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Homemade Marshmallows and other Christmas Treat Recipes (that aren't cookies)

RecipesChloe | Boxwood Ave.6 Comments

A collection of delicious Christmas treats recipes for those that want to skip the classic Christmas cookie. Everything from marshmallows to toffee, these are the perfect homemade gifts!

10 Christmas Treats Recipes (feat. homemade marshmallows) | boxwoodavenue.com

Hello! Happy Monday, can you believe it's almost Christmas? I have been filling egg stamp orders like crazy and have not had much time to do anything else. However, this past weekend a few of my girlfriends and I got together for a cookie party! We started the tradition last year, and I am so glad we are continuing it! Instead of bringing cookies, I decided to bring homemade marshmallows and hotcoco. #rebel 

I've always wanted to make homemade marshmallows, but I have always been a bit intimated by them. When I started making these I realized just how easy they are to make. They require no baking, and they are 100% more delicious than the store bought version. Maybe 200%. 

These were truly so very easy to make, and although I stuck with a basic recipe, they would be very easy to adapt to make special. Try peppermint extract instead of vanilla, or add a bit of food coloring. Maybe dust with cocoa powder or add chocolate chips at the last minute! 

10 Christmas Treats Recipes (feat. homemade marshmallows) | boxwoodavenue.com
10 Christmas Treats Recipes (feat. homemade marshmallows) | boxwoodavenue.com

I am sharing this recipe with a few friends today - we are all sharing a Christmas treat recipe! I hope you enjoy taking a peek at everyone's recipe and find something delicious to make this holiday season! These treats are the perfect inexpensive, homemade holiday gift! Great for neighbors, teachers, and co-workers! Just head to the end of this post to see them all! I hope you have a beautiful week! 


homemade marshmallows


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water, divided into two 1/2 cups
  • 3 packets unflavored gelatin 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (I used Maldon)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 
  • non-stick cooking spray

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Prep: Combine cornstarch and confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Spray a 13x9" dish with non-stick spray, then dust it with the cornstarch mixture. You will have some starch/sugar left over - save it to dust the top of the marshmallows. 

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl (I used my electric mixing bowl), combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir to dissolve the gelatin and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe. 

Step 2: Combine granulated sugar, salt, corn syrup, and the remaining 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir the ingredients to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil - using a candy thermometer, closely monitor the temperature. 

Step 3: Whisk the mixture as it boils and keep a close eye on the temperature. As soon as it reaches 240 degrees F remove it from the heat. This takes about 15 minutes. 

Step 4: Slowly pour the syrup into the dissolved gelatin mixture. Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture for about 15 minutes. It will become light and fluffy...like marshmallows! 

Step 5: Once the mixture becomes marshmallow-like, add the vanilla and mix until combined.  

Step 6: Use a spatula to pour the marshmallow mix evenly into the prepared baking dish. Dust with remaining confectioners sugar mixture, and let the marshmallows sit overnight, uncovered. Once the mallows have dried out a bit, you can cut and dust with more confectioners sugar or sprinkles! 

Notes: We live in a dry environment, and I left mine out overnight, uncovered. They remained a bit sticky, and were tricky to cut. I think leaving them out longer would do the trick; however, I didn't mind the "stickiness" - they were delicious!!! Try dusting with more confectioners sugar so that they won't stick together if you plan on gifting these. 

Some have mentioned that the mallows were a bit hard to remove from the pan, if you have some handy, you can use parchment paper to line the dish! 


More Delicious Christmas Treats 

(that aren't cookies!)


nona's famous toffee • ella claire  |  peppermint fudge • zevy joy  |  donut hole tree • love grows wild  |  chocolate covered cherries • anderson + grant

 

gingerbread brownies • my sweet savannah  |  gingerbread tree cake • inspired by charm  |  peppermint truffles • maison de pax

classic peppermint bark • nina hendrick  |  peppermint s'mores • nest of posies  |  dark chocolate pretzel bark • finding home farm


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How to Quick Pickle Vegetables

RecipesChloe | Boxwood Ave.4 Comments

Preserve your end-of-the-summer harvest with these simple tips and techniques to quick pickle any fruit or veggie! 

How to quick pickle vegetables | boxwoodavenue.com

If you follow along on social media, you might have seen my recent trip to Northstar which is located on the north side of Lake Tahoe. Over the next few months I will be partnering with them to share some beautiful home tours, entertaining tips, and the beauty of Tahoe. I am thrilled about this partnership because Tahoe is a home away from home for me - to have the opportunity to share it with you is very exciting! 

On my recent trip, I was lucky enough to attend the 32nd annual Food & Wine Festival. With food & wine from all over northern California, it was a huge treat! I spent the weekend bouncing back and forth between sampling delicious pairings and relaxing at the beach. I was able to take one of the classes offered at the festival - a pickling workshop with Chef Lara Ritchie from Reno's Nothing to it Cooking School (where Greg and I have taken classes in the past, and absolutely loved it!). 

