Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback and Foodie Friday ~Christmas Decorations

I'm flashing back to last Christmas to show how beautifully my sweet hubby decorated our little home. He always goes above and beyond that call of duty to make it look like a little gingerbread house.

Well this year he went a step to far!! Off the roof that is. The innocent looking Christmas lights got the best of him and he broke his ankle..just a short jump from one roof line to the other, but enough for him to land wrong. He's going to have a rough few weeks ahead of him, but he's hanging tough.

I will give things my best try this year, but I know it won't hold a candle to how he would do it. On this day after Thanksgiving I am very thankful he's only got a broken ankle!!!!

I'm also flashing back to these Marshmallows! A group of us gave it a try last year and I had a blast making them. Wayyyy better than store bought too!

I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe - always reliable in my experience. Don't be afraid of the long recipe. She gives very detailed instructions.

(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” pages 404-405)

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet — choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high — with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup — without stirring — until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy — don’t overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like — into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table — it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don’t cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week — they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they’ll still be very good.

If you have a Flashback of any kind please join me by linking below!

I am participating in Foodie Friday this week as well. Check out all of the other links at Designs by Gollum.


Dishesdone said...

Ah, I remember the marshmallows well! They came out so good, definitely not as difficult as it seems! I love the picture then and now!

Hope Randy is feeling better! He is a good guy, it definitely looked like a Gingerbread house! and you will do a great job, too, be careful, and I know you are taking extra special care of him :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I have to try those marshmallows again - it was fun making them!

Please give Randy lots of TLC and I hope he heals quickly. Next year, it may be time for landscape lighting only :)

Anonymous said...

Suzy-- oh no hope Randy will mend soon. Don't you hurt yourself trying to put up lights.
Must try your marshmallows. They look good.

Debbie said...

Hi Suzy, I loved those marshmallows we made! And I normally don't eat marshmallows, but they were awesome. Let's do it again soon :-)

Hope Randy is feeling better! He does do a great job sorry this happened to him.

Cynthia said...

Suzy, lovely flashback .... your house looks so festive.

I bet Randy wishes he could go back BEFORE the bad landing that broke his ankle. I hope he's doing better each day.

Yes, the marshmallows were fun. Yours turned out so well. Not mine .. but they were tasty.

Jennie said...

Oh wow! Your house looks so beautiful! After seeing this picture, I am now inspired! I am putting my dec's up ASAP! I am trying those marshmallows too!

Thank you for sharing! :)

Foley said...

Even if he didn;t hget all the lights up Randy is still definitely "a keeper"!!! Just don't YOU do anything foolish like trying to finish it yourself!

Remember the marshmallows well.. if time is on my side I will try to make them again - loved my raspberry ones!!

Marsha said...

Your home is always so gorgeous at the holidays all lit up and Randy does an excellent job! I am so sorry to hear of his accident and hope by now one week later his pain is lessening. The holiday will still be bright and cheerful and the neighborhood is not going to mind one year with an unlit house - it is not worth risking you injuring yourself as well - Take care my friend!

Cindy said...

Suzy, sorry to hear about Randy's misstep! Just be grateful it wasn't worse. Less is more is a great way to approach holiday decorating. ;)

Kathleen said...

I must be the odd Darling out! I didn't like those marshmallows...I don't like marshmallows anyway, and they weren't worth the work involved for me..but the rest of you go right ahead and do it again, LOL..I'll clap from the side lines!
I hope Randy is doing better..I know it isn't easy!
The house looks adorable!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I know you have your hands full with Randy, Suzy, so I'm linking up my new Flashback post here.

Velva said...

Those Christmas lights, that snow! Oh my! Just beautiful.

I was sorry to hear that your husband broke his ankle doing rooftop Christmas decorations-YIKES!! Thank God, that was the only injury.

Everything looks beautiful.

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