Peppermint Marshmallows

I will often make something, take pictures, and plan to blog about it, only to put it off for several days (sometimes weeks) and then realize the food I made no longer actually fits the season. Cue in Peppermint Marshmallows – I would probably consume them all year round, but they seem rather Christmas-y. Nonetheless, because its still cold and snowy here in Illinois, I present this peppermint marshmallow goodness, perfect for melting in hot cocoa (or if you’re weird as myself and don’t really care for hot cocoa, black coffee).

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I first discovered how simple (and hysterically messy) marshmallow making is last summer with two dear friends of mine, Allyson and Maddie. We made vanilla bean marshmallows for some delicious s’mores at a cookout, and they were a huge hit.

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Naturally, when hot cocoa season rolled around, we just had to try out a peppermint version.

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My lovely sister Raechel taste-tested and approved.

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Have a blessed new year.

Peppermint Marshmallows

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ to 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Red food coloring

Pour ½ cup of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment and sprinkle gelatin over the surface; set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Over medium high heat and with a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pan, cook the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove the pan from the heat once temperature is reached.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of whipping, starting with the smaller amount and increasing according to taste and desired strength.

While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use (you may find that you need a bit extra later, just continue with a 1-1 ratio of powdered sugar and cornstarch).

When whipped, flavored and lukewarm, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan.  Drop about 6 drops of red food coloring around the surface of the marshmallows and use a toothpick or knife to swirl the red into the marshmallows. Dust the top with remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at about 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into desired shapes (a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture works well). Once cut, dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Variation:

For vanilla bean marshmallows, add the scraped seeds from one vanilla bean pod into the sugar mixture before cooking. Later, replace the peppermint extract with vanilla extract. Omit food coloring.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Much love, Bre

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Raechy – Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

We sat in the kitchen debating over cupcakes. It was a good sort a debate, one that ensured these cupcakes were going to be flawless because so much thought went into them. She would say this one, I would say that one, but eventually we came to an agreement. Together with our aprons on, we made a perfect cupcake.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, artsntarts.wordpress.com

My sister and I are Irish twins, that is, born in the same calendar year. Only eleven months separate the two of us. Well, that and our incredibly differing personalities. And then there’s the physical separation by the ocean. I guess we are rather separated after all, but sometimes I like to pretend that the mere eleven months is the only thing distancing us because that’s only a separation in age, not space.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, https://artsntarts.wordpress.com/

My sister did this thing that astonished us all. She joined the navy. We’re so proud of her, not only is she the beautiful, thoughtful, and bubbly sister I’ve always known, but also she’s strong. In this past year and sometime more, she has been such an example of strength and perseverance. I admire my sister.

I love that my sister is in the navy, yet I hate it. I think the navy brought us together, strengthening our relationship. It showed us how important our relationship is and how we’ve taken each other for granted before. But the navy has separated us so much also.  We live across the world from each other, one waking up while the other goes to sleep. We can’t see each other but twice a year.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, https://artsntarts.wordpress.com/

My sister is like another half to myself. While I’m quite shy, she’s a social butterfly. I’m timid, she’s bold. She’s always been my big sister, the one I look up to, and even through our differences, she has set quite an example for me.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, https://artsntarts.wordpress.com/

One thing my sister and I both agree squarely on is our love for baking. We have different baking styles, just as our styles in practically everything else vary a bit, but together I think we made something pretty spectacular.

We made Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. I think Raechel would like you to know that she first pinned the recipe to Pinterest, so she gets to claim it. (After all, we are sisters, there has to be some competitiveness!)

After tasting the frosting, we decided we wanted the earl grey tea flavor to shine through a wee bit more, so we brushed the tops of the cupcakes with a quick and easy simple syrup made by boiling tea and sugar. (And that was my ingenious idea, competitiveness I tell ya)

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, https://artsntarts.wordpress.com/Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Desserts for Breakfast.

makes 12 – 14 cupcakes

Cake:

1 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup whole milk (we used almond milk)

1/2 cup hot coffee (dark roast for best results)

1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)

Ganache Frosting:

6 teabags of Earl Grey

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn heavy cream

5 oz unsweetened chocolate

8 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup sugar

extra tea, for brushing

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare 12 – 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk.

With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until evenly distributed. Pour the hot coffee into the batter gradually and mix on medium low until smooth. Stir in bittersweet chocolate pieces. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Ganache:

Place the Earl Grey teabags, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover tightly, and let steep for at least one hour.

Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and cut the butter into pieces. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Remove the teabags from the milk mixture, making sure to squeeze as much liquid from the teabags as possible before discarding. Add the sugar to the milk mixture, return to the stove, and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and butter. Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth.Cool completely.

Once cool, transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on medium until light-colored and fluffy. Use immediately to spread or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Extra Notes: Start steeping the cream and tea for the frosting first, it’ll save time. Brush tops of cupcakes with extra tea or a tea simple syrup to enhance the tea flavor. Sprinkle tops of frosted cupcakes with sea salt to make them extra special.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes, https://artsntarts.wordpress.com/

The darkness of the chocolate was perfect and the earl grey tea made these cupcakes oh so sophisticated, because we like to thing we are.

Girly chat about boys, clothes, and shoes could be heard while these baked, as a smell of sweet cake wafted from the oven. They were speckled with sea salt to take them over the top and they tasted sinfully rich. We could feel nothing but happiness as we ate these cupcake; cherishing the sweet time we had together.

I love my Raechy.