I was very excited about this class because preserving and canning is something I am quite interested in. Yet it can often feel daunting because of the safety precautions involved. I couldn't wait to learn from chef Lara! During the class, she taught us wonderful ways to quick pickle veggies of all kinds, and answered all of my (millions of) questions. Below, I've compiled all of the information we covered in the class, I think you will enjoy reading all of Chef Lara's tips and techniques for quick pickling! 


Quick Pickling

how to quick pickle with delicious flavor


What is quick pickling?

Quick pickling is accomplished by brining fresh vegetables with salt, sugar, and vinegar; spices can also be added for more flavor. Quick pickles, also known as refrigerator pickles, are a simple way to preserve fresh vegetables without the hours of work involved in traditional pickling. Quick pickled vegetables are stored in the refrigerator and only take a few days to develop a delicious pickled flavor. 

What can be quick pickled? 

Any vegetable can be quick pickled, some delicious options are peppers, cauliflowers, onions, cucumbers, and asparagus. However it is important to only select the best, most fresh and crisp vegetables to be pickled. The vegetables you pickle should be free of blemish, without bruising or browning because the acid and salt will degrade the food as it ferments. 

It's important to thoroughly wash and rinse the veggies you decide to pickle. Especially veggies like leeks, carrots, garlic, and onions which generally hide dirt (bacteria) in their nooks and crannies!

When cutting the vegetables, cut them all to be about the same size so that they pickle at the same rate. Not sure what size to cut? Think about what you will be using them for: Pasta? Bite size. Cheese board? A little bigger.

How to quick pickle vegetables | boxwoodavenue.com

Lastly, keep in mind that the vegetables are the stars of the show here, so you'll want to include the most attractive parts of them, and while stems can butts can be pickled, they won't be the most attractive when served. 

The Brine: Vinegar, Salt, Sugar, and Spices

The vinegar: Any vinegar (apple cider, white, rice, etc...) will work for brining and generally a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar is a good starting point; however, Chef Lara encourages creativity here. Adding spices to your brine will only add flavor, and flavor is always a good idea, and splurging on fresh, fragrant spices is always worth it, especially when pickling. 

The salt: You don't have to find the most rare kind of salt, just use a good, clean, pure Kosher salt. Avoid using table salt which has anti-caking chemicals added to it resulting in odd flavors when cooked. When pickling, the salt acts as a preservative, making it hard for bacteria to live. Salt rounds out the flavor of the vegetables by not only adding saltiness, but also bringing out the natural sweetness of the vegetable. 

"Salt is an amazing mineral from fresh or ancient sea beds: nearly all salt is sea salt. Don't brag about sea salt because everyone cooks with sea salt, but we want it to be as pure as possible: don't spend your whole paycheck, but get something that isn't iodized!" -Chef Lara Ritchie

The sugar: Sugar is optional in quick pickling recipes, but it adds a depth of flavor to the recipe. Avoid adding too much sugar as you don't want to create a syrupy brine. Add just enough to give the pickles a touch of sweetness. 

The Spices: Regardless of your recipe, cooking spices should not be over a year old! The flavor is held within the oil of the spice, once spices being to dry out, they lose their flavor. Find a source for spices that will allow you to purchase in small amounts so that they remain fresh, especially for spices that don't get used all that often. When storing spices - store them away from heat and light! Chef Lara explained that keeping spices next to the oven actually cooks them, which is costing you money and flavor!  A good indicator of spice freshness is their scent, even if you don't know what they're supposed to smell like, you should be able to smell a deep flavor, if you can't, your spices aren't good any longer. 


How to quick pickle vegetables

recipe provided by chef Lara Ritchie of Nothing to it Cooking School


How to quick pickle vegetables | boxwoodavenue.com

Spices:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Salt, Sugar, Vinegar:

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt

The vegetables:

  • 5 medium garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 3 slices fresh ginger (about 1/4" thick)
  • 1/2 of one small yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a head of cauliflower, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick on the diagonal (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 of one red bell pepper, cut into large dice (about 1 cup)

Prepare the brine: 

Put the coriander, mustard, and cumin seeds in a small sauce pan. Toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about two minutes. 

Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup of water to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil. 

Prepare the pickles: 

If you have not cut the vegetables yet, do so as the brine comes to a boil. Sterilize jars, and thoroughly dry! 

Divide the vegetables into the sterilized glass jars leaving 1/4" head space. You can arrange the vegetables in an attractive manner if you plan on giving these as gifts! 

Once the brine is ready, pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate. The vegetables will be ready after about two days and will last upwards a month, after 14 days the vegetables may start to become a bit mushy. 

*Note: the head space isn't completely necessary, but you must make sure the vegetables are completely submerged in the brine! 


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