a cheesecake experiment, which unfortunately failed. The cheesecake was tasty, but the presentation just didn’t work out. 😦 So I bumped up my Panna Cotta post to Tuesday, and I tried to come up with something new. Last minute, I decided to make some heart-shaped homemade gummies.

20140213-114731.jpg

I started grabbing the equipment and ingredients from my baking “office”, but then realized that I didn’t have nearly enough corn syrup. Since it’s snowing in DC and I didn’t have enough time to go to the grocery store, I starting flipping through cookbooks to come up with other options.

20140213-114737.jpg

Tada! The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook has a recipe for super-easy homemade gummies, using Jell-O! And what do I have in my baking cupboard, but a box of cherry Jell-O. All was not lost! And within 45 minutes, I had fresh, homemade sweet and sour cherry gummies.

20140213-114742.jpg

These gummies are perfect for a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat. Bring them to work, send them to school with the kiddos, or just nibble on a few yourself! You can make them with any flavor of Jell-O and as sweet or sour as you choose. The only ingredient that may be hard to get last-minute is the citric acid, but look for it in the canning section of your local super market or hardware store. (It may be labeled as Sour Salt or Lemon Salt!)

20140213-114749.jpg

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Candy Cane Marshmallows

20131217-120547.jpg

There’s a lot to be said about homemade marshmallows. But it can all be mostly summed up in one word: YUM! Homemade marshmallows are scores better than store-bought and are surprisingly simple to make.

20131217-120447.jpg

The marshmallows start out with unflavored gelatin and a sugar syrup that’s been cooked to firm-ball stage. The syrup is added to the bloomed gelatin and whipped until light and fluffy. Then flavoring is added, which can range from vanilla to fruity to nutty.

20131217-120454.jpg

The marshmallows then “cure” for a few hours, before they are cut in to bite-size pieces. But they can also be swirled with food coloring, layered with different colors or flavors, and piped in fun designs (like Peeps!).

20131217-120503.jpg

For the holidays this year, I wanted to make up a batch of peppermint marshmallows. I started off with a batch of white marshmallows with a red swirl, but I wasn’t too impressed. So I decided to layer the marshmallows in red and white and coat them in crushed candy canes!

20131217-120514.jpg

The result is delightfully fluffy and minty marshmallows, with a little crunch from the crushed candy canes! They are great on their own but can also be added to hot chocolate for a wonderful hint of peppermint. The marshmallows will keep in an air-tight container for about 3 weeks, if they last that long!

20131217-120539.jpg

Serve these marshmallows at your holiday party, or wrap them up in cellophane bags tied with red and white ribbon for holiday gift giving. I know that, to keep myself from gobbling them all up, I’ll assemble some marshmallows in to pretty gift bags for holidays! 😉

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Eggnog Caramels

20131212-094121.jpg

I mentioned on Tuesday that I had a ridiculously long list of Christmas baking last year, most of which I didn’t get to. (Isn’t that the way it always is?) This week I got to cross two things off this year’s list: Tuesday’s Homemade Eggnog and today’s Eggnog Caramels.

The Eggnog Caramels originated as an idea to use leftover holiday nog. I figured I could replace the usual heavy cream with eggnog, and tada! Well, the process was slightly more complicated than that…

20131212-094115.jpg

These caramels take an exceptional amount of patience, something I’m usually lacking. All of my previous caramel experience has been of the sauce variety, so making caramel candy was a new adventure in persistence and patience.

For my first batch, I grabbed my big soup pot that I usually use when making caramels (the one that won’t boil over when it furiously bubbles), clipped on my fancy new digital candy thermometer, and got started. When the caramel was taking “too long” to get to the firm-ball stage, I nudged the heat up slightly. And what was, just minutes before, the beautiful aroma of warm milk, maple, and nutmeg quickly turned to that disappointing smell of burnt sugar. 😦

20131212-094045.jpg

So I dumped the first batch, switched to a slightly smaller pot so that my thermometer could get a better reading, and started the second batch. This time, I resisted the urge to turn up the heat, and stayed up over an hour past my bedtime carefully watching the caramel bubble away.

