Let's talk movies.
How many of you have seen Mockingjay?
Ok good. Remember the scene when Prim and Katniss are racing down the stairs, trying to reach the bomb shelter while the humongous doors are closing and the echoing intercom counts down?
3-2-1 and Katniss throws herself sideways through the last tiny crack of space, barely avoiding being crushed as the doors slam shut.
That is how I feel about Christmas blogging.
First, it's the day after Thanksgiving and you feel like you have endless time. You happily daydream about fun Christmas recipes and sipping hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. Life is good. Fast forward about three seconds and it's CHRISTMAS EVE. OK.
This last week has felt like a mad dash to try to create and shoot recipes to squeak in before the big day, and I feel like there's an ominous voice in my head counting down the hours. I'm squeezing through the doors, sucking in (which is hard because of how many marshmallows I've been eating) and hoping I'll get to the other side alive.
Am I being overly dramatic? Probably. The point is, I have a blast with this blog and I have so many ideas, but time is a little limited.
Anyway, there will probably be some straggler holiday-ish recipes popping up before New Years if that's ok with you. I mean, why else is there 12 days of Christmas if not an extension for making festive treats?
Now! Once you make marshmallows yourself, you might be ruined for store-bought. Homemade is somehow exactly like store-bought, but a million times better. Don't question it, just make them. It may seem intimidating, but it's really truly not. There's pretty much only two main steps, and they're both foolproof. (as I proved by messing up everything and still coming out with beautiful treats) I know that marshmallows aren't the healthiest things, but I believe that a healthy mindset, meaning everything in moderation, is the best lifestyle. Also, It's Christmas! Treat yo self! Although, even when I'm enjoying a treat, I have a hard time with corn syrup. (a key ingredient in marshmallows) It just creeps me out. If you're like me, you'll be glad to know that I successfully subbed agave nectar for the corn syrup without any noticeable change. There is some talk going around that agave isn't any better than corn syrup etc, but I'm still not sure what I believe. My agave is organic, minimally processed, and just seems more natural...but I just don't know. Speaking of natural alternatives, I also attempted to color the marshmallows red...with, um, beet powder. I know. It didn't work very well, but they did get some kinda pretty red speckles and there's no beet taste so I'm not complaining!
Enjoy in hot chocolate, indoor s'mores, or straight out of hand.
Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchn: How To Make Fluffy Marshmallows
- 3 envelopes gelatin (about 2.5 tablespoons)
- 1/2 + 3/4 cup cold water; divided
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (you can change the flavor by using different extracts)
- 1.5 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 cup light agave nectar
- pinch of salt
- Optional; toppings such as chocolate chips, crushed candy cane, or sprinkles
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 cup corn starch
Prepare two 8x8 inch baking pans by covering the bottom and sides with a thing layer of coconut oil. Using your fingers works the best, and make sure not to miss any spots.
Pour the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer, then slowly pour in 1/2 cup of water, whisking with a fork as you go. Add the peppermint extract and mix until the mixture resembles applesauce.
Pour the other 3/4 cup water, sugar, agave, and salt into a 4 quart saucepan but do not stir. Set the mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Still without stirring, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil the syrup until it reaches 247-250°F, then remove from the heat.
Using the whisk attachment, run the mixer on medium speed and slowly add the syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring it down the inside of the bowl. When all of the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and whip for 10 minutes. It may look ready before then, but keep whipping. At the end, you should have stiff, shiny, white fluff. At this point you can add food coloring and stir halfway for a marbled effect, or transfer the mixture directly to the prepared pans.
Divide the fluff evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops as best you can. Add toppings if you're using them. Allow the marshmallows to rest, uncovered at room temperature, for 6-24 hours.
When the marshmallows are rested and properly set, gently pull the marshmallow sheets out of the pans and use a wet knife or pizza cutter to slice them into squares. Alternately, make fun shapes with an oiled cookie cutter.
Combine the corn starch and the powdered sugar in a bowl, and toss the cut marshmallows in the mixture to prevent stickiness.
In other news, I made some cut out cookies that I love too much not to share. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Edible Perspective, but ended up changing it a lot because I ran out of ingredients + texture issues. I also made natural frosting out of coconut butter + maple syrup + coconut milk, and almond butter + cacao powder + coconut milk. Topped with gogis, mixed nuts,sesame seeds, and sneaky chocolate chips ;) With no butter, no white flour, no refined sugar, and no artificial colors, these are unbelievably delicious and without a doubt my new favorite Christmas cookies.
P.S. If this isn't enough hot chocolate for you, check back soon!