Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

It is definitely cold and chilly in the Pacific Northwest where I live. I don’t usually get chilled just from cold temperatures. Its the rain plus the cold that shiver me to my core. When its cold and stormy outside, sometimes the one thing that sounds the best is a hot drink. Add a splash of booze and not only do you have a hot delicious drink, you have a hot delicious drink with just the right amount of wow to really make you smile.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

When I was a kid, the only hot chocolate I knew was the powdered pouch where you just add water. Heck – I used to eat that stuff dry! Now, the taste of instant hot chocolate is pretty awful. Now I definitely feel its worth it to invest a few extra minutes and some higher quality ingredients to have a rich homemade cup of hot chocolate. I’m happy to say it tastes nothing like the instant kind and probably packs a lot more calories and fat – so worth it, my friends.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

Homemade rich hot cocoa will put a smile on anyone’s face, but adding that splash (or in my case hefty pour) of coconut rum, and all things become right in the world. Ever eat a Mounds or Almond Joy candy bar?  It tastes like that, only better. When I drank this hot chocolate, I didn’t taste any booze. I only tasted chocolate coconut heaven. If you haven’t tried making your own homemade hot cocoa or adding coconut rum to your drink, you now have something new to try tonight!

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

If you love all things chocolate and naughty, you’ll definitely love one of my most popular recipes – Five Minute Fudge:

five-minute-fudge-ig

And if you love hot chocolate, you should give my Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate a try:

dark-chocolate-vanilla-bean-hot-cocoa-ig

Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa
 
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Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!
Author:
Recipe type: drink
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1-2 ounces coconut rum
  • whipped cream
Instructions
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk and half-and-half until milk is almost to the boiling point. When milk starts to coat the bottom of the pan, you'll know its done.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate and rum. Stir until fully melted.
  3. Top with whipped cream.
Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!
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Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

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These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you’ll ever enjoy!

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

Your quest can finally be over. You have found it. The be all, end all, of cupcakes. Never again will you need to search for a chocolate cupcake recipe, only to be sorely disappointed by the results. The days of resorting to a boxed mix are in the past forevermore.

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

When I say these are the best damn cupcakes you will ever enjoy, I’m not kidding. My husband, who doesn’t like sweets all that much, can’t get enough. My kids, who ask for anything but cake on their birthdays (so strange, I know), think these are the best things that have ever come out of my oven.

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

Think about all the wonderful things you’d want in a chocolate cupcake. Moist? Most certainly. Taste? There’s cocoa, coffee, and sugar in these bad boys. What else could you ask for?  Rise and volume? Yes, and I believe this has to do not only with the mixing directions but also the baking process. There is no other way to describe them than heavenly.

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

As much as I’d like to showcase this cupcake, I’ll tease you for a mere moment with my perfect buttercream frosting. I could stare for hours at those luscious swirls!

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

Just look at all of those lovely little air bubble pockets. Those are what give this cupcake that soft, pillowy, fluffy texture, while at the same time the top leads to the slightest bit of sweet crunch on top. You’re totally starting to salivate, aren’t you?  I just know it!

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
 
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These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 12 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee (or 1/2 cup boiling water + 1 pack starbucks via instant coffee)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Combine hot coffee and cocoa powder. Mix well to dissolve and set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with paddle attachment.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix well to combine.
  6. Add about half of the milk mixture to the flour and mix on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. Combine the chocolate mixture with the remaining milk mixture and add to the batter. Mix with batter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl before turning mixer on.
  8. Distribute batter evenly to the 12 muffin cups. Batter will be very wet.
  9. Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 F without opening the oven door. Continue cooking at lower temperature for an additional 13-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and transfer cupcakes to a cooking rack as soon as they're cool enough to be touched.
  11. Prepare buttercream frosting according to instructions or your other favorite frosting... or just devour it plain!

These Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes, made with cocoa and strong hot coffee, are the most decadent and moist cupcake you'll ever enjoy!
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Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

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Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s’mores will never be the same!

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

Welcome to day 10 of 12!

12 Days of Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I couldn’t NOT make marshmallows, right?  I mean, I made peppermint marshmallows last Christmas and strawberry marshmallows over the summer, so I’ve started my own personal trend and anticipate making at least a couple different kinds of marshmallows each year going forward. It’s kinda my thing now.

