Home-Made Marshmallows

When I first saw a recipe for home-made marshmallows I was a little intimidated.  It looked like it was going to be difficult, but I had to try it!  Am I ever glad I did as these marshmallows are delicious and not that difficult after all.  I have made them for quite a few times and each time I make them someone is always amazed that you can actually make marshmallows from scratch.

Marshmallows

So don’t be intimidated by the recipe, all you really need is a pot, a mixer and a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer and you are going to purchase one it isn’t something that has to cost a fortune.  I actually have the best luck with the one that I paid less than $5.00 for from the grocery store and I think I have had it for over 10 years!

While the gelatin is softening in the bowl of the mixer you can heat the other ingredients on the stove to the required temperature.  When you have reached the temperature be very careful when pouring the hot liquid down the side of the bowl – it is HOT! But once this step is done the mixer will do most of the work.  All of a sudden after a few minutes it starts to turn white and fluffy – just like magic.  Let it whip for at least 10 minutes so it is nice and thick.

Marshmallows

 

When adding the vanilla you can also choose to add a few drops of food colouring at this time if you want coloured marshmallows.  Once you have the mixture in the prepared pan, move quickly to smooth the top as it is sticky.  Ensure you let it set the full 24 hours – I know it is hard to wait, but it really needs to set up.  Then turn it out and cut away – you can even use cookie cutters to get all kinds of different shapes.

Marshmallows

Packaged up in cellophane bags with a ribbon they make a yummy treat for Halloween!  This trick makes an awesome treat!

Home-MadeMarshmallows
 
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adapted from a recipe posted on Brown-Eyed Baker
Author:
Serves: 48
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup icing sugar
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 2½ tablespoons unflavoured gelatin
  • ⅔ cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
  3. Pour ½ cup of the cold water into the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until the gelatin becomes thick.
  4. While the gelatin is firming up combine the remaining water and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan. Over medium heat and bring to a boil, gently swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
  5. With the mixer on low speed , carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, letting it pour down the sides of the bowl to avoid splashing. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat another minutes just until mixed in.
  6. Working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Smooth the top into an even layer. Sift 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar mixture over the pan. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  7. The next day sift about 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar mixture onto a cutting board and turn the marshmallow slab out. Carefully peel off the parchment. Sift a thin layer of of the icing sugar mixture over marshmallow. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut into 1-inch strips one way, and then across the other way for square marshmallows. You can also use cookie cutters sprayed with non-stick spray to cut out shapes.
  8. Working with 3 or 4 marshmallows at a time, toss the marshmallows in the remaining icing sugar mixture, then shake in your palm to remove any excess powder. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks with parchment between the layers to avoid sticking.

 

 

Oatmeal Molasses Bread

It is bread making season! Saturday morning, the cold October winds are blowing and it is raining…..time to put a pot of chicken and barley soup on. That is the definition of a dreary autumn day here in Northern Ontario. But the upside is that the house is going to smell wonderful. Now we need some fresh bread to go with that simmering pot of soup. Today’s bread is going to be hearty, stick to your ribs sort of bread. This bread is an old-fashioned bread made with oatmeal, molasses and some whole wheat flour. If you have only all-purpose flour you can use that as well.

Oatmeal-Molasses-Buns

As we were having it for dinner I decided to make half of the dough into buns and the other half into a loaf for toasting for breakfast.  That was a good decision as the buns were wonderful and fluffy smothered in butter and dipped in the hot soup.

The molasses adds some sweetness but also a nice caramel colour to the bread. Once the dough is baked you can’t even see the oatmeal, but it does make it hearty.

Oatmeal-Molasses-Bun

The loaf sliced thinly made for great toast topped with my favourite peanut butter. I am thinking it would make a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich as well, maybe with some thin slices of apple and some old cheddar.

Oatmeal-Molasses-Bread

 

So if you have a pot of soup or stew simmering away for dinner this evening I strongly recommend you try this dough recipe and enjoy a hearty bun or slice of bread to dip with!

