Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows and Coconut White Hot Chocolate

Coconut White Hot Chocolate 1As a subscriber to Bon Appètit magazine, I fell in love with their section on holiday desserts in their newest issue. It was filled with such beautiful photographs (seriously, OMG how gorgeous is this cookie wreath?) and unexpected flavor pairings; I had to make something from it. The blood-orange marshmallows were calling my name and that’s where my journey started.
Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows 1If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before, I can only describe it as a springier, fluffier, less dense version of the store bought kind. Without the preservatives, the marshmallows melt in your mouth and it is best consumed as soon as possible. While I loved the idea of blood orange marshmallows, I just felt that pomegranates were more of a winter fruit so I substituted pomegranate juice for the blood orange juice and it worked out great. The problem was when I tried to make the coconut half of the marshmallow, it wouldn’t whip up fluffy like the pomegranate layer. I used the low fat coconut milk as the recipe stated and I tried it a second time, using less coconut milk and subbing water for the rest of the liquid stated but again, it did not puff up as it was supposed to.
Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows 2My “spider-sense” tingled when I first read the recipe thinking that it was odd that there was any kind of fat in a marshmallow recipe. After all, a marshmallow is a stabilized meringue and fats are meringues’ number one enemy. So having two failed batches of coconut marshmallows, I just dumped it on top of the pomegranate layer and hoped for the best. It set alright and the coconut marshmallow was definitely denser than the pomegranate half, but tasty nonetheless.
Coconut White Hot Chocolate 2I had some coconut milk leftover so I decided to make it some white hot chocolate with it. Heat some coconut milk and low fat milk, add some white chocolate Lindt truffles and stir until it melts. You can blend it in a blender if you want some froth too. Top with whipped cream (I uh… whipped mine for a little too long hahaha) and some marshmallows and it’s a flavor bomb that is just rich enough for it to be indulgent but not heavy.
Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows 3All in all, I think making marshmallows at home is a fun weekend project and people are always amazed when you make homemade candy.  As for packaging, you can always cut them out in fun shapes, or you can cut them into neat squares and put them into treat bags tied with a little ribbon.
Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows 4Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows and Coconut White Hot Chocolate

Pomegranate Coconut Marshmallows

Note: I will state the recipe as written by the original author with my adaptations. I’m going to chalk up my coconut layer not forming because my light coconut milk was not “light” enough. I bought it from Trader Joe’s.

Ingredients:

For the pomegranate layer:
3 ¼ tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
¼ c. cold water
¾ c. sugar
½ c. 100% pomegranate juice
5 tbsp. light corn syrup, divided
red food coloring

For the coconut layer:
3 ¼ tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
¼ c. cold water
¾ c. sugar
½ c. low-fat coconut milk
5 tbsp. light corn syrup, divided

Assembly:
powdered sugar

Instructions:

For the pomegranate layer:

  1. Spray a 13×9 in. baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, add the ice water and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let gelatin bloom for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, add the sugar, pomegranate juice, 2 tbsp. corn syrup and cook until the mixture hits 230˚F.
  4. Add the remaining 3 tbsp. corn syrup to the gelatin mixture.
  5. When the mixture hits 230˚F, turn on the mixer to high and slowly drizzle the pomegranate syrup down the side of the bowl.
  6. Beat until soft, fluffy peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  7. Beat in a few drops of red food coloring until you reach the color you desire.
  8. Quickly add the pomegranate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula coated with nonstick spray. Cool.

For the coconut layer:

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, add the ice water and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let gelatin bloom for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, add the sugar, coconut milk, 2 tbsp. corn syrup and cook until the mixture hits 230˚F.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tbsp. corn syrup to the gelatin mixture.
  4. When the mixture hits 230˚F, turn on the mixer to high and slowly drizzle the coconut syrup down the side of the bowl.
  5. Beat until soft, fluffy peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  6. Quickly add the coconut mixture on top of the cooled pomegranate layer and smooth with an offset spatula coated with nonstick spray. Let set for 12 hours before unmolding.

Assembly:

  1. Dust a cutting board with powdered sugar and unmold the marshmallow slab on top of it.
  2. Dust with additional powdered sugar and cut marshmallows either with a cookie cutter or into 1-2 inch squares.
  3. Package as desired.

Coconut White Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
⅓ c. low-fat coconut milk
⅔ c. low-fat milk
3 white chocolate Lindt truffles
whipped cream for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Heat coconut milk and milk together until hot.
  2. Stir in Lindt truffles and stir until melted.
  3. Optional: Blend in a blender for froth.
  4. Pour into mug, top with whipped cream, marshmallows and a Lindt truffle.

Marshmallow recipe adapted from Bon Appètit.