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

I never quite know if my marshmallows are going to turn out when I deviate from my original recipe. For example, I pretty much took my original recipe and added melted dark chocolate to the mix for this version. I really wasn’t sure if that would completely ruin these marshmallows by changing the consistency, but I’m beginning to realize that marshmallows are incredibly forgiving. These were absolutely wonderful!

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

Can you imagine how good these would be melted on a graham cracker or floating in a piping hot cup of homemade hot chocolate? I don’t have to imagine it, I’m able to remember it, because I did both!

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

And since I was dipping all sorts of things in chocolate this year, I figured I might as well dip some of these marshmallows in chocolate. Yeah, that was a good decision.

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

If you’re looking for a new treat to make and have never tried making marshmallows, they’re not only fun to make but they’re really fun to eat!

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

Chocolate Marshmallows
 
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Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 100 marshmallows
Ingredients
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used ultra fine baking sugar)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • Nonstick spray
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the gelatin with the ice cold water and give it a swirl to ensure the gelatin doesn't clump. Let sit.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Heat on medium high with the lid on for a few minutes to bring it to a boil. Then, remove the lid and heat on high heat until a candy thermometer reads exactly 240 degrees F. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove it from the heat.
  3. With the whisk attached to the stand mixer, start mixing the gelatin and water on low speed. Slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl. Once all of the hot sugar mixture has been added, turn the speed to high and continue to mix until you get a beautiful white marshmallow mixture that is just warm to the touch, about 8-12 minutes. While this is mixing, melt chocolate in microwave at half power in one minute increments, stirring after each minute. With the mixer still running, add melted chocolate and mix for one more minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine corn starch, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray as well as a rubber spatula. Add about 1/3 of the corn starch blend, then shake the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Use spatula to transfer the marshmallow mixture from the bowl to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Top with half of the remaining corn starch mixture, and spread it across the top to cover. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered 4-10 hours.
  5. Lift the marshmallows out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into desired shapes and then roll each individual marshmallow in remaining corn starch mixture to coat all sticky sides.
  6. Store in air tight container. They can also be frozen, if needed.

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows are downright delicious and quite easy to make. Your hot chocolate and s'mores will never be the same!

To see all of 2014’s holiday treats, click the links below:

2014 Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Five Minute Fudge | Holiday Sugar Cookies | Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Peppermint Chocolate Pie | Hazelnut Lemon Curd Thumbprints | Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Chewy Molasses Sugar Cookies | Easy Petite Palmiers | Triple Threat Peppermint Brownie Bites

Toasted Coconut Cookies | Walnut Spiced Rum Balls | Mexican Chocolate Truffles

To see all of 2015’s holiday treats, click the links below:

Holiday Recipes | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Easy Candy Cane Chocolate Truffles |  Cherry Almond Thumbprints  | Easy Brown Butter Pecan Fudge

Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies  |  Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels  |  Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Lynne’s Cream Wafers  |  Mini Pecan Pie Bites  |  Eggnog Poundcake

Christmas Tree Corn Flake Treats  |  Devil’s Food Crinkles  |  Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

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Challah Bread

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Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

My brother-in-law is Jewish and he and my sister always make fun of me for the what I pronounce Challah. Rightfully so, because I pronounced it as I read it with the “cha”.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

Challah is a special Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and Jewish holidays.  According to Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals (Friday night, Saturday lunch, and Saturday late afternoon) and two holiday meals (one at night and lunch the following day) each begin with two complete loaves of bread. That’s a lot of bread.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

There is something about making homemade bread that I find completely soothing. Much like pressure washing my driveway, its a time consuming but incredibly satisfying task. I tend to make homemade yeast bread, the kind that requires kneading and rising and punching and more rising, when I am most stressed in life and my to-do list shouldn’t allow anything close to homemade bread.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

The truth of the matter is, bread like this really doesn’t take much time from you actively working on it. It does require a lot of time, but most of that is when it rises. Plus, braiding six pieces of dough together is mighty satisfying.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

I had never made challah before and was relatively impressed with myself. A six-piece braid really isn’t all that complicated but you might be able to see that as I got more confident in the braiding process, the braid got a little tighter as I made my way down. I might just try doing this with my daughter’s hair if I can get another pair of hands in there to help.

Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of fresh baked bread, and challah is fantastic when shared around the dinner table, sliced up and served as toast with breakfast, or when made into a french toast casserole. You should definitely try making a loaf this season!

You may also want to try my Baked Challah French Toast – its a fantastic overnight breakfast casserole!Challah is the perfect bread for french toast, and this heavenly Baked Challah French Toast can be made ahead the night before for an easy family breakfast.

Challah Bread
 
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Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: bread
Yields: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1 T (.25 ounce packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl. Swirl gently to dissolve. If a thin frothy layer does not form, your yeast might no longer be active.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together 4 cups of the flour and the salt.
  3. Add the honey, eggs, yolk, and oil and mix with a spoon to form a shaggy dough. Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry and mix until combined.
  4. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. If the dough seems very sticky or does not create a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, add flour a spoonful at a time until it is just in between sticky and dry. Stop kneading the dough when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. My house is always cold so I like to preheat the oven to 200 degrees F, turn it off, and crack the door. I allow the dough to rise in the warm oven. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours depending on how warm the environment is. Punch the dough (this is the best part!).
  6. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. I did this by weighing the dough, dividing by six, and ensuring each piece was roughly the same size. Roll each of the six pieces to equal lengths, 12-15 inches long. They will try to shrink back so give them the occasional pull. Make them a bit smaller on the ends.
  7. To braid the dough, squeeze the ends together on one side. Spread out all six ropes. Always starting from the rope on the far right side, pull it over two strands, under the third, and then over the last two strands. Reposition all of the dough ropes such that you can repeat this pattern, again using the rope that's on the far right hand side. Repeat this weave until the entire loaf has formed and then sqeeze the ends together to seal. Tuck both ends on both sides of loaf underneath. You can either freeze the dough at this point or continue below to cook.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment and transfer the loaf on top. Dust the loaf with a little flour and loosely cover it with plastic wrap or a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and allow it rise until about an hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the remaining egg white with about a tablespoon of water and gently brush the entire surface of the loaf, taking care not to deflate.
  10. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the loaf is deeply browned in color.
  11. Allow the loaf to cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Store in air tight container.
Challah Bread is a delicious yeast enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.
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Layered Pumpkin Cake

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The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

So… I may have gone a little overboard with the pictures on this recipe. I don’t make cakes that often, so when I do I guess I go a little snap happy with my camera. This recipe, in its entirety, was provided by my incredibly talented friend, Mindy, of Decadent Creations. She sells this cake during the fall at the Farmers Markets and its oh-so-amazing.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The cake is the most moist and forgiving pumpkin cake. She tells us to use bread flour in the recipe. I asked her why and she said it holds up best to the moisture from the pumpkin. This cake recipe would be perfect for muffins too. When it really comes down to it, there isn’t much difference between a really good muffin and a cupcake, don’tcha think?

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The final cooked cake was so easy to work with. I used a large serrated edge knife to cut each layer in half creating four thin layers. I love thin multi-layered cakes because they’re not only pretty, but you’re guaranteed to get cake, ganache, and frosting in each bite when its prepared like this. I’m the kind of eater that has to have a bit of everything on my fork with every bite, so this makes me extremely happy.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The ganache spreads beautifully when its just the right temperature. You want it to be smooth enough to spread but not so hot that it sinks into or off of the cake. The buttercream is incredibly light and fluffy and smooths out perfectly over each ganache and cake layer.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

I decided to put a thin layer of frosting on the outside to give it a nice crumb coat. The beauty of buttercream is that there is so much darn butter in it, that when you refrigerate it, everything gets rock hard. Then, when I was ready to spread the final layer of buttercream on the cake, I just allowed the extra frosting to sit out at room temperature until it was spreadable before removing the cake from the oven.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Aren’t those little marzipan pumpkins the cutest! They only took me a few minutes to make and made the final cake so darn purdy!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