Oatmeal Molasses Bread
 
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Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats-large flake
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer add the rolled oats,canola oil, molasses and boiling water. Mix well by hand and let stand for about 15 minutes until mixture has cooled to just warm.
  2. With wooden spoon add in yeast and whole wheat flour. Let stand about 10 minutes until yeast has started to bloom.
  3. Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour and salt.
  4. With dough hook, mix until soft sticky dough has formed.
  5. Add up to a cup more flour until a dough ball forms. This dough will not completely come away from the sides of the bowl, the bottom will still remain soft.
  6. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap until it has doubled in size - about 2 hours.
  7. Using a spatula remove dough from bowl onto a well-floured surface. Divide dough in half. Shape either into 2 loaves or 1 loaf and 9 buns.
  8. Put shaped dough into well greased pans, cover loosely with plastic wrap and again let rise until it has reached the top of the pans which will take about 45 min to an hour.
  9. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375℉. Whisk together the egg white and water and carefully brush the tops of the dough.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes for loaf and about 20-25 minutes for buns or until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped.
  11. Turn out onto rack to cool.

 

This entry was posted in Bread.

Apple Bundt Cake

This Apple Bundt cake recipe makes a cake that can go from breakfast to dinner and everywhere in between.  There is a crumble topping made with oatmeal and brown sugar – that is breakfast right there. The crumble topping when baked gets nice and sticky so putting it on both the bottom and top of the cake will make you very happy. Then the actual cake is full of bites of apple so that makes it snack worthy.  With a dusting of icing sugar or a drizzle of glaze it will look right at home on the dessert scene.  For whatever time of day you decide to indulge in this apple cake I am sure you will enjoy every bite.

Apple-Bundt-Cake

And of course you can’t have a fall creation without cinnamon and nutmeg. For this recipe I had to open a new package of Saigon cinnamon and it really packs a punch when it is fresh.   You don’t realize the difference it makes when the spices you bake with are fresh until you actually open a new container.  I promised myself to buy smaller quantities so the flavour will always be intense.

Apple-Bundt-Cake

I also added some toffee bits to the cake batter and they complement the apples really nicely – as caramel and apple are just meant to be together. This Apple Bundt cake was breakfast for us at camp so there was no glaze just nice warm cake fresh from the oven before finishing tackling our bathroom renovation. But that is a story for another day…but believe me I would much rather be baking cake than being the renovation assistant to my husband. But the bathroom is finished so I have been released back to the kitchen. YEAH!

Apple-Bundt-cake

Apple Bundt Cake
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
  • Topping
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Cake
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature, plus more for cake pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for cake pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, fresh grated
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup diced apple, peel left on
  • ½ cup toffee bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an angel-food cake pan or 14-cup Bundt cake pan.
  2. Topping:
  3. In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon.With a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Cake Batter:
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on high, scraping down bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add yogurt and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and mix just until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in apples and toffee bits.
  6. Sprinke about ¼ of topping in bottom of pan. Spoon batter evenly into pan. Top with crumb topping and, with a butter knife, gently fold some of topping into batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool.

 

This entry was posted in Cakes.

Spiced Shortbread

The cool days of autumn call for spices to warm up our food and drink. Cinnamon and ginger have hints of heat and they pair beautifully in baked goods.  So why not add these spices to shortbread? Surely they could only make my favourite cookie even better. This basic shortbread is made with just a wooden spoon so there is even some exercise worked into recipe – which means the first 2 cookies are calorie-free.

Spiced-Shortbread

When using nutmeg in a recipe try to use fresh nutmeg. You can purchase nutmeg whole, they look sort of like an acorn, in the bulk section of the spices. Use a rasp to finely grate the nutmeg. The smell of the freshly grated nutmeg is amazing.  With cinnamon ensure it is fresh as well as it does loose it’s zing after about 6 months. My preference is Saigon cinnamon – it has a strong flavour and quite a bit of heat. For the ginger you can used ground dry or try freshly grated ginger.  That will definitely add heat! If you aren’t familiar with cardamon it is a peppery spice and is wonderful in baked goods.  Use it whenever you use cinnamon to change things up a bit. These spices: cardamon, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon together make a terrific combination when added to the shortbread dough. Once the heat of the oven hits the aroma is amazing.

