Ok, guys, let me start with the big question: who was that whiny twit womanning this blog in the last few posts? I was reading them and was all, "What's her champagne problem now? Let me save up my rupees and see if I can come up with enough dough to buy her the tiniest violin in the world." I'm right, right? Such complaints this one had! Anyway, instead of yammering on and on, let me provide you with some quick updates on the Life of Shibow:
1. It won't stop raining in New York, and I am PISSED, with a capital PISSED.
2. HOLGRAM TUPAC!!!!! I cannot stop talking about this. It will never cease to amuse me. Never.
3. Guess who landed herself in the emergency room! I've got no idea what happened other than it hurt like a mother to breathe and I spent a good three hours crying and
lamenting the current state of the city hospital system begging to be discharged before some other stranger in scrubs started inexplicably poking and prodding me. It was hell. It was pure hell. But fear not, dear readers, after much fretting and hand-wringing it was determined that I will not, in fact, expire any time soon, at least not of an asthma-related meltdown.
4. BOY DID I MISS YOU GUYS! <3
5. I am so sick of the NYC subway system. Just the other day, the doors to the F train shut while I was boarding and gave me a nasty arm burn. The next morning, a woman spilled her Coffee Coolata on me and then LAUGHED. The soulless slob of a beast laughed! I hate this city.
I guess I did need a little bit of a break. Truth be told, I am feeling a little better about things, and hopefully, should #1 cease to be true in the near future, I'll feel a LOT better about things. I was able to muster up enough of a sugar craving/curiosity to want to try and bake something new and interesting, and finally decided on something so messy that I'd literally be stuck to it for hours and hours: marshmallows!
So, obviously, those jet-puffed creations that you wedge into your yams and roast over open fires every now and again are made by somebody. Still, for some reason it never occurred to me that they could be made by this body. Oh, but they can. And MOTHER are they messy.
Now, the great thing about these babies, especially if your sucky new-ish oven sort of reminds you of the ones you've seen at colonial houses on your sixth grade field trips, is that they're no-bake. This, in my opinion, makes them yes-awesome. Let's do it!
Marshmallows That Can Double As Part Of A Low-Budget Spiderman Costume...A Delicious Low-Budget Spiderman Costume (makes like 24 or something...you'll see what I mean)
1 cup of water, divided
3 packets (.25 oz each) of powdered gelatin
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup of light corn syrup
1 large pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar, for coating (you'll need lots...and then a bit more than that)
Oh, also, if you've got a candy thermometer, it will come in handy. If you don't, you're me, and you like doing things the inconvenient way. First, lightly grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan with butter or oil, and set aside. Next, pour 1/2 cup of your water into a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it, distributing the gelatin evenly. Leave it be... it will look super strange in just a few minutes.
Combine the rest of your water, and the sugar, salt and corn syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook this mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise to medium heat and let the mixture come to a boil without stirring it. If you have a candy thermometer, you can insert it now. If you start to see some of the mixture sticking to the sides, you can brush down with a pastry brush that has been dipped in cold water. But DON'T stir. When the mixture registers at 240ºF, remove from heat and let it sit for one minute.
Now, if you don't possess a candy thermometer, this next step will be slightly tricky for you. Basically, you're trying to get the above concoction to reach "soft-ball stage." What this means is when a drop of the mixture is placed into a bowl of cold water, the mixture will immediately form itself into a soft ball. Since I refused to buy myself a thermometer because I am cheap and lazy, I used this method. It took about 5 minutes after the mix reached the boiling point to get to this stage.
Next, using a hand or stand mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour the hot syrupy mixture into the bowl of water/gelatin until fully incorporated. Then, gradually increase the speed to high and proceed to beat for about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for about 30 seconds longer.
If you have a hand mixer, I am you, and I feel for both of us. All I can say is that the result will be worth the effort, especially if you're in a funk and need something fun and trying with which to occupy your time. Not pointing fingers, though if I were pointing fingers they'd be pointing at me.
Immediately transfer the marshmallow-y goodness to your greased pan. I'm going to be honest with you: this will suck. Seriously, if there is a way to do this so that all of the marshmallow fluff stuff from the bowl goes into the pan, I know not of it. Get as much of it as you can in, then lightly wet your fingers and try to smooth the top out as much as possible. Let this stand uncovered at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
If you want, you can add all sorts of coatings to this-- cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar, etc. For my first try, though, I decided to keep these classic. If you'd like to do the same, once yours are firm, coat your hands in confectioner's sugar, then cut the marshmallows into squares with a scissor that is also coated in confectioner's sugar. Cover the marshmallows in this sugar, as well. Seal in an airtight container.
Then you can feed them to your significant other, friend or family member, but only if this person is also covered in confectioner's sugar. I'm just trying to see if you're still paying attention. *Wink*
So, believe it or not, I actually made marshmallows! And even though this was the goopiest, messiest process ever, it was fun and relatively easy. Luckily, Mr. Master Of the Baking Arts was there to figure out how best to cut these suckers, because Lord knows I am no good with that process. These were even better on the second day! Also, there is nothing better than a s'more containing homemade marshmallows. Best bad decision ever. ;)