Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Sticky Situation

I'm trying to get a website up for my marketing company by the end of the year. I would've plugged my business just now if I had a website to direct you to. Trust me, the irony of being a marketing company for the past 4.5 years yet somehow not having a website to market your marketing company has not escaped me. Alas as the deadline draws near, I decided to make homemade peppermint marshmallows instead.


Seriously, I was asking myself that same question when I was elbow deep in quite possibly the stickiest substance on the planet. Clearly there are only two possible answers: (1) I was unknowingly hypnotized into thinking I was Martha Stewart or my friend Marina (which are easily interchangeable), or ( 2) I'm a total procrastinator. Since the first scenario is possible but not very probable, I guess it's time to call the kettle black. But really it isn't my fault. Procrastination runs in my family. My mom has it really bad and there is loads of evidence to prove my brother and I both carry her dawdling gene. Let's just say I don't think we ever got more than 2 hours sleep before a paper was due. I seriously almost stopped writing this post right now to download a song from iTunes that's been swimming around in my head, as if a mere 225 words has exhausted me and I need a break [read: procrastination from my procrastination!]. Everyone knows a trip to iTunes can easily result in 2 hours of your life disappearing. And I swear to the Higher Being that my mom just called me at midnight EST to tell me she was baking cookies for a party tomorrow. I told her I was writing about our family's procrastination problem. Without missing a beat she said, "It's not that I'm a procrastinator, Holley. I just have other things to do!" So in my case, I guess I had to make marshmallows instead of writing copy for a website to promote my business which pays my mortgage.

Anyway, let me just say it was an adventure. I think I had a slight fantasy of myself as this domestic goddess who would be genteelly whipping up something as ludicrous as marshmallows and looking ultra hot in a retro frilly apron. Instead I was sporting confectioners sugar literally from head to toe and was in a state of panic trying to ensure the marshmallow batter didn't eat my mixer. It was like a scene out of The Blob.

But I did it! I wish I had more pictures to document my kooky accomplishment, but at a certain point both hands got covered in marshmallowy goop and were unable to grab the camera anymore. Honestly, it would be great to have an extra set of hands for this project, just to disconnect the beaters from the mixer and scrape the bowl clean when pouring the mixture into the pan (which I can tell you is a losing battle).

The first trial went well, but was certainly a learning experience. I liken it to the first few pancakes you pour on the griddle. They're going in trash as a sacrifice for the subsequent near flawless batches. I learned you really can't have too much confectioners sugar on the scene and wet hands help repel the unmerciful viscous matter. I also learned that peppermint extract is astonishingly strong. I mean one minuscule drop far exceeds the efficacy of any breath mint on the market so I'm thinking about carrying a small bottle in my purse from now on. Seriously, it's like a bottle of Binaca exploded in your mouth.

I got bold after the first batch and signed up for a second. Maybe I was just furthering my procrastination as these pillowy treats do need to sit for eight hours to "dry." As predicted, they were much better. I mean they probably tasted the same — well, that actually may not be true because I realized later I forgot to add salt to the first batch — but they certainly looked better. Although potent with peppermint, I do think they'd be the perfect perk for your mug of hot cocoa. And don't they make adorable gifts for my clients?

I guess now it's time to get back to copywriting for my website. Let me just first download that cool song I heard today from iTunes. . . .

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
By Paula Deen

1 cup confectioners sugar, plus extra
2 1/2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes)
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp peppermint extract (the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 Tbsp but that just seems beyond excessive)

1. Generously sprinkle enough confectioners sugar to coat well one 12x8-in glass baking dish (about 1/2 cup). In medium bowl, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to soften.
2. In a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, remaining 1/2 cup water, and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of pan as needed to prevent sugar crystals. Increase heat to high; attach a candy thermometer to saucepan. Cook the syrup without stirring until temperature reaches 244 degrees (firm ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.
3. Pour hot syrup into medium bowl with softened gelatin, beating slowly at low speed with a mixer until fluffy. [The recipe calls for the use of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, but I just used my trusty electric hand-held mixer with the regular beaters and it was adequate.] Increase speed to high and beat until mixture triples in volume. This should take about 15 minutes. The mixture will be very thick and white. Add peppermint extract, beating to blend. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle additional confectioners sugar over the to and press into marshmallow mixture with wet hands. Sprinkle again with confectioners sugar.
4. Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours. Run knife around the edges of the pan until it starts to lift away from the sides. Add confectioners sugar as needed. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut marshmallows into squares using a dry, hot knife. Dust with confectioners sugar to take away any stickiness. Yields: approximately 3 dozen marshmallows.

1 comment:

  1. I have just had time to read your latest three entries and this one made me laugh out loud. How true, but think of all the things we get done in the interim; besides we are never bored. We have a stack of magazines and catalogues to thumb through!