Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Cooking

Upon reflection, I think I was a little ambitious with this year's Holiday cooking.

First, I made caramels.
Never done it before.
First batch was good. A little pale, but soft & chewy - exactly how I like them.
I used my largest saucepan & came dangerously close to sugar coating my stove, so the next batches were cooked in a 5.5 quart pot.

Big Mistake.

My 2nd batch was hard & chewy, like Sugar Daddies.
My 3rd batch was nearly done, then burnt.
My 4th batch (a 1/2 batch cooked in the small saucepan) burnt so badly that I had to open all the doors & windows & light a Yankee Candle. My candy thermometer also feel victim to the muck, shattering when I tried to pry it out of the acrid mess still clinging to the bottom of the pan.

Yep, 5 hours later, it's still soaking in my sink.

On a happier note, I made marshmallows!!
I used this recipe from Bon Appetit.

Blooming the gelatin.
What's that?
You smell hooves?
Me too.
There's a reason the comments mentioned GOOD QUALITY VANILLA.
Read the recipe comments. Those people know what they're talking about.
(I used Costco vanilla. When I make these again, I will either need to make peppermint marshmallows with a kicky red swirl, or invest in better vanilla).

(TO BE CLEAR - I love Costco vanilla & this is my go-to for baking. But take a whiff of that bloomin' gelatin, and you'll want to pick up some Tahitian Bourbon Vanilla, too!)

Hot Mess.

Hotter Mess.

Marshmallow fluff.

Pour it in the pan & let it sit all night.

Messy, but not as bad as I thought.
Lots of powdered sugar & a serrated knife helped to make them cut-able.
I tried cutting shapes with a cookie cutter, but that was a little much for this year. Maybe in 2010.
They taste yummy - not at all like hooves.
I'm saving some for hot chocolate on Christmas, but I also set a few aside & partially dipped them in dark chocolate.
Say it with me: Mmmmmm.......
Then I made peppermint patties with the world's easiest recipe from The Kitchn. I LOVE The Kitchn.

Dipped in dark chocolate and ready to be consumed at our Christmas Eve gathering. They are really yummy, and are a near match in texture and taste to the commercial version. I was fortunate to find a candy supply store just down the street, and they had good quality chocolate at a low, low price. No tempering required.
Tomorrow I am supposed to make jam cookies, cherry cheesecake bites and artichoke dip (all for Christmas Eve).
(Yep, my New Year's goals are totally going to include some much needed gym time!)
Happy Eating!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Wow you ambitous this year. I wish I had just a pinch of your motivation this holiday season. Here it is just a coupld days before Christmas and my family is lucky if they are getting a home cooked dinner.