Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

LeanneI’ve been giving away a homemade peppermint cocoa mix to my older nieces and nephews for years and I change it up every time, searching for the perfect combination.  I have finally found it this year and I’m sharing it with you because I know you might need a last minute gift idea. I attach a tag or label to let people know how to use it and I’ve included those simple directions.  If you’re not giving it away as gifts, keep it for yourself!  I’ve also included my homemade marshmallow recipe, which is dead simple if you have a standing mixer and a candy thermometer—I promise.  And, people are VERY impressed when you give homemade marshmallows, almost as if you were a rocket scientist.  Have a very merry Christmas and continue to have fun cooking!

Leanne’s Peppermint Cocoa Mix

7 cups Nestle chocolate milk mix
2 ½ cups peppermint-flavored (seasonal) dry creamer
3 cups dry milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup crushed peppermint candy

Combine all ingredients in a very big bowl and use whisk to combine.  Use ½ cup measuring scoop to pour into cellophane bags.  Directions for cocoa: “Spoon 3 tablespoons into 8 ounces steaming water and stir. Enjoy!”

Homemade Marshmallows

2½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Combine gelatin and ½ cup cold water in an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer, raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches the firm-ball stage (244 degrees). Immediately remove pan from heat.

cocoaWith mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high, beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust and 8×12-inch glass baking pan with confectioner’s sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar. Let stand overnight, uncovered to dry out. Turn out onto a board and cut marshmallows with a dry, clean knife into 1½ –inch squares and dust with more sugar so they don’t stick together.

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Beverage, Dessert | Leave a comment

Scarborough Fair Shortbread

LeanneNow that it’s officially Christmas time, visions of cookies and candy are dancing in my head. I have my standards that I make every Christmas such as Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti, Rocky Road Fudge with Homemade Marshmallows, and Caramels, but I also like to add in several cookies just for fun. My mother-in-law is crazy about shortbread so I am always on the look-out for good recipes. I adapted a reliable standard recipe to incorporate parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, after the famous song) and the result is an irresistibly sweet-savory cookie. If you know a shortbread lover, it makes a fine gift.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons  fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
½ teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flours, ¼ cup sugar, salt, and chopped herbs in a bowl, then add butter and stir with a fork until mixture forms a dough. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a 6-inch round on an ungreased baking sheet. Crimp edges of rounds and cut each into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with remaining ½ tablespoon sugar.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Re-cut wedges while shortbread is hot, then cool completely on sheet on a rack. Makes 16 cookies

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Dessert | Leave a comment

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