20131212-094040.jpg

The result was a pan full of beautiful caramel. I’m not a huge fan of eggnog, but I do LOVE caramels. And these are amazing: sweet and creamy, with hints of maple and a good amount of ground nutmeg. I was quite pleased with myself. I even got to try out my new set of candy equipment that I got for my birthday a few weeks ago! 🙂

20131212-094053.jpg

These Eggnog Caramels are great for the upcoming holidays and will be a fantastic way to use up leftover nog. (I know that I mentioned on Tuesday that I usually shy away from commercially produced nog, but I wanted to use cooked nog since the caramels are heated to such a high temperature. If you’re concerned about chemicals and preservatives, buy organic nog if you can!) The caramels will keep for up to 3 weeks when stored in an airtight container. Wrap them in wax paper or cling wrap to keep them from sticking together and to make them easier to grab and eat!

20131212-094109.jpg

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Candied Orange Peel

Last week, I blogged a recipe for an awesome Blood Orange Tart. I made the tart a few weeks ago, and in my current desire to use new ingredients that I would normally throw away, I decided to save the peels from the blood oranges. After the tart was done, I set out to candy the orange peels.

The process of candying peels is pretty easy. The peels are blanched in hot water three times and then cooked in a simple syrup. The peels sit in the simple syrup overnight and are set out to dry for about a day. So it takes a little bit of time to complete, but most of that time is spent waiting in between steps. The actual labor involved is pretty minimal.

And the result is beautiful candied orange peels. The peels can be eaten as is or covered in milk or dark chocolate. The combination of tangy, bitter, and sweet makes them a great snack or treat. The peels can also be chopped and added to cakes, brownies, fresh whipped cream, and many other breads and desserts!

In the recipe below, I used the peels from blood oranges, but feel free to substitute regular oranges instead. You can also use the same method for candying other citrus fruits, like lemon, lime, and grapefruit.

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below. And thanks for reading! 🙂

Continue reading

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

love marshmallows! I loved the chewy, gooey texture of marshmallow.  I love every sweet and airy bite. Whether they’re covered in chocolate, toasted in s’mores, melted in Rice Krispie treats, or just straight from the bag, marshmallows are one of my favorites!

As a kid, I would sneak one of two marshmallows out of the pantry until the bag was nearly empty or until my mom caught on. As an adult, I stock a few bags of marshmallows in my pantry for the days I want to use them to bake, but I hide them so I don’t just eat them plain. 

Now, in my quest to try baking new things, I decided to tackle marshmallows. I did some searching, and after reading dozens of recipes and reviews, I settled on this recipe from Alton Brown. The proportions are pretty standard when compared to other recipes I looked at, and I trust Alton Brown whenever I’m looking for recipe tips or ideas!

The resulting marshmallows are AMAZING! Store-bought marshmallows don’t even compare to the taste and texture of homemade marshmallows. Once you try this recipe, you’ll never want to buy processed marshmallows again! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😛 )

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

Continue reading

Whiskey Caramel Sauce


I am apparently at a loss for words today. I think all I really have to say is “ZOMG, whiskey caramel sauce!” I first made the whiskey caramel sauce a few months ago, and I’ve been sitting on the recipe ever since!

There are two basic ways to make caramel: the dry method and the wet method. The dry method involves slowly heating sugar until it melts, while the wet method involves heating sugar dissolved in water until the water evaporates. This recipe uses the wet method for making caramel. Sugar and water are heated and reduced until golden brown. And then heavy cream, whiskey, and a bit of salt are added to make the caramel sauce.

This recipe is super-easy to make; it just takes a little bit of patience. The caramel can be used the same day or stored in glass jars. When sealed, the caramel can be stored for 3 months without refrigeration. But, once opened, should be consumed within a week (if it lasts that long!).

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

Continue reading