Peeps! You can make them yourself, then float them in your hot chocolate! Yes, I do lie awake at night thinking about this stuff. Some girls think of George Clooney – I’m counting Peeps.
It’s just marshmallow goo, spooned into a zip-lock bag and squeezed out through one corner. Easy. In fact, once you have the bagful of creamy marshmallow (made with plain gelatin simmered into hot syrup with sugar and water, whipped with corn syrup until it has the same consistency as meringue) you could squeeze it out into letters, numbers or any shape you like. You could, I imagine, toss them about in finely ground coloured sugar while they’re still tacky to complete the Peeps effect, but I love the way they resemble whipped cream as they melt on top of hot chocolate. You can flavour them with vanilla or peppermint or coconut or cinnamon or anything else you think would go well with chocolate. (And if you want to go dairy-free, use coconut milk in your mug.)
Sure you can always pick up a bag, but marshmallows are fun to make yourself, can be flavoured any number of ways – try adding peppermint or coconut extract – and are far more delicious than the packaged kind by virtue of being homemade. Bonus: you can shape your mallows into letters or shapes by spooning the mixture into a zip-lock bag and piping it out.
3 pkg. (3 Tbsp.) plain gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla, mint or coconut extract
icing sugar, for dusting
In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup water. In a medium pot, combine the sugar and another 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer; add the softened gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved and hot to the touch.
Pour into a large bowl (if you have a stand mixer, use it with the whip attachment), add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat on high (if you like, drape a kitchen towel overtop at first to catch splatters) for about 10 minutes, until the mixture cools and increases in volume until it has the consistency of meringue – billowy and white, and forms soft peaks.
Pour into a 9”x13” pan lined with parchment or foil and dusted generously with icing sugar, or spoon into a large (or small) zip-lock bag, snip a large piece off one corner and pipe shapes, letters, swirls or Peeps onto a piece of parchment or silicone mat or an icing sugar dusted sheet. Let cool until completely set and if you need to, cut into squares using a sharp knife sprayed with nonstick spray. Makes lots.
I also, since they’re in the picture and all, need to share with you my favourite oatmeal cookie recipe. They’re made with half canola oil and not a ton of brown sugar, and yet they’re as sweet as I’d ever want them to be, with a great texture. I made them this spring in Tofino – this time I added a handful of coconut, too.
Dad’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
a good shake of cinnamon
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/3 cup coconut (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl beat the butter, oil, brown sugar and cinnamon until creamy; beat in the egg ad vanilla.
Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add the raisins or other dried fruit and stir just until blended. Drop large blobs on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until set around the edges but still soft in the middle.
Makes 1 – 1/2-2 dozen cookies.
Of course now that I’ve given up on the whole Free Stuff Fridays actually being on Friday, I arranged for a kick-ass prize today. So just a heads up: you may want to click on the free stuff tab up there – this one has a $750 price tag!