Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Vanilla Marshmallows!

Let me begin by saying that marshmallows are not my thing.

But, it was something I wanted to learn to make because you can use marshmallows in many recipes and also because I cannot find them easily. Oh, my mom loves them, too, so I searched and found a recipe I thought was easy and tasty!

Vanilla marshmallows
adapted slightly by the wonderful Sweetapolita!

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup Classic Coating, plus more for dusting

** Classic Coating:
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup cornstarch


* Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
* Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 min.
* Stir together the sugar, half the corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. 
* Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 115°C. 
* Pour remaining corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 
*  Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.
* When the syrup reaches 115°C, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 min. 
Essentially the way you would do it for Italian meringue.
* Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more min. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla.
Finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. 
* Pour it into the prepared pan and smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over top. 
* Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.
* Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. 
* Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. 
* Cut it with a cookie cutter to whatever shape you want.
* Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

Classic Coating:
* Sift the ingredients together in a large bowl. Store it in an airtight container; it keeps forever.

I used the smallest round cookie cuter I had, since I wanted them bite-size.
I dipped the cutter first in Classic Coating, then I cut little rounds from the slab.

Aren't they cute? Like covered with snow!!
Even though I don't like marshmallows, I thought they were quite tasty and this recipe can serve as a base for many flavour variations.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Orange Chocolate Cake / Dessert!

Everyone in my family knows I can bake. So, from time to time, there will be an "order" from someone!

My father-in-law found a recipe (!) for an orange chocolate dessert, that he asked for, for the next time we would have a big family lunch. Naturally I said OK!

Orange Chocolate Dessert

250gr chocolate
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 eggs separated
3 tbsp orange liqueur

250gr chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup orange jam
2 tbsp orange liqueur

* Preheat the oven to 180oC.
* Butter and flour a 23cm round spring form pan.
* Melt the chocolate and let it cool.
* Mix in a bowl the flour, the almonds, the baking powder and the salt.
* Beat the butter and the sugar until creamy.
* Add the egg yolks one by one.
* Very slowly add the melted chocolate.
* Add the flour and the liqueur.
* Beat the egg whites until very stiff.
* Incorporate them in the mixture gently.
* Pour into the pan and bake for 40-50 min. until you insert a toothpick in the centre and it comes clean.
* Leave it in the pan for 5 min. and then invert it on a rack to let it cool completely.
* For the filling, you melt the chocolate with the butter and let it cool, so that you can spread it.
* Warm the jam with the liqueur a bit.
* Cut the cake in two layers.
* Place one layer on a platter, wet it with some liqueur and spread most of the chocolate filling.
* Cover with the other layer and wet it too.
* Spread the remaining chocolate and the jam.
* Ready!

I used a store bought orange jam with citrus chunks.

My father-in-law was happy and everybody at the table really enjoyed it. I must admit that the orange-chocolate combination is a tricky one and does not suit every taste. This particular one was well balanced ans so so moist!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Peanut butter Sugar Cookies!

I believe that the title of this post says it all....

Peanut butter....

Sugar Cookies....

Well, it was meant to be!

I used my trusted sugar cookie recipe and a generous amount of my home made peanut butter (about 4 Tbsp).

I didn't roll the dough, I didn't even chill it. I simply made small balls of dough, placed them in my pan and pressed them with my fingers. That's it!

The pictures cannot compare to the real thing...

The outcome? Well, let's just say they were vanished in a matter of a few hours!