Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentines Day, And Other Fluff

The dead of winter.
Depressing turn of phrase, but oh so true.
Nothing much is growing in northeast Ohio.
No major holidays or celebrations.
Activities are at a minimum.

Around now I try to look for anything to boost morale, including making a big deal out of a little holiday called Valentines Day. 
It's a holiday devoted to love!
Who doesn't love that?
Ok. A lot of people.

It's cheesy and commercialized. 
It's silly and frivolous.
We should express our love everyday, not just in mid February.
I get it. 

But, it's February and we need a reason to celebrate, so I'm going for it. 
I hope you drape everything in pink, cut out a million paper hearts and make these special treats.

Cheese is good, in moderation.

Homemade Marshmallows
I often make these at other times of the year without cutting them into heart shapes, so if you're short on time, skip that part and just use a knife and cut them into squares.

2 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar-for dusting
Chocolate wafers-for melting

  1. Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let this stand while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  2. In medium size heavy saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.
  4. Clip on a candy thermometer and cook on high without stirring until the syrup reaches 244 degrees.
  5. Immediately remove pan from heat.
  6. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture. 
  7. Add vanilla.
  8. Increase speed to high. Beat until the mixture is very thick, white and has tripled in volume. Approximately 15 minutes.
  9. Generously dust a 9x13 pan with confectioners sugar.
  10. Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and smooth into an even surface. Dust the top with confectioners sugar and let dry overnight.
  11. Using a heart cookie cutter, cut hearts out of marshmallow.
  12. Melt chocolate wafers in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted.
  13. Using a toothpick, pierce the side of the marshmallow heart and dip in chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off and place finished heart on waxed paper to dry.

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