Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Preparations for a Pauper's Christmas

Back from Italy for good now, and enjoying a simpler life: that of the unemployed. While I spend much of my day looking for jobs I have also assigned myself some fun. That is being unemployed, and having just graduated I have no money. For those very same reasons there are many to whom I owe much thanks. Since I cannot thank them in a monetary (therefore gift) way, I have decided to use what I already have. That being an insatiable desire to create foods.

So this year I'm making everyone on my list a Christmas basket of homemade goodies. I won't reveal all of them because many people reading this will also probably be getting one. But to whet everyone's appetites are my homemade marshmallows. Normally I'm not one for sugary junk food, but homemade marshmallows just seem the ultimate in luxury. They are also so far from their raw ingredients in shape and form their creation seemed impossible. And that is what peaked my interest.

So I went through some recipes on the internet and decided on Martha Stewart's. What Martha doesn't tell you (and I should've figured out for myself) is how sticky and difficult marshmallow is to work with. It formed a sticky white mass that overtook my mixer's beaters and oozed out onto the bowl and stand. It stuck to anything that touched it, even if it was just for a second. After the fact I read another recipe which recommends placing the marshmallow in oil coated plastic. Next time I'll try that.

This time with it's sticky gooey mess, I did outsmart Martha on one account. And that is the cutting. After the marshmallow is poured into the pan and dusted with confectioner's, Martha left you hanging. When I went to cut them after they sat out the requisite night, the mix was still soft and gooey enough to trip up the knife, make it sticky, and render the squares misshapen blobs. Dipping the knife in warm water after each cut, like they do with spoons in ice cream shops, worked miracles. If only I had thought of it sooner.

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