Today, I found out that my foot is "healed" (with just a tiny bit of fracture left), so that I can finally get back into exercising. Well, slowly, anyway. I'm supposed to gradually start with lower impact stuff and gauge my pain as I go. I think I'll start with some yoga and hopefully a bit of skiing next week before I get back into classes! There's still a bit of pain without doing anything really, but I am SO excited to have the go ahead from the doctors. We have a pretty nice small heater, and I'm thinking about making my own "hot yoga" room with it so that I don't have to shell out a lot of money for classes. I'll let you know how that goes if I do!
Now, time for these vanilla bean marshmallows I talked about in the salted caramel hot chocolate post. I made these to go along with the hot cocoa mix for Christmas gifts, but I plan to make them again and again as the winter goes along. It's extremely easy (you do need a candy thermometer, though), and the taste is out of this world. You will definitely NEVER buy store bought marshmallows again after you try this recipe!
My favorite part about these marshmallows is how they melt on top of steaming hot chocolate so that it almost seems like a layer of whipped cream, but it has all the marshmallowy flavor you're looking for. They're pretty sweet, so you only need two or three for each mug, which I think is the perfect amount!
For this recipe, you can use a pretty wide variety of sweeteners: agave nectar, corn syrup, or just sugar and water. I've made them with both agave nectar and corn syrup, and they both taste amazing! I think it'd be really fun to make it with coconut sugar and water, so then you'd get a deep almost caramel flavor. You can also make them sugar free, but the texture is a little bit funny - just use the equivalent amount of sugar substitute in place of the sugar with water. I used erythritol to make some for my grandma, who is diabetic. I'll include this all in the notes below the recipe!
I'm really excited to try these out in homemade s'mores, but I think I need to also make some homemade graham crackers before I do that! Stay tuned. ;)
Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
makes about 88 marshmallow squares
adapted from Ina Garten
3 packets unflavored gelatin (about 3 T)
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup agave nectar (or corn syrup)** see note for other options
1/4 t salt
1 T vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in a small bowl; set aside while making the syrup.
Combine the other 1/2 cup water, sugar, agave nectar, and salt in a medium sized saucepan, and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to high, and then cook the syrup until it reaches 240ºF on a candy thermometer (be careful not to let it boil over). Remove from heat.
Place the gelatin mixture and vanilla bean scrapings in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the hot syrup over the gelatin vanilla mixture, being very careful as it is VERY HOT. Set the mixer to high and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes (you may need the lid attachment for any splattering, depending on the size of your mixer bowl). Add in the vanilla extract towards the end of mixing.
Dust a 13x9 inch cake pan (or any large glass baking dish, jelly roll pan, etc.) with confectioner's sugar, and pour the marshmallow mixture overtop. Smooth and dust with more confectioner's sugar. Let sit uncovered for about 8 hours (or overnight) to dry out.
Once dry, cut with cookie cutters or a sharp knife on a confectioner's sugar dusted cutting board. Dust with more confectioner's sugar to cover the sticky edges. Store in an airtight container.
**Note: You can replace the agave nectar/corn syrup with 1 cup sugar. You will then add 1/4 cup more water to the syrup part, which is then 1 1/4 cups total.
You can replace the sugar and agave nectar with an equal amount of erythritol (2 1/2 cups total) and an extra 1/4 cup water (1 1/4 cups total) for a sugar free option. All other directions are the same - you will not dust with confectioner's sugar, though, obviously. Erythritol doesn't make a sticky product, so you don't need it anyway!