Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday "food" gifts

I always find myself intrigued with "gifts in a jar." So much so, that I picked up this instructional/cook book called Jazzy Jars : Glorious Gift Ideas by Marie Browning last year. I actually used some soup recipes in conjuction with other gifts, and it seemed to be a big hit.

This year, I would like to do a cocoa mix and maybe some homemade marshmellows that I saw Tyler Florence (Food Network) whip up while I was changing channels. My mother incidently gave me a whole slew of canning jars while I was at her house the other day - - so I am pretty much all set for this little project. I think it is so nice when you take the time to hand make something for someone!

Oh! And, if you need some help in creating a little label for your food gift - let www.landolakes.com help you out. FREE gift giving labels! You know I will be printing up some of those ditties!

HOT COCOA MIX (with instructions)

3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Take the bittersweet chocolate and roughly chop it up to give a chunky but consistant size. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then store in a dry airtight container. (Such as a canning jar)

Instructions to include: To make hot chocolate, simply add 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix. Heat in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat until hot, but do not boil, approximately 6-7 minutes. Serve with marshmellows!

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

1/4 cup powdered gelatin
1 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting pan and marshmallows

In a medium sized saucepan, soak the gelatin in the water. After the gelatin has softened, approximately 10 minutes, add the regular sugar and then gently dissolve over low heat, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold in the sifted confectioner's sugar. While the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed and beat until white and thick. The volume should double in size.

Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with high sides, with foil, greased slightly with butter. Coat with confectioner's sugar. Pour mixture in and top with more sifted confectioner's sugar. Leave out overnight or for at least 3 hours to set. The marshmallow should be light and spongy when set.

Loosen marshmallow from edges of tray and invert onto a large cutting board. Peel off foil and use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into cubes. Dredge each piece in confectioner's sugar.

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