Monday, 22 October 2012

Homemade marshmallow

Firstly, an apology. I fully intended to take photos of every step of this 'make', and started off well. However, there are no images of the finished marshmallow because my husband and children ate it all (alright, I had a bit too!) before I got a camera near it! But I hope that just goes to show how yummy it is!

So, marshmallow. This is a versatile recipe that can be adapted to introduce flavour and colour. I've slightly adapted a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.

You will need:
2 egg whites
550g granulated sugar
2 sachets of powdered gelatine (about 25g)
4 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp cornflour
A little oil for greasing
Liquid/gel colouring of your choice

Put the sugar and 250ml water into a large pan, along with a sugar thermometer and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. When all dissolved, turn the heat up until the sugar reaches 124C.

This can take a while, so now you can get on with all the other jobs -
Put a small bowl over a pan of simmering water, and add 125ml water and the gelatine. Stir/whisk until the gelatine is melted.Then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk (preferably with a stand-mixer) until stiff peaks.

And lightly grease a 20cm square tin.

When the sugar has reached the correct temperature, take it off the heat and stir in the gelatine - it'll bubble up a bit.

Turn the mixer back on and slowly pour the sugar syrup onto the eggs. Beat until it's just pourable. At this point you could add in a few drops of your desired colouring (pink is popular).

Then pour into the prepared tin.

Leave to set in a cool place (but not the fridge) for a few hours. Using a oiled knife to help ease it out, tip the marshmallow onto a light dusting of icing sugar mixed with some of the cornflour. Cut into whatever shapes you like.

Mix together the remaining icing sugar and cornflour. Toss the cut pieces in this mixture, and then it's ready to eat. Store in an airtight tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Having made this quite a lot now, I decided to experiment this time, and just tipped half of this plain mixture into a tin. I added a few drops of peppermint essence to the remaining mixture, gave it a quick beat, then tipped it into another tin, then swirled a few drops of colouring in with a cocktail stick. This gave me two quite flattish slabs, but as it was a flavour experiment, I didn't mind how it looked really. Despite initial reservations, the peppermint marshmallow disappeared quickest, and so for Christmas I might crush some candy canes and press these into the mixture before it sets for something different.

Edit: I have now tried adding candy canes! I ground them in the blender with icing sugar and cornflour. Then used this dust to roll the marshmallow in. It's blunted my blender blades quite a bit, but tastes delicious. However, I don't think there's anything added (except expense and blunt blades) by doing this, so in future will just continue using peppermint essence.
I've also tried strawberry essence. But despite using half a bottle, I couldn't taste it in the marshmallow once set.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


I've already mentioned Christmas and how I like to make homemade Christmas gifts. This year, as an avid Pinterest user, I've picked up loads of ideas for different presents, and have been pinning like mad over the last couple of months in preparation. You can follow me on Pinterest here, and look at my 'Things that are gifty' and 'Things to try to make' boards. There's also a Christmas board with all things festive too!

Having decided on a few things I'd like to try making, I thought that I'd best test some of those ideas - I don't want to poison anyone, and if things don't work out as planned I'll need time to try again or choose an alternative. So a couple of weeks ago I settled on Limoncello, which I'd seen others pinning as a present idea.

You'll need:
A large glass bottle or kilner jar
75cl vodka
5 lemons (unwaxed, or washed in really really hot water to rinse the wax off)
650gwhite sugar
700ml boiling water

Start by taking large strips of the peel from the lemons and placing in the jar. Try not to get any of the bitter pith in, you just want the peel. Pour the vodka over the top and leave to steep for around a week-ten days. Keep in a dark place, and give it a shake every day.
You could leave this upto a month if you really wanted to improve the flavour, but I was desperate to get on and try it! Now you've made lemon vodka, and you could leave it at that - it's a great gift still.

But I wanted something a bit more than just flavoured vodka, so...
After the initial steeping, put the sugar into a jug and pour over the boiling water. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved. The pour this sugar mix onto the lemon vodka. Give it a gentle shake and leave for another week, again shaking each day.

Now all you need to do is strain through a muslin/paper coffee filter, and bottle or jar it, adding a few of the large pieces of peel if you desire. You could make your own labels, and add ribbons to make it pretty. Best served from the freezer, but it'll keep well for months in a cool, dark place.

And how about trying some homemade lemon curd with the juice from the leftover lemons?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hot chocolate toppers

I went to the Cake & Bake show at Earls Court a couple of weeks ago, and got to meet Edd Kimber, who won the first Great British Bake Off. (his new book is fab...pre order it now!) I also saw many famous baking faces- Paul Hollywood, Mich Turner, Jo Wheatley, Paul Young, and have developed a crush on baker boy Tom Herbert! And whilst there picked up some decorating ideas and lots of freebies to test. And I hope to share some of those baking and decorating ideas soon...

But today's post is a make...

As it's turning chillier we've been drinking more hot chocolate. We all love marshmallows on top so I tend to keep a bag in the cupboard, and we also like cream but I don't keep that in the fridge all the time. But I saw this idea on pinterest and thought I'd try it- Hot chocolate toppers! You can use normal instant hot chocolate, homemade hot chocolate (melted chocolate, cream and a bit of milk - evil) or even my Hot Chocolate Spoons.

It's very simple- whisk up double cream to almost stiff peaks. Spread onto a an inch deep tray that you've lined with cling film.

Freeze overnight.

Remove from the freezer then take the cream out of the tray, removing the cling film.

Set the cream 'slab'on a board, then use your favourite small cutters to cut shapes in the cream. You'll need to work quite quickly else the cream will melt.
I don't like waste so I kept the 'trimmings' too! Which I'll probably use on my own hot chocs when no-one is looking!!

Pop them back in the freezer and whenever you fancy a creamy hot chocolate, just pop a frozen cream shape on to of your drink...

-Use metal cutters, I don't think plastic ones would cut as well.
-Have a small tub or freezer bag waiting to put the shapes straight into.
-Why not sprinkle some hundreds and thousands onto the cream before you freeze it, or swirl some food colouring in for a different effect. You could even set marshmallows in it!