Spiced-Shortbread

 

So experiment with your favourite spices and you never know what you will come up with!

Spiced Shortbread
 
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Author:
Serves: 25 pieces
Ingredients
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temp
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Line a 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Mix until smooth and fluffy.
  3. In a separate small bowl whisk together the remaining dry ingredients until all the spices are evenly distributed.
  4. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the baking pan using the back of a spoon or your fingers.
  5. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 300 ℉.
  6. Bake on the bottom rack for about 40 minutes or until it feels firm when pressed in the middle.
  7. Let cool 20 minutes in pan on rack.
  8. Lift by parchment paper onto cutting board. With a sharp knife cut into even pieces.
  9. Let cool completely.
  10. Store in a tin for up to 1 week.

 

 

This entry was posted in Cookies.

Raisin Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Another oatmeal cookie recipe, really do I need to keep trying different ones?  The answer – YES!  Even when you think you have the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe you always wonder, what if…..So that question is what has brought us to this cookie recipe.  After making the cookies with the ground pecans, I started to think about what other ingredients I could grind up to enhance the flavour. So why not grind up the oatmeal and make almost an oat flour. Out came the food processor again and sure enough, it worked!

Raisin-Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Cookies

The ground oatmeal provided a nutty, earthy flavour but it also gave a nice crispy texture to the cookies. They also held their shape nicely and didn’t spread out too much, and didn’t require refrigeration of the dough.  I added quite a bit of cinnamon to this recipe as I think cinnamon complements the nuttiness of the oatmeal perfectly and of course raisins and cinnamon are just the perfecting pairing.

Raisin-Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Cookies

The other great thing about oatmeal cookies is that they contain a breakfast ingredient and a fruit, so technically they are a great breakfast-to-go.  I prefer having my cookies in the afternoon with a cup of chai tea – that is just the perfect way to have a little “me” time especially if it has been a hectic work day.  So treat yourself and make a batch of these cookies and have a cookie break!

Raisin Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup salted butter,room temp
  • 1¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups large flaked oatmeal
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups golden raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process the oatmeal until it is a fine grind - set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg.
  4. Mix in the ground oatmeal.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  6. Add to the butter mixture and mix until the batter comes together in a ball.
  7. Form into round balls ( about meat ball size) and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Press down slightly to form a disc.
  9. Bake 14-17 minutes until edges are golden.
  10. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

 

This entry was posted in Cookies.

Pecan Toffee Cookies

Cookies….such wonderful little things…small packages with immense flavour. There are so many recipes  for cookies how would it be possible to make them all in one lifetime. Sometimes you get lucky and try one of those combinations that seem like it might be a great idea and it turns out that is was an absolutely fantastic idea.  That is what happened with this recipe.  I was reading a recipe that used ground pecans as a coating on a cookie and thought hmmm what about in the cookie?  So then the experimenting began. I started with my standard shortbread recipe and substituted part of the flour for ground pecans.

Pecan-Toffee-Cookies-

On the second version there was just the pecans, then one of my friends thought it needed something to complement the nutty flavour, so that is when the toffee idea came in. The pecans and the toffee together really make this a stand-out recipe. So the third iteration was the final product. A cookie with a little chew, a little crisp and lots of flavour. Considering I am not a fan of nuts, these must be good if I am eating 2, maybe 3 in a row

Pecan-Toffee-Cookie

 

Then even though the flavour was fabulous, they looked a little plain.  So they needed a little something, maybe a little drizzle of milk chocolate.  Now they were really pretty as well as tasty and ready for a photo session. So these Pecan Toffee cookies will definitely be making an appearance at Christmas this year and probably a few times before that!

Pecan Toffee Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup salted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ½ cup toffee bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉
  2. In food processor combine the pecans and 1 cup of flour. Process until finely ground. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl beat together the butter and icing sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add the pecan mixture, the remaining ½ cup of flour and the toffee bits.
  5. Mix until it comes together.
  6. Roll into 1" balls and place 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Press down lightly with the heel of your hand to slightly flatten.
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes just until edges start to turn golden.
  8. Let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

 

This entry was posted in Cookies.