If you ask me, a good cream cheese frosting can’t be beat. This buttercream, especially with the hazelnut butter added for texture and taste, are an incredible addition to this cake.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Another shot of the little pumpkins below simply because I love them.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

I brought this monster cake into work. One of the ways my co-workers described it was “I thought it was going to be really sweet but all the layers really balanced all the flavors and sweetness out.”  I couldn’t agree more, Scott!  See, when you add booze to chocolate, it reduces the sweetness just the right amount.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Don’t let all the steps to the recipe fool you. This cake really is super easy to make.  The buttercream may seem intimidating, but as long as you have a thermometer to get the melted sugar to the right temperature, its actually tons of fun to watch it to come together. Chocolate ganache only takes a few minutes to make. The smiles you will get from the people who enjoy this cake will make it all worth it.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Sheesh, how many pictures did I take?

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

There we go. Last picture!  Now, what are you waiting for?  Go make the cake!!!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Layered Pumpkin Cake
 
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The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 16 servings
Ingredients
cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • one 15 oz. Can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
hazelnut buttercream:
drunken ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. Dark chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 3 Tablespoons good rum (we prefer Myer's Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
marzipan pumpkins:
  • 5 ounces marzipan
  • 2-4 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2-4 drops red food coloring
  • 7 whole cloves
Instructions
To make the cake batter:
  1. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, salt, and spices) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on speed 1.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until combines, scraping the bowl to ensure a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between two 9 inch pans lined with pan spray and parchment. Bake 28-35 minutes at 350F. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out cleanly when poked in the center of the cake. Allow time to fully cool on a cooling rack.
To make the frosting:
  1. Follow directions for my Perfect Buttercream frosting. Once done, fold in hazelnut butter.
To make the ganache:
  1. Cald the cream in a small saucepan or microwave. Pour over combined chocolate and corn syrup, stir with a whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Stir in rum and cinnamon, allow the mixture to set in a shallow pan or plate at room temperature before using (at least 30 minutes). If the mixture sets to a point where it's no longer spreadable, simply microwave it and stir it for very small intervals (5 seconds at time in the microwave).
Assemble the cake:
  1. Cut each round into two thin layers, if desired. Divide the rum ganache in three portions and spread evenly to the tops of three of the four layers of cake. Plop about 3/4 cup of the hazelnut frosting on top of each spread ganache layer, and spread evenly as well. Stack all four layers of the cake, the one that has no ganache or hazelnut frosting will be the top layer. Spread the remaining hazelnut frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, you can do a very thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate, then add remaining frosting to avoid crumbs in your top layer. !To make the marzipan pumpkins:
  2. Add the food coloring to the marzipan and mix well with hands like it was play dough until all of the color is even. Divide the dough into 9 equal sized portions. Use hands to roll each portion into a ball and then use butter knife to indent grooves down the side to make it look like a pumpkin. Insert a whole clove into the top for the stem. Top cake with marzipan pumpkins.

Layered Pumpkin Cake | Self Proclaimed Foodie
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Homemade Potato Buns

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If you love making bread, you’ll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.

If you love making bread, you'll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.Do you ever get so stressed out that you feel completely frozen?  On the day I made these buns, I was feeling this way. I was completely overwhelmed with life and work that I felt paralyzed. Usually, the only remedy when I feel this way is to drop everything and clean. That’s right. For whatever reason, its my brain’s insane way of gaining control back. I think it has something to do with feeling accomplished. Needless to say, my husband kinda likes it when I hit that point. But for whatever reason, on this particular day I was feeling so overwhelmed that I made buns. Say what?

If you love making bread, you'll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.

Yep. I made homemade buns instead of actually doing something that was on my must-do-or-I’m-gonna-get-fired list. Making buns isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming because you have to let the dough rise not once, but twice. Potato buns are especially a good idea when you already have leftover mashed potatoes in your refrigerator but did I? Of course not. My paralyzed brain thought it was a good idea to not only make homemade buns, but buns that required cooked potato, so that’s what I did. Only, I was so stressed out that I forgot the first batch of potato was cooking, all the water evaporated, and they were horribly burnt. Did that stop me? Nope. I got that pot soaking and threw more potatoes in a pot of water to steam on the stove. I’m certifiably crazy like that.

