Homemade Holiday Marshmallows! 

Try this homemade marshmallow recipe as a base formula. You can make  additions of essential oils or flavored extracts along with organic food colors to create a variety of fun flavors.

So easy, you won’t believe it. You will never want eat a store bought marshmallow again! 

You’ll Need:

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Here’s How:

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to dissolve while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. 

Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240’F degrees on a candy thermometer. 

With the mixer on low speed, very slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin running a small stream while increasing the speed of the mixer onto high. Whip until the mixture is very thick and cooling, about 15 minutes. Once the volume has increased by 1/2, add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch glass baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Or spray generously with cooking spray. ( Avoid using any metal pans for this recipe) 

Quickly pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top with wet, clean hands. ( move fast because it sets quickly) Dust more confectioners’ sugar on top. Allow to sit uncovered overnight or until set ( a few hours) if you can’t stand the suspense. The longer it sits the more successful your final cuts will be. 

Turn the marshmallows onto a powered sugar dusted board and cut them in large squares. ( Use my cut technique with non-flavored dental floss ) 

Toss to dust all sides with more confectioners’ sugar. Enjoy!

Variations : Add 1 teaspoon of your favorite essential oils or extracts for flavors and 8-10 drops of organic food coloring for nice swirls or complete a solid pastel color.

30 Minute Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten chocolate lava cakes were developed by one of the worlds most famous chefs- Jean-Georges Vongerichten! He says more than a thousand of these cakes are made in his restaurants everyday.

The ingredient list is simple –butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar and flour which makes this recipe easy for busy people! Below is my adapted recipe.

Rich creamy chocolate pudding in a sauce pan with chocolate chunks and kitchen utensils

You’ll Need:

6 ounces of unsalted butter plus melted butter for brushing the ramekin

Dutch processed Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

4 ounces good quality bittersweet (70% ) chocolate, chopped 

2 large egg yolks

2 large whole eggs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 450’F Degrees. Brush 4 – 6 to 8 ounce ramekins with melted butter, and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside in a high sided roasting pan. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the the butter in 30-second intervals stirring in between each zap. If you don’t have a microwave melt on the stove top very low heat–melting the butter first then adding the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, with a hand whisk, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy about a minute. Add the chocolate mixture while continually stirring. Combine until completely incorporated. Add the flour and mix to combine.

Divide the batter among the buttered and dusted ramekins, filling them two-thirds full. Place pan on oven rack. Add 1/2-1 inch of hot water to the pan.

Bake the cakes in the center of the oven until the tops and sides are set but the centers are still soft, 7-9 minutes. You will notice the centers will still wiggle.

Let stand for 30 seconds, then run the tip of a knife around the rims and invert the cakes onto serving plates. Remove the ramekin just before serving. Waiting will help hold it’s shape. 

Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar and serve with vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream! 

Makes 4 Servings

Holiday Worthy Brioche Bread Pudding with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce !

Ahhhh, bourbon and brioche. Two of my favorite things! 

You’ll Need:

1/4 cup bourbon 

1/2 cup currants  

1-1/2 pound loaf of Brioche, torn into 1-2 inch chunks, or cut into cubes – allowed to stale overnight  

1 1/2 cups whole milk or substitute 

1/2 cup heavy cream or substitute

4 large eggs or substitute 

1 cup pure organic cane sugar, or coconut sugar

1 Tablespoon good quality pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

4-6 Tablespoons unsalted butter 

2 cups coarsely chopped pecans 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce, see recipe below 

Here’s How

Heat bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. Pour the warmed bourbon over currants in a small bowl. Allow currants to reconstitute and plump. Minimum 1 hour, or overnight. 

Cut brioche into large 1-2 inch chunks and let sit out overnight uncovered to stale– or if you didn’t have time –slightly toast in a warm 375’F oven on a cookie sheet until dry.

Begin by Preheat oven to 350’F degrees. With the butter, generously prepare an 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass casserole dish by rubbing it into the pan using your hands — set aside. 

Add stale brioche pieces to a large mixing bowl and set aside. In an additional medium sized bowl, combine cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and allspice. With a wire whisk– beat well to combine. 

