scrumptuous seasonal sipping

Candy-Cane Marshmallows         

Christmas candy cane marshmallowsGive out homemade treats that are great in hot cocoa (see below) – or straight from the bag. Peppermint marshmallows are easy to make; they get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique. Follow our recipe, then package them in small cellophane bags to show off their good looks. Fold the top of each bag over once, and staple it shut. Use a small hole punch on either side of the staple. Thread a length of red twine through the holes, and knot it in front. Pull one end through a gift tag, and finish with a bow.

                     Link: Martha Stewart Living, December 2004             

  • Yield Makes sixteen 2-inch squares


  •                                         Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  •                                         2 cups sugar
  •                                         1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  •                                         4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  •                                         3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  •                                         2 large egg whites
  •                                         2 teaspoons red food coloring
  1.  Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

3.  Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

OK.  Now we have these delicious (and bee-u-tee-ful!) “candy-cane marshmallows”, courtesy of Martha Stewart (and her team!)… so how about something EQUALLY delicious to serve with them??? Like maybe a cup of yummy hot cocoa?  And since we’re sharing recipes for “sumptuous seasonal sipping“; how about a little spiced cider and some holiday eggnog?  No problem… “epicurious” is here to help.  Click this link: Spiced cider, hot chocolate and holiday eggnog, and/or – read on!  Click on the links below for individual recipes.  I guarantee there is something for everyone!!

A Toast to the Season

When it comes to drinks, this truly is the season of comfort and joy. Whether it is a steaming mug to take off the chill after shopping or a bowl of spirited eggnog to jump-start your holiday party, everybody delights in raising a glass of holiday cheer. Happy days to all!

drink tips:

  • Take Your Time

Never let the milk boil when making hot chocolate. Heat it slowly until just steaming to prevent lumps or a skin from forming.

  • Stay Cool

To keep things safe, once mixed, eggnog should be refrigerated until served. It’s not a good idea to add ice, though—once it melts, it’ll water down the nog. Instead, pre-chill the punchbowl (if it doesn’t fit in the fridge, pack it with ice).

  • Best Bubblies

For Champagne punches, there’s no need to fork over a ton of money for an expensive sparkler—a good domestic sparkling wine will serve beautifully. For fruity drinks, try a lightly sweet (demi-sec) variety rather than dry (brut).

  • Plan Ahead

Mix several large pitchers of the basic ingredients of your punchbowl drink in advance. The last few steps can be done in smaller batches as needed.

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