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    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Chickenpox and Marshmallows: The second wave of chickenpox hit yesterday - striking our two teenagers. They're encamped in our living room with their sleeping bags Greenday CD's. They asked for homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate to treat their chills, and since I'm a sucker for sick kids, I obliged. The marshmallows don't taste any better than store-bought marshmallows, but they look like chunks of snow when they're floating in hot chocolate. I've posted the recipe for marshmallows before, but here it is again:

    The first marshmallows were made by combining the juice of the marsh mallow flower with eggs and sugar and beating it into a foam. But, thanks to modern chemistry, they can be made with powdered pig skin, water, and sugar. Not as pretty as the flower, and devoid of its medicinal properties, but probably a lot easier and quicker.


    1 cup cold water
    3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
    1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (unclear extract works OK, too)

    Mix the 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin in the 1 cup of cold water. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

    While gelatin is sitting idly, butter a 9x9 inch pan. Mix the 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar with the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Powder the pan with 1/3 of the sugar/cornstarch mixture. It will look like there are snowdrifts in the corners.

    In a saucepan, combine the 2 cups of granulated sugar with the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the gelatin mixture. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring. When the concoction comes to a boil, cover for three minutes. This washes down any crystals that might be clinging to the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about fifteen or twenty minutes. Add the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

    Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until it forms soft peaks. (This stretches out the protein molecules in the gelatin, creating molecular stability; and adds air to make it fluffy.) Pour into the buttered and dusted pan. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the confectioners’ sugar/cornstarch mix on top. It will look like a freshly fallen snow cover.

    Let sit overnight at room temperature. Cut into squares and dust the sides with the remaining confectioners’ sugar/cornstarch. Plop into a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Enjoy.

    posted by Sydney on 12/12/2005 07:58:00 AM 0 comments


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