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I really, really hate to roll things out. I don't have the patience for it and things always get sticky and annoying and terrible.
Christmas is a season when we're all seeing a lot of recipes for things that need to be rolled out. Pies and christmas cookies are overvalued and over-rolled, if you ask me. Everyone is talking about throwing christmas cookie decorating parties and I'm just like - why? Christmas cookies are mediocre AT BEST because they're really just hard, boring cookies with some weird royal icing on top that doesn't even taste very good. Admit it.
Instead, you should definitely throw a marshmallow decorating party.
Marshmallows are better for a couple reasons. Mostly because you don't have to roll them out but also because they're more delicious and possibly more nutritious but I'm actually not sure. There is also a certain wow factor to casually announcing that you made these marshmallows yourself. I'm just here to help you impress your judge-y family.
Every year one of my oldest friends and I descend on the kitchen for a day of Christmas baking. The first year we did it, we made sugar cookies and it was horrible. Since then, we've eliminated sugar cookies but always make homemade marshmallows. It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions and this is one of my fave elements of it. They also ship well because they're so dang springy.
So this is what I'm suggesting. Make these marshmallows and then cut them out using cookie cutters. Decorate them the exact same way you would cookies, but use chocolate instead of icing. Screw you, royal icing. Yeah, you heard me.
Homemade Marshmallows (and how to party with them)
- 1 cup confectioners's sugar
- 3 and 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tbsp vanilla
ideas for decorating:
- dark chocolate
- white chocolate
- food coloring (either for the marshmallows themselves or for the white chocolate
- crushed candy canes
- flaky sea salt
- chili powder
- orange zest
- lemon zest
- almond slivers
- chopped candied ginger
- crushed graham cracker
- saying screw it and not decorating them because simplicity is undervalued (wow you're so wise)
If cutting out, oil the bottom and sides of a cooking sheet and dust with powdered sugar. If you want to make big squares (pictured here) oil and dust a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and let stand to soften. This usually takes about 15 minutes.
In a heavy saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, and salt over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar isn't grainy and is fully dissolved. Raise heat to medium high and bowl, stirring occasionally until a thermometer (a candy one, not the one you stick in your child's mouth) registers 240 degrees (F).
Beat egg whites and vanilla until they hold peaks.
Add the gelatin and boiling sugar mixture to a bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is white, fluffy and about 3 times its original volume. This will take about 10 minutes with a hand mixer and about 7 with a stand mixer.
Add the fluffy egg whites to the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Pour into prepared pan and sift powdered sugar liberally over the top. Chill for at least 3 hours.
*Cleaning tip: as you finish using each saucepan/bowl, immediately fill them with hot soapy water to make cleaning easier. For an even easier clean up, make someone who will be eating these marshmallows clean up for you.
Once chilled, use a knife to loosen the sides of the marshmallow, then pull your marshmallow wall out with your fingers and place on a large cutting board or clean counter top. Oil a knife or scissors if you're cutting into squares or your cookie cutters if you're throwing the Ultimate Marshmallow Bash. Once cut I like to cover the marshmallows in powdered sugar, either by shaking them around in a bag or by sifting more over them.
Dip, drizzle, sprinkle and enjoy as pleases you.