Friday, 18 May 2012

Family FoodCakes and marshmallows for school

Morning! At last it is Friday, it's felt like a long week this week.   Today I have passed the blog over to Drew for his first Family Food post.  This will be a regualr feature and I am sure you will all love his tasty treats and ideas for feeding the family.  With five children our kitchen is reguarly in use and often delicious smells waft up the stair as I sit at my desk, whilst Drew busily cooks up a storm.

Anyone with children at school will at some time have been approached during the evening with the news that some kind of cake is required for the next morning at school, leading to some frantic late night baking and mutterings about being told a bit earlier the next time.  Fortunately for us we now seem to get slightly more notice, not always mind you, which obviously makes life a bit easier you might think.

However this week turned out to be slightly different, with would you believe three confections required, all for Thursday.  Although slightly stunned by this and the amount of baking that would be required, I tried to limit my moaning about teachers, schools and children in general, after all we have a friend with triplets who must deal with this kind of kitchen congestion all the time.

After a thorough interrogation of the children concerned it was decided that one cake, a batch of cupcakes and some marshmallows would do the job nicely, so I opened the production line and started baking.

Cakes and marshmallows
Obviously vast amounts of butter cream was required for the cakes and a double quantity of marshmallows needed to be made, well it did not seem fair for us not to have some too.  The marshmallows are a firm favourite in our family, so I thought it might be nice to share the recipe with anyone who has not tried making them before.

Actually making them is not overly difficult, although an electric whisk is essential unless you have arms like Popeye and a sugar thermometer makes life easier as well. On this occasion I made a large batch, for obvious reasons, so it is possible to half the ingredients used to create a more manageable amount.

So to make this giant sugar feast I used a 8 x 15 inch deep tray/tin, which loiters in the cupboard for brownie making duties normally, and dropped a magic liner in the bottom, although you could just grease it.
Next up are the ingredients, which consist of 900g caster sugar, 25g powdered gelatine and 3tsp vanilla extract. You also need cornflour and icing sugar to coat them with once they are prepared.
The process of making them is fairly simple, but does require attendance in the kitchen as this is very much a stir and whisk recipe. Place the sugar in a large pan with 350ml of water and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly so the sugar dissolves without burning. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 235F, which takes about 15 minutes.
When the mixture has almost reached the required temperature, put the gelatine in a large bowl with 200ml of water and whisk briefly to blend. Pour the hot mixture into the bowl with the gelatine, whisking constantly and add the vanilla extract. Keep whisking until the mixture starts to cool and thickens, takes about 15 minutes with an electric helper.
Marshmallow mixture
Mix a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar and corn flour together to dust the bottom and sides of the prepared tray, then pour in the marshmallow mixture. Dust the top and then leave to cool and set for 3 hours.
Marshmallow squares
Once set slice into squares and roll in some more icing sugar with corn flour, eat as many as possible, then store in an airtight container in a cool place, job done.

These marshmallows really are very yummy!
Happy baking everyone,

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