IMG_7366I’ve been making homemade marshmallows for years. With a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, they’re a simple and impressive treat. By swapping out ingredients and adding extracts, it’s insanely easy to try new flavors. Chocolate raspberry, ginger honey, peppermint…

I tell you, this blackcurrant version is the best I’ve ever made. My marshmallows are good, but the fruity tang in this batch had people saying “Wow.” And then reaching for another.

This recipe is modified from Alton Brown’s recipe, for a smaller, more manageable portion* and with the extra kick of blackcurrant at the end.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup cold blackcurrant concentrate
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons blackcurrant jam

Start by putting the gelatin and blackcurrant juice into the large bowl of a stand mixer. Let it combine on its own.

To prepare the pan, lightly grease a small casserole (8 x 8 should work; I use this 6.5 x 8.5 pan). The more square the inside edges, the bigger your final marshmallows can be. Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Thoroughly dust the inside of the pan with the cornstarch mixture.

In a saucepan, combine cold water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and heat on medium high for four minutes. Remove the lid. Clip a candy thermometer to the side and continue heating, without stirring, to 240 F. Remove from heat immediately.

Start the mixer on slow. Pour the hot sugar mixture down the sides slowly, rotating the bowl. (The bowl will get hot!) Don’t worry about scraping out every drop. When you’ve poured as much as you can, turn the mixer to high.

As the marshmallow mix is beaten, it will thicken and turn opaque. It’s nearly done when it begins to cling to the sides and leave a well in the center. At that point, add the vanilla extract and the blackcurrant jam. Beat for just a minute or two longer.

Dip a large flexible spatula in olive oil and use it to help pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Try to encourage it to fill in the corners. You can smooth the top with the spatula or a little oil on the tip of your finger. When it’s settled, drizzle the cornstarch mixture over the top.

Set it aside for at least six hours. Because of the extra moisture from the jam, it’s especially important to let this set up before trying to cut it.

To shape the marshmallows, turn out the block on a cutting board dusted with more of the cornstarch mixture. Use a pizza cutter dusted in the cornstarch mixture to straighten the sides and cut even marshmallows. Dust every side of each marshmallow with the cornstarch mixture. I always end up with four long strips from the edges, and cut those into mini marshmallows to keep for myself. Those remnants may not be the prettiest, but they are delicious.

My pan makes two dozen big, square, delicately purple, entirely giftable marshmallows, and about two dozen little remnants to snack on.

*I’ve had the larger batch climb the beaters like Calvin’s mom’s cooking, which makes a relatively straightforward recipe into a sticky fiasco. Nobody wants that.

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VirtualCookie Exchange Blog Hop (1)For Christmas, my father only asks for two things: a handmade card and his favorite cookies. And since Linda Poitevin has organized a virtual cookie exchange blog hop, this is a perfect chance to post one of those recipes. This cookie is intensely simple–everything is combined in one bowl!–and with so few ingredients, most of them egg and oatmeal, they’re practically a health food.

Hey, it’s a magical season.

Thanks to D.D. Syrdal for tagging me, and for the recipe for Ruby Linzer Bars!

Grammy Davis’s Brer Rabbit Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

Combine in bowl:

  • 2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. flour
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. allspice
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ½ c. Crisco
  • ½ c. Brer Rabbit molasses (green label)*
  • 1 egg, unbeaten
  • 1 t. baking powder

Stir until just mixed

Drop in large spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet

Bake at 325°F for 12 minutes — do not overbake

*The correct brand of molasses is a vital element. Some have dared use the yellow label Brer Rabbit, even the purple label, or (poor fools!) even another brand entirely. These are dire mistakes, not to be made twice.

I’m tagging my sister Megan Engelhardt, who delivers unto us Lemon Bar Puppy Chow. And here are my last two cookie posts.