My friends over at Peanut Butter Etouffee gave me some ideas of some sweet treats to cook for the holiday season. With some time this weekend and an overwheelming obsession to make both these treats, I jumped in full force.
Now what could be so exciting about making marshmallows and peanut brittle? Simply I've never made them before and I'm game for a challenge.
With further research I found a post over on egullet with a recipe submitted by nightscotman for strawberry marshmallows and variations including chocolate marshmallows. What the heck, let's go for it. I headed to Surfas for a few items like a non-glass candy thermometer taking PBE's recommendation. Guess what they had on display immediately to your right at the customer service desk as you walk in the door. Homemade marshmallows by what appears to be an independent baker on consignment (sorry I don't recall the name). Four large marshmallows of varying flavors with some cute sparkling something coating them and looking like tempting little pillows. At $4.95 for four, they better be good. I didn't purchase any as I am gonna make my own but truth be told, I was tempted.
For the peanut brittle, I purchased some raw mixed nuts and some almonds from Trader Joe. They didn't have any raw peanuts. I also thought of using some pecans which I already had at home.
So here we go. I actually looked forward to this project. Can't say I lost sleep but I did wake up during the night with thoughts of puffy pillowy marshmallows all around me. I must be sick.
I used the egullet recipe for the marshmallows and Miss Lillian's recipe from Peanut Butter Etouffee for the nut brittle.
My marshmallow flavors included a vanilla version, chocolate and lemon.
Sugar, corn syrup, water and salt to temp
Chocolate, gelatin and water
Lemon, gelatin and water
Chocolate and lemon proofing, vanilla cut
Vanilla Marshmallows Proofing
Ready to be Cut and Dusted
Nut Brittle Prep
Nuts added- cook to light amber color
Will I ever do this again? Yes. I really enjoyed the prep especially with the marshmallows. The end result of combining sugar, water, gelatin and some heat is far out. What did I learn from this experience? The nut brittle was the hardest. Once I added the nuts, I had a hard time determining when the color was just right. Just a couple of seconds over and it came out burnt tasting. (Yes, I made three batches.) I also question the amount of baking soda. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons but I can't get over the baking soda taste in the end product. The final mixing of the brittle for 30 seconds minimum is absolutely necessary to assure that the baking soda is evenly blended but keep in mind the brittle still cooks some while you're stiring in that hot pot. My second batch was better but still not perfect. Better mixing lead to less baking soda taste.
The marshmallows were the most fun. I really love the lemon flavored ones. I can think of all sorts of confectionary ideas for using it. Other flavors which are a must try for me are strawberry and raspberry. I even thought of some spice blend resemblant of sweet potato pie. Stop me before I go nuts. I'll also have to try the cookie cutter idea for making varying shapes. This could be a new fad comparable to cupcakes. There are all sorts of things to do with homemade marshmallows. Who knew? Marshmallows, the confection of 2007.