 

 

{Simple Sundays} Snowball Cookies

snowball cookiesHaving lived in New Jersey for most of my life, Christmas is synonymous with cold weather and snow. We don’t get a white Christmas often, but when we do that particular Christmas feels that much more special. Now I’m not saying you need snow to make Christmas special, but these little nuggets will make it seem like Jack Frost hit your house for the night.
Snowball Cookies 1It really couldn’t be easier. You toss in any kind of nut (I used walnuts) into a food processor or you can even crush it with a rolling pin, and process it until it becomes similar to corn meal. Then in a separate bowl you cream butter with sugar and vanilla extract and then you add your flour, ground nut, salt and nutmeg. I suggest grating fresh nutmeg. It really adds that extra special holiday flair. Dose it onto a cookie sheet and you don’t even have to roll them into balls if you don’t want to. Bake until pale brown and toss with powdered sugar when cool.
Snowball Cookies 2It looks like a snow dome or a half formed snowball. Kissed with some nutmeg and powdered sugar, It melts in your mouth but has a substantial bite that is characteristic of all nut cookies.  Enjoy! 🙂
snowball cookies 34
Snowball Cookies

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. walnuts, almonds, or pecans (you can really use any nut you want)
¾ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp
⅓ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse two cups of nuts until finely ground.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, ground nut, kosher salt and nutmeg together.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix until homogenous.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough and roll into balls.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool.
  9. Once cool, toss each cookie with powdered sugar (the more it is covered, the better) and consume.

Snowball cookie recipe adapted from the brown eyed baker.

Christmas Wreath Macarons

Christmas Wreath Macarons 1Am I the only person that thinks that Christmas snuck upon us this year? I feel like I was waiting forever for Thanksgiving and then BAM! Christmas is right around the corner. (Did anyone else think of this Friends’ scene when they read BAM?) I’ve been dreaming of these macarons since December started and I finally had a chance to bake them earlier this week.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 2Is it cold where you live? It’s been freezing in NJ and I am not used to working in a cooler kitchen. The weather must’ve been super dry because my macaron shells set before I was able to place my sprinkles, hence the little cracks in the shell where I tried to force each sprinkle in with a pair of tweezers (kitchen-use-only-tweezers). I have to admit I was getting quite frustrated with making them and then this happened:
Christmas Wreath Macarons 4Here are my attempts at his mug shots.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 5The thing is, Bear, my cat loves to watch me bake and prep food on the kitchen table. He demands to sit on his own chair and Petey (my other cat) was occupying Bear’s usual space. Fed up with watching from the floor, he decided to get up close and onto the table where the trays of macarons were drying. If you don’t know already, macaron batter is sticky and it took forever to get the green goo out of his tiny paws. Not to mention the trail of green batter on the floor he left when he ran away from me.
Christmas Wreath Macarons 3Despite my frustrations making this particular recipe, I think the macarons would make a cute addition to any cookie platter and add a bit of holiday flair. You can also change up the look of the macaron with different sprinkles. Just make sure you put them on before the shells dry out. If you don’t, they’ll just bounce off like hail on cement pavement.

Christmas Wreath Macarons

Ingredients:

212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
green gel food color
various sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear. Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks. Add two drops of the green gel food color and mix until batter turns a bright shade of green.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty. From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ¼ in. plain tip, pipe a ring of macaron batter leaving the hole in the center as wide as possible. (If you do not, it will close up when the macaron bakes.)
  10. Before the batter dries, place your sprinkles in the desired area.
  11. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F. If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚, if not then 325˚.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth. The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Basic Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:
2 c. whole milk
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 1b. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

*Basic macarons adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel.

Star Wars Rebels Party

Star Wars Rebels PartyIt’s been a while. With Thanksgiving and prepping for Step 3’s, life has been hectic! I feel a mix of regret and sorrow that I missed out on all things fall for the blog. But, it has fast forwarded to December which means that the holidays are here and that translates to holiday goodies. But before we get started on all things Christmas, let’s get to the Rebels Party.

As someone who has watched the Star Wars movies exclusively, I was skeptical when the hype for Star Wars Rebels rose out of midair. But after watching one episode (which led to another and another…), I have to say that I’ve fallen in love with the characters and the story line. There is just the right mix of darkness and humor for all ages to enjoy.

So when Mr. L approached me about doing another Star Wars party, I couldn’t say no. (This is the second Star Wars themed party to be featured on the blog. The first one is linked here.)

We drew inspiration from Lothal, the planet where the rebels operate.  Lothal is apparently the name of a real city in India and one of the characters, Ezra, really reminds me of Aladdin. Coincidence?? I think not. Anyways, a bit of yellow turf, clay mountains and a modified Lego Space Needle, made a cute tablescape that was reminiscent of the real thing.

Star Wars Rebels Party LothalAs always, there was food with punny names.

Star Wars Rebels Party 2 Star Wars Rebels Party 1Inquisitortilla Chips with Dual Dip (Inquisitor Tortilla Chips with Dual Dip)
Star Wars Rebels Party 4 Star Wars Rebels Party 3Sa-Bean Burritos (Sabine Burritos)
Star Wars Rebels Party 522 Pickup-Cakes (22 Pickup Cupcakes)
Star Wars Rebels Party 8 Star Wars Rebels Party 6Chopper Salad
Star Wars Rebels Party 9“Zeb” Orrelios Oreos
Star Wars Rebels Party 11 Star Wars Rebels Party  10TIE Lettuce Wraps
Star Wars Rebels Party 13 Star Wars Rebels Party 12Kanan Lightsaber Kebabs
Star Wars Rebels Party 15 Star Wars Rebels Party 16Jogan Fruit Juice
Star Wars Rebels Party 17Hoth2O (A nod to the original series)
Star Wars Rebels Party 18The Entire Spread

It was really fun hanging out with friends, eating good food and watching the special broadcast of “Spark of Rebellion” with the extended scene. Everyone went home with a goodie bag filled with Star Wars themed candy and a figure. Of course I got the one figure I didn’t want, the imperial commander. Boo.