Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all are having a wonderful day of giving thanks for friends, family, and rich blessings! I would love to hear what your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and traditions are! Please post comments!!

I'll be sharing a few of my own over the next couple days! For now, enjoy your family and feasting!

P.S. I wanted to post a couple pretty Thanksgiving pictures but I am having technical difficulties with that at the moment...please stay tuned!

Monday, November 12, 2012

S'mores Housewarming Party!!

Yes, I'm still alive and well. I can't believe I've left my readers hanging for over a month and a half with no posting!! No excuses but I have been a little busy moving to a new house.  Buying and selling a house is very stressful and is a lot of work and very time-consuming (and mind-consuming). But hopefully you'll forgive me when I share with you a wonderful recipe to make home-made marshmallows that are super yumma yumma and surprisingly easy!

S'mores Buffet

Only two weeks after moving in we decided to host a housewarming party for our new home.  We were only able to pull it together so quickly because A.) we had TONS of help moving in and getting unpacked and B.) I had already mentally planned this party in my head for about the last year before we even knew we were going to move, not knowing it would necessarily become a housewarming party. I came across the idea of a s'mores party when someone turned me onto this wonderful little party idea blog called Juneberry Lane.  Ever since then I've been dying to have my own s'mores party! And since s'mores and fall go so well together and our move took place end of October, how fortunate for me that the timing was perfect!

Strawberry Marshmallows...pretty in pink!

So I began the search for homemade marshmallow recipes. And came across a great one by one of my favorite TV food personalities, Alton Brown.  Here is the basic recipe as follows:


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

gelatin and ice water

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.

Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture.

it's like magic...sugar syrup transformed before your eyes!

mmm...marshmallow fluff...

Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. [If you want to do other flavors, here is where you can add them.  Instead of vanilla, you can substitute any flavor of extract, or you can still use the vanilla but add a tablespoon of whatever spice you want, like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or cardamom. This is also the time to add a few drops of food coloring if you want some pretty colors to your marshmallows. For the chocolate marshmallows I added 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.  For the pumpkin marshmallows I added a 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin. The possibilities are endless!] While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.




 Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl (for chocolate marshmallows you can also add a little cocoa powder to this mixture. I even added a little cinnamon for the pumpkin ones too). Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.


pumpkin...the pureed pumpkin in this recipe made these extra moist. next time I might use less pumpkin and/or more pumpkin pie spice instead.

 When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

I will warn you that these marshmallows are a little more sensitive than store-bought ones so they will melt a little quicker over the fire.  Have your chocolate and crackers ready!

Mint and strawberry...we purchased these lovely metal containers from the dollar section at Target!

Pumpkin and Cinnamon...the containers are not food-safe so we lined them with linen napkins.

Plain (store-bought ones for the less adventurous eaters) and Chocolate

A variety of graham crackers...honey and cinnamon...

And also chocolate grahams!

A variety of chocolates...toffee, raspberry, and orange

Dark chocolate

Milk chocolate and white chocolate

And some good ol' Hersheys for the traditionalists (and these are nut-safe for those with allergies as most of the fancy chocolates are not!)

Its good to offer a variety of toppings for your s'mores buffet...a variety of marshmallows, a variety of chocolates and crakcers, even some caramel dip, peanut butter, and apple slices. And of course don't forget the s'mores sticks and the fire!

some of our guests gathered outside around our new firepit (a housewarming gift from the family)

a perfect sweet treat...chocolate and vanilla marshmallows on chocolate bars with chocolate graham crackers, served with hot cocoa and marshmallows!