Pour into bread mixture. Add reconstituted currents and any remaining soaking liquid. Add the nuts. Combine well and mix into the bread well without compromising  the shape of the cubes. 

Place the bread and egg mixture into the buttered baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. 

Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator for best results –or a minimum of an hour on the counter. 

Bring to room temperature and bake until bread is browned around edges and custard is cooked, about 35 -40 minutes. 

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream and warm bourbon butterscotch sauce.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce 

You’ll Need:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup organic corn syrup 

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, cut open and scraped of seeds

2 Tablespoons good quality bourbon 

pinch of salt 

Here’s How:

In a very small saucepan, heat the cream with the vanilla bean and the pod. Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool. Set aside.

In a large, high sided, heavy bottomed saucepan, add the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt together and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  

Let the mixture simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until it’s reached a maple syrup type consistency. Remove from heat, whisk in the heavy cream into the sugar mixture discarding vanilla bean pod. 

Add bourbon and stir until smooth. ( the mixture will bubble up after adding the cream take special precaution not to let it bubble over) 

Note: The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Allow to cool completely and store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.  

Reheat before serving.

Make Ahead- Chocolate Espresso Pot De Crème!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
6 ounces good quality 60-70 % chocolate,finely chopped
6 ounces good quality 80% chocolate 80%,finely chopped, plus shavings for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
1- 4 inch cinnamon stick
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon good quality instant espresso powder
Unsweetened whipped cream,for serving

 
Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream, cinnamon stick and sugar. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce heat add the vanilla, espresso and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1/2 – 1 cup of the hot milk, into egg yolks while whisking vigorously; do-not to curdle the eggs. Bring the egg yolks close to the same temperature as the milk. This stage is called: Tempering. Once the cream is tempered into the egg yolks, transfer the tepid egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining flavored cream. Begin cooking to form a custard.

Over moderate heat, whisk constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Immediately add the finely chopped chocolate and remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl to help you poor into smaller serving vessels.

Pour the chocolate mixture into desired serving vessels and refrigerate until the pots de crème are chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Serve the pots de crème with unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings and an optional dusting of cocoa. Or simply… a candied coffee bean.

Makes approximately 8-10 servings depending on the size of your serving vessel.

Note: If eggs begin to curdle in tempering stage, cool cream before any further additions and immediately run the mixture through a sieve before proceeding to the next step.

Homemade Bacon-Maple Butter

Delicious on just about anything including a good grilled steak. Love this on my recipe for homemade pumpkin spiced flap-jacks, or extra toasty waffles. The best part about making this homemade bacon-maple butter, is that your entire house will smell like holiday ( Insert big, happy sigh.)

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces and frozen

4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy. (1 Tablespoon of fat reserved)

1 Tablespoon bacon fat ( optional )

1-1/2 cups grade A medium maple syrup

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Method: 

In a medium sized, 3-4 quart heavy bottomed,stainless-steel saucepan,rub the inside rim with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. (This will help prevent the maple syrup from boiling over.) Add the Maple syrup to the sauce pan and cook without stirring on medium high heat until the syrup reaches 235”F Degrees on a candy thermometer. About 8 to 10 minutes. When the syrup begins to boil gently tilt the pan so the syrup covers the thermometer bulb to get an accurate reading.

Once syrup comes to temperature, remove from heat and add the frozen butter 1-2 pieces at a time. Make sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until each addition of butter has melted before incorporating more. Repeat until all the butter has been added.

Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the salt and the bacon fat.Stir to combine.

Pour the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, or use and electric hand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until cooled and lighter in color and about 10-15 minutes. Gently crumble, and fold in bacon bits until just combine or add before pressing for a smoother bacon texture.

Pour the bacon maple butter into clean mason jars, recycled food safe jars, or BPF free plastic containers. Allow to cool to room temperature. Seal air-tight and refrigerate. Can be stored up to, two weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

 

Makes approximately 1 pint.

Variation : Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and for a spicy finish– add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Or both! You decide.