If you love making bread, you'll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.

Wanna know something? They turned out so good. Like crazy good. I have the hardest time finding buns that I like at the store. These were not only flavorful, but the texture couldn’t be beat. They held up perfectly against my stuffed bacon jalapeno cheddar burgers and the entire family loved them. The best part? For whatever reason, the bun making process reset my brain and I was able to function once again after they were done baking. Success.

Why bother with toppings that slide right off your burger when the ultimate experience is these delicious grilled Stuffed Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers.

Homemade Potato buns
 
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If you love making bread, you'll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.
Author:
Recipe type: bread, buns
Yields: 18 buns
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized potato (to make 1 cup mashed potato)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm potato water
  • 1 packet (about 1 tablespoon) instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (one cube) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Wash potato and cut into large chunks. Cover with and boil in saucepan until potato is very tender, about 20 minutes. Save 1/2 cup of the potato water before draining. Drain potatoes, remove skin, and mash. Measure out 1 cup of the mashed potato.
  2. Allow the potato water to cool to a lukewarm temperature. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar (saving the other tablespoon for later) and dissolve yeast in warm potato water. Allow to sit and foam, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl your stand mixer using your paddle attachment, mix together the mashed potatoes, butter, eggs, remaining sugar, and salt. Mix together on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  4. To warm milk, heat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or gently heat on stove over low heat. Combine with yeast mixture and stir. Add the yeast and milk mixture to the potato mixture. Mix on low speed until blended.
  5. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix until a very soft dough forms. Change the paddle attachment out with the dough hook and knead on medium low speed for about five minutes. You want the dough to form a soft ball and pull away from the bowl. If it doesn't, add very small amounts of flour until it does.
  6. Transfer bowl to a very large oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until it doubles in size, at least a couple hours.
  7. Once risen, punch down dough. Turn out on surface with lots of flour. To make buns, measure out pieces of dough that are about 3.5 - 4 ounces in size. Form ball by tucking ends underneath. Place buns on a large jelly roll pan (I love to use mine with the silpat to prevent sticking or you can use parchment paper) about 1-2 inches apart. If using a large jelly roll pan, place them in a 4-3-4 pattern. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Remove plastic wrap and bake in 350 degree F preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Can be stored in airtight container in freezer once cooled.

If you love making bread, you'll never want to buy store bought buns or rolls again after making these super soft and perfectly fluffy Homemade Potato Buns.
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Aloha Granola

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This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.Our family loves granola, and nothing quite beats homemade granola. This tropical inspired granola, however, was the best granola I have ever had. I kid you not. I couldn’t stay away from it.

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.

If you’ve ever purchased macadamia nuts or dried mango, especially organic dried mango, you’ll know its not cheap. I’m not gonna lie – once all is said and done this granola is pretty spendy. But once you make it, you’ll agree its worth the price. But here’s a tip for you: watch it VERY carefully while its baking. Your granola will go from perfectly from golden brown to burnt in a matter of minutes. How do I know this? Because I ruined my first batch. I thought I could salvage it but unfortunately, I’m accountable for good looking photos and burnt macadamia nuts don’t really look all that appetizing. Go figure. But, I will say this – ruining the first batch allowed me to make some tweaks in the recipe and I thought the second batch and the recipe you see below turned out a million times better, so it may have been worth it!

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.

As you can see, I used all Trader Joe’s ingredients. I’m sure you can find all of these ingredients at other grocery stores, but my TJ’s had everything I needed.

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.

Including the coconut yogurt I ate with my aloha granola. That combination was out of this world. So delicious!

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.

 

Aloha Granola
 
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This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast, snack
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (i.e. pineapple, mango, etc.)
  • 2 cups banana chips, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix oats, nuts, and coconut in large bowl. Melt coconut oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan, stirring until well combined. Pour over oat mixture. Mix thoroughly and spread evenly on a jelly roll pan.
  2. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir and then bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Do not allow to burn!
  3. Cool completely, then stir in dried fruits and banana chips.

This homemade and easy to make Aloha Granola is made with delicious tropical ingredients like macadamia nuts and dried pