Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows and Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Marshmallows


Peppermint marshmallows, two ways. I asked Kavi which she liked better, and she couldn’t decide — the peppermint swirl ones are more intensely peppermint; the chocolate-peppermint ones actually have more peppermint (same marshmallows, plus bits on top), but the dark chocolate has a strong enough presence that the overall effect is less peppermint-y.
 
Sometimes you just have to accept that you love them both, and it’s impossible to choose.   
 
*****
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. water
2 t. vanilla
1 t. peppermint extract
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
butter (for greasing the pan)
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (about 1/2 c.)
a few drops of red food coloring
tempered chocolate for dipping (about 8 oz.)
crushed peppermints for topping
 
1. Empty gelatin packets into bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment), with water, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Stir briefly to combine.
 
2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat; if it continues, it will swiftly turn into hard candy.
 
3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes.
5. While it’s whipping, butter a large 9 x 12 pan. Prepare an oiled spatula.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly (and swiftly) with the oiled spatula. (If making peppermint swirl, add a few drops of red food coloring and use a toothpick to swirl it around.)
7. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
8. Turn onto a board, cut into squares and dust all sides of each marshmallow with the powdered sugar, using additional if necessary. (If making chocolate-peppermint, melt tempered chocolate, dip marshmallows, and set on wax paper. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints immediately, then let dry.
 
May be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, or frozen.

Dark Caramel-Cashew Pralines

There is something pleasantly meditative about making sweets late at night, even if you burn the first batch a little. I forgot that my burners are misaligned and run hot (long story), so that even when I’m using my own recipe, I need to notch everything down a little — when I say ‘medium-high,’ I mean ‘medium’ on my own stove.

But it’s okay — milk toffee with cashews is still delicious even when it’s turned into dark caramel-cashew pralines. I wouldn’t serve it to Sri Lankans expecting our milk toffee, but otherwise, we’re good.

Mango Passionfruit Caramels

Usually I make exactly what I write in the recipe, but the truth is, I find cutting caramels labor-intensive enough that it’s something I only plan to do once a year or so. So I’m not going to make these again anytime soon, even though they’re quite delicious, and even though I think they would be just the tiniest bit tastier with the proportions I’m going to write down below. I made these with 3/4 c. mango pulp and 1/4 c. passionfruit pulp, because that’s what I had on hand, but I think they would be even better with 1/2 and 1/2, so that the tartness of the passionfruit would better balance the mango. But honestly, I think any ratio of those two would be delicious, as long as you ended up with 1 c. fruit pulp total.

Based on a Gale Gand basic caramel recipe. Makes at least 60 caramels.

5 c. sugar
1/2 c. mango pulp
1/2 c. passionfruit pulp
1 c. water
6 T butter
1 c. cream, warmed a little
flake salt for topping (optional)

1. In a very large pot (it will boil up a lot), mix sugar, fruit pulp, and water.

2. Bring to a boil and continue cooking without stirring until hard ball stage (250 degrees on a candy thermometer).

3. Turn heat off and stir in the butter and then the cream.

4. Pour into a 9×12 pan that has been lined with parchment paper and buttered. Let the caramel cool and set until firm, at least two hours and preferably overnight.

5. Once firm, turn caramel out onto a board, cut into rectangles, and sprinkle with flake salt if desired. Wrap in decorative clear plastic (you can get squares online that are meant for caramels, that twist and hold well).

Passionfruit Cashew Ice Cream

My god. It’s a good thing I’m out of ice cream, is all I’m saying.

Ice cream + passionfruit toffee + cashews + flake salt.

(No, I am not opening an ice cream parlor. But if we do that Sri Lankan pop-up in Amanda Daly‘s place, this might have to be a dessert option.)

Candy-Making

Candy recipe-testing takes so much more patience than I normally need for recipe-testing!

I took a basic caramel recipe, swapped out the water for mango & passionfruit pulp, and then realized that that wasn’t thick enough, so I just went ahead and added the water back in. So now I *really* have no idea whether this will set into caramels or not. I may end up with a sticky messy that is impossible to cut. I may end up with toffee instead. It’s going to be hours before I have any idea.

I am feeling my way through candy-making, and I have to remind myself that my early attempts to modify my mom’s marshmallow recipe were equally confusing, and now, at least, I have that down. It’d be nice to get a solid desi-inflected caramel recipe down — we’ll see.

Ah well. I suppose this means it’s time to go and write for a while? Or sort clothes? Something.  I suppose if it doesn’t set, I’ll have mango-passionfruit caramel sauce, which is not a tragedy.

Passionfruit Brittle

Passionfruit Brittle
 
So I admit, I set out to make caramels, and I got brittle instead. On the other hand, a) the brittle is delicious (fruity tang blending harmoniously with the dark sweetness of the caramelized sugar, yum), b) now I know how to make brittle, and c) I can still try to make caramels tomorrow.
 
I’m going to call this a win-win. 🙂
 
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. passion fruit puree
2 T corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
 
1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Butter a large Pyrex dish.
 
2. Heat pot on medium, stirring periodically, until a candy thermometer measures 240 degrees F (soft ball stage).
 
3. Pour candy out into baking dish and let cool a few hours. Peel up from the bottom of the dish (otherwise it may stick hard), and the chill in the fridge until quite hard, another hour or two. Break apart into brittle pieces and enjoy.
 
(Don’t lose a tooth!)

Passionfruit Rose Cake

Rich passionfruit flavor and a hint of rose scent. This delicate cake is lovely with a very light tea. Passionfruit puree can be ordered online, or is often found in Mexican grocers, sometimes frozen. If you have are lucky enough to have actual passionfruit on hand, you can, of course, pulp and puree them yourself; strain out the hard seeds if you do.

2 c. flour
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
1 c. yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T rosewater
12 T butter (room temperature)
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a cake pan (spraying with Baker’s Joy makes this easy). You can use a bundt pan, cakelet pans, or mini cake pans.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In a second bowl, combine the passionfruit puree, yogurt, vanilla extract, and rosewater if using; set aside.

4. In the bowl of a standing mixer (paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks and eggs one at a time, pausing to scrape bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.

5. Add the flour mixture and passionfruit mixture alternately in a few additions, starting with the dry. Scrape sides and bottom again to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.

6. Fill the pan and bake on the middle rack for (50-55 for bundt, 25-30 minutes for cakelets, 15-20 minutes for mini cakes), or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted in the center of a cake. (If you want them darker, which shows off the contrast and the detail more, bake a few minutes longer.)

Mango and Ginger Shortbread (take 3)

I keep messing with this recipe.  This version has the real shortbread crispiness that I love. 🙂

  Mango-Ginger Shortbread
(makes about 40 cookies)

The way the butter lingers on your tongue, the hint of salt with the sweet fruitiness of the dried mango and the slight sharpness of the crystallized ginger? Heaven. Bake a few minutes longer if you’re planning to dip them in coffee or tea.

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 t. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 c. dried mango, chopped fine
1/4 c. crystallized ginger, chopped fine

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla and salt. Then add flour and mix on low until dough forms. Stir in mango and ginger.

3. Turn out dough onto floured board, roll into logs. Cover in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh.

3. Remove from fridge and cut slices. Chill individual cookies again for 10 more minutes (to reduce spreading). Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet (I like the insulated ones for even baking).

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool. Delicious with chai!

Pistachio & Rosewater Mini Scones

Delicate and fragrant, with a little nutty goodness to add to your morning or teatime. (If you don’t have a mini scone pan, you can cut and shape these by hand, and bake on a regular baking sheet, placing them quite close together.  If you pop them in the freezer for 30 minute before baking, they’ll hold shape better.)
 
2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 c. chopped pistachios
1/2 c. dried edible rose petals
2 large eggs
1 T rosewater
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 t. lime zest
1/2 cup milk
 
Glaze:
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
6 T water
1 T lime juice (or substitute water for a plain sugar glaze)
 
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan, which will be kind of a pain).
 
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Chop butter in small pieces and cut into flour with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It’s fine to have small lumps.) Stir in pistachios and rose petals.
 
 
3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 5 scone ingredients, beating eggs lightly. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
 
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.
 
5. Bake 20-25 or until medium brown. Let cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm, with coffee or tea.
 
6. Optional: Glaze. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, water, and lime juice. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment. Pour glaze in, then dip scones in glaze. Remove to wire rack to dry. Alternately, drizzle glaze over the top.

Vegetarian Passionfruit Marshmallow Fluff

This makes a delicious and cravable spoonable dessert (you might want to stir in some chopped fruit to grace it, or sprinkle with sliced almonds).
 
NOTE: The egg whites won’t be cooked, so you may want to use pasteurized egg whites for food safety.
 
(45 minutes + cooling time)
 
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
2 t. powdered agar-agar
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. water
3 egg whites
chopped fruit (optional)
 
1. Combine passionfruit puree and agar-agar in bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment). Stir briefly to combine.
 
2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 12 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.
 
3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the agar mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
 
4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes. Add food coloring, if using for the whole batch, during this stage; it will be a creamy color if no additional coloring is added.
 
5. Add egg whites and beat an additional 5 minutes or so, until notably increased in volume.
 
6. Turn off mixer, remove whisk, and with a spatula, gently fold in chopped fruit if desired. Pour the mixture into a large serving dish, spreading it evenly.
 
6. Chill fluff for at least four hours, and then serve.