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Guimauve, Homemade Marshmallows (no recipe)

7 Mar

“Marshmallows are a strange confection: familiar to most everyone, but nonetheless a mystery. We’ve all eaten them around campfires, slurped them from cups of cocoa, or plucked them, hot and gooey, from the top of a sweet potato casserole. But until I tried to make them myself, I had no clue–not the faintest–what they were made of…”
-Molly Wizenberg, food blogger at Orangette, quoted from Bon Appetit 

Below I will show you, picture-by-picture, the process of making marshmallows, or as the French call them, guimauve. At work we make big batches of these pillow-soft confections to serve with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. I snapped a few photos at work one day just to highlight how interesting the process of making marshmallows can be. I apologize for any jargon that may sound confusing to you. I will try my best to explain ;)

Gelatin Sheets Gettin’ Bloomed; in other words, gelatin sheets get soaked in ice water for a few minutes to soften. In the photo above they are set on a paper towel to dry off a bit.

The Sugar Syrup: Boilin’ Sugar n’ Water with a Splash of Honey; you carefully watch the mixture boil, wait until you see slow forming big bubbles, and then you know it is time to add the gelatin

Quickly Quickly Everything in the Mixer: Egg whites get beaten/whipped to a white meringue

Glossy Pants: Hot (ish) Sugar Syrup Slowly Gets Added In, and then everything gets whisked at high speed for a good long time until nice and glossy, and the mixture has cooled down a bit

Oooo Yeaaaa. Time to add Vanilla Bean (p.s. you can experiment with all sorts of flavors at this point in the process i.e. strawberry marshmallows during summer, lavender marshmallows, coffee marshmallows…)

Spread It Out: The guimauve gets spread into a saran-lined tray and left to form a “skin” on top. The “skin” is just a layer of chewy sheen that develops from the evaporation of water and the coagulation of proteins (egg whites) working together after being denatured in the KitchenAid Mixer. Science. Crazy stuff.

Give the top of the guimauve a little dose of potato starch (or corn starch) and a flip.

Wait for the “skin” to form on the other side and give it another coating of starch.

Slice Through Into Strips. Make sure the knife is clean (have a wet towel and a dry towel for efficient wiping and drying) [peep Chef Geoff's hands]

Oooo Baby Look At That Mountain Of Marshmallow. I want to jump in!

Wrap It Up And Label. When ready to cut, use a scissors and cut the strips into cubes. Coat each side with potato or corn starch so everything stays soft and smooth around the edges.

Drop Into Homemade Hot Chocolate, Kick Your Feet Up, And Enjoy!

An At-Home Beauty Product Experiment + Chocolate Dipped Apricots With Sea Salt

20 Dec

Last night I put a combo of oats, wheat germ, and cornmeal on my face. Today after showering I rubbed a mix of pumpkin puree, vanilla yogurt, and honey on my face. Yes, I put food on my face. The experience was…weird.

The oats/cornmeal/wheatgerm were mixed with water into a paste which I then rubbed on my face. It felt gritty. It looked totally wacko, it kinda smelled, it looked like I took my morning oatmeal and put it all over my face.  My roommates were making fun of me. But hey, I figure that I have a dry winter ahead of me and I should exfoliate my face once in a while? Luckily I am blessed with naturally good skin and don’t do much else than soap and water with some moisturizer. Not sure that I will keep up this new beauty routine, but it was still fun to try it out.

Cereal Grain Face Exfoliant

from EcoBeauty

2 T. rolled oats

2 T. cornmeal

2 t. wheat germ

Mix everything together and store in a jar or airtight container. To use, combine 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture with 1-2 teaspoons of water to create a paste. Gently rub onto your face and wash off with warm water.

The pumpkin pie facial was another wacky experience. I stirred together 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (from the can), 2 T. vanilla yogurt, and 1 T. honey and put about 1 teaspoon of the mix on my face after I finished showering. I waited about 10 minutes then washed my face with warm water.

So I think I am done experimenting with my face, but next up I am looking into this brown sugar coconut oil hand and foot scrub. Working in a restaurant 5 nights + cooking at home does quite the job on my poor hands and feet (I am in want of cute rubber gloves for dish washing at home!).

I would now like to discuss these chocolate dipped apricots with sea salt. This is a holiday treat that you can feel good about. Dried apricots have fiber and vitamin A and iron and are a nice alternative to the mounds of cookies and cakes that you will see during the holiday season. Dipped in whatever chocolate you fancy (dark, semi-sweet, milk, white…) and sprinkled with a dash of sea salt, these orange beauties are made to please.

I tried to open my apricots up with my fingers before dipping to make things easier. I purchased my apricots from Trader Joe’s.

A little sweet, a little tart, a tad salty. These are great as gifts or as a snack to place on the table after dinner when company is over. When I was in school, my friend Alison’s mom would send her a care package during finals and she almost always threw in chocolate dipped apricots. These were not just any old apricot, but the juiciest freshly dried apricots from B&R farms in Hollister, CA. SO GOOD! Alison was always kind enough to share with me and it was these apricots (+a little studying) that got us through finals.

Chocolate Dipped Apricots with Sea Salt

1 lb of dried apricots

1 lb of chocolate

flaky salt, such as Maldon

Have a sheet tray lined with parchment paper ready. In the microwave or in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate. If using the microwave, vigorously stir your chocolate every 30 seconds.

Quickly dip you apricots in chocolate, either just the tips or the entire thing and then lay on the parchment. Note that you may need to reheat the chocolate if starts to harden midway through dipping. Sprinkle with sea salt while the chocolate is still wet.

Once finished, place the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer so the chocolate hardens.


>Lollipops: The Science of Sugar

8 Oct

>Sugar. Water. Corn Syrup. Heat.

Hotter, hotter, hotter (154 degrees C)…

Bubbles. Chemical Reactions. Bonding. Solutions.

Food coloring. Yay! (and a little flavoring i.e. lemon extract)

Don’t overdo it on the food coloring like I did or you will end up with a lollipop that looks like sin.
And, mind you, this is a messy process. You must work fast to getcho lollies out of the pan!

Faster, faster! Check out all of the stringy sugar.


Lollipops

3/8 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 drops food coloring (I made a boo boo and added WAY TO MUCH…don’t do what I did)
1 tsp lemon flavoring

Procedure:
1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy-bottom saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, put the lid on the pan, and allow contents to cook for 2 minutes. The steam that develops will help wash down crystals from the sides of the pan.

3. Remove the lid, turn the heat back up a bit, and cook undisturbed to 154 degrees C (extreme hard crack stage). Cook slowly (medium heat) toward the end so syrup does not scorch.

4. Remove from heat.

5. Add color and flavoring. Using a clean metal spoon, stir only enough to mix.

6. Drop from the tip of a tablespoon onto buttered parchment paper, taking care to make drops round. **Try to do this step quickly before all the candy hardens in the pan.

7. If desired, press a toothpick or skewer into edge of each before it hardens.

8. To prevent cracking, loosen from the parchment before completely cold.

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