Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Correspondents

January 24, 2012

Add a little something to your hot chocolate this week, homemade marshmallows

EXLINE — The weather sure can not make up its mind whether it wants to be mild or to be like wintertime. I think the winter type of weather is going to win out at this time of the year.

The recipe for this week is kind of different. I have not tried it but it sounds like it would be kind of good for something different.

 

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

 

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

3 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. unflavored gelatin

1/2 c. cold water

2 c. granulated sugar

2/3 c. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. coarse salt

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar, sifted, for coating

Plastic wrap

 

Directions

Lightly spray a nine by nine inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a two inch overhang on all sides; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for one minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.

Add vanilla extract; mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for two hours.

Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard.

Cut marshmallows into two inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat.

 

In keeping with today’s recipe, you know how everyone enjoys having fresh melting marshmallows in their hot chocolate in the wintertime? Or, the taste of a marshmallow toasted golden brown, over a camp fire and placed between two graham crackers with a piece of milk chocolate, while it is gooey warm, to make a S’more?

Well, are you aware that originally, marshmallows were made from the roots of a plant known as a Marsh Mallow, that grew in African salt marshes? These plants grow to a height of about three feet tall. Their lobed shaped velvety leaves, are around two to three inches long. The original Marsh Mallow plants produce a small flower similar to a Hollyhock. These perennial plants, produce their flowers each year between late summer and early fall.

Over 4,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians ate the peculiar root mixed with honey. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the root for medicinal purposes but only those of royalty were allowed to consume the rare treat.

The strange root was used early on, to sooth inflammatory problems and sore throats. The roots were sometimes dried and ground into a powder. The powder would then be mixed with water and boiled until it became the consistency of egg whites.

The French and English began to utilize the root to make throat lozenges and confections.

Today the commercially produced marshmallows, are no longer made from the root of the Marsh Mallow plant. They are mainly produced using gelatin and other ingredients, to create their unique texture.

So, the next time you drop a few marshmallows into your hot chocolate, remember it used to be a rare treat to enjoy.

Last weekend Jim and Pam Oden got together with their family for their annual gathering in Des Moines. The weather was good, so it was nice for everyone to travel there. All of them had a good time and enjoyed each other’s company.

Because of the nice weather, Trey and his dad Scott McCoy, were able to ride their horses this past Sunday. Since the weather was mild on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, Trey also liked being able to ride his Sorrel horse “Sonnie” on those holidays too. So, if you see Trey out riding along on the road into Exline, give him a wave.

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