Tag Archives: favorite

Let’s make Marshmallows!

Marshmallows……this homemade recipe is simple to make and so delicious!  They taste like “sweet little clouds.”

Check out my instructional video on these fun treats.

Homemade Marshmallow Recipe


3 (1/4 oz.) envelopes unflavored gelatin

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

MOP (Method of Preparation):

Pour 3/4 cup cold water into bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle gelatin over water (bloom).  Attach bowl to mixer and fit with whisk attachment.

In a 3-quart saucepan, boil together granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cup water over medium-high heat.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, making sure that the  tip of the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan.  Without stirring the sugar mixture, allow it to reach 235*F.   With mixer on low-speed, pour hot sugar mixture into gelatin in a slow steady stream.

Add vanilla to sugar/gelatin mixture.  Carefully increase mixer speed to high and beat until mixture has thickened and cooled, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Line a 13 x 9″ pan with foil.  Sift  2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar over bottom of pan.  Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared pan.  Dust top with more confectioners’ sugar. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Lift mixture out of the pan, and turn out onto a cutting board.  Remove foil from underside of the marshmallow slab.  Cut marshmallow piece into 3/4″ slices, roll slices in confectioners’ sugar.  Cut strips into 3/4″ cubes.  Roll cubes in more confectioners’ sugar to coat, and separate them to prevent sticking. Shake marshmallows in a strainer to remove excess sugar.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Marshmallows, ingredients and equipment
Marshmallows, ingredients and equipment
Finished marshmallows, ready to eat!
Finished marshmallows, ready to eat!

Marshmallow recipe from Rebecca Rather in “Fine Cooking Cakes and Cupcakes” (Tauton Press, 2014)


More baking science…..sugar!

Sugar, sugar….oh, honey, honey…..(anyone else hear the Archie’s song?) Here’s the link to help you get in the mood.  http://youtu.be/h9nE2spOw_o

Another of our How Baking Works lessons focuses on sweeteners, where we examine different classes of sugars: crystalline, syrups and specialty sweeteners.  Crystalline sugars encompass everything from granulated sugar, to brown sugar and powdered sugar, as well as Demerara, Turbinado and Muscavado.  For syrups, we include corn syrup, glucose, molasses, honey and of course (my favorite!) maple syrup.  Specialty sweeteners comprise a variety of products including high intensity sweeteners (such as Splenda and Stevia), dextrose and isomalt .

Tasting demo of different sweeteners.

Tasting demo of different sweeteners.

And yes, we taste them ALL!  You would be surprised at the different flavors that these sweeteners impart.

Pound cake experiment with varying amounts of sugar.  The 100% cake is the correct one.

Pound cake experiment with varying amounts of sugar. The 100% cake is the correct one.

In addition to identification and tasting, we also conduct a few basic experiments.  One experiment explores the functions of sugar by adjusting the amount of this ingredient in a basic pound cake.  We bake a control pound cake using the correct amount of sugar (100%) and then we bake other pound cakes (the variables) using the following percentages of the correct amount:  0%, 25%, 50%, 150% and 200%.  This experiment proves some of the functions of sugar.  In addition to the obvious function of “sweetening,”  granulated sugar also:  provides tenderness, moistness, aids in leavening and provides color (caramelization).  And yes, we tasted all of these too!

Here's a comparison of cakes made just with Splenda or Stevia, and cakes made with a 50/50 blend of sugar and one of these sweeteners.

Here’s a comparison of cakes made just with Splenda or Stevia, and cakes made with a 50/50 blend of sugar and one of these artificial sweeteners.

For this experiment with “high-intensity” sweeteners.  We made the pound cakes with either Splenda or Stevia, and then with a 50/50 blend of Splenda/granulated sugar or Stevia/granulated sugar.  Our findings here proved that high-intensity (or artificial) sweeteners can only provide “sweetness” to a product.  When used as the sole sugar replacement, none of the other functions existed.  Note:  no color, tenderness, moistness or leavening.  Of course, we tasted them and concluded that the blends were much more appetizing.

Cookies made with no sugar, the correct amount of sugar, and double the amount of sugar.

Cookies made with no sugar, the correct amount of sugar, and double the amount of sugar.

Another experiment explored the functions of sugars in relation to the baking of cookies.  For this project, we made cookies with 0% sugar, 100% sugar (the correct one) and 200% sugar.  You can see here how the amount of sugar affects the caramelization, texture and the spread of the cookie.  Taste?  Yes, you guessed it!  Hmm…..by this time, as you can imagine, we are all pretty tired of sweets!  (Education and learning require perseverance!)

So, did you know that sugar has functions other than sweetening?

A pie story

As a pastry chef at one of our country’s best culinary schools, students often ask me….what’s your favorite dessert?  I have access to the highest quality ingredients, the best equipment and some of the most respected chefs in the industry. This blog will give you a look into my work, and maybe a little glimpse of my life.

Blueberry pie.  The answer to their question includes a story, as good food should.  First, we need to drive a thousand miles to Northern Ontario. Then, on a perfectly sunny day in early July, we take our 60 year old 17′ Alumacraft to the end of Lake McFarlane.  There, up on a rocky knoll, spared from the bears, lies the perfect blueberry patch.  Once everyone has filled their buckets, swatted horse flies and mosquitoes, and avoided sunburn, we cool off in the lake.  Back at the cottage (or “camp”, as Northern Canadians call it), while the boys clean the fresh fish, my daughter and I make the pie.  In a 1947 GE electric oven, baking can be a challenge!  Good pastry, made with Tenderflake lard (yes, lard!), encases our fresh-picked wild blueberries.  We eat our dinner on the picnic table in the yard: smallmouth bass, some quinoa, a salad and…..of course, wild blueberry pie!  Farm to table, at its best.

What’s the story behind your favorite dessert?

Blueberry Pie

Just pie? Really? That’s your favorite dessert??? But….you are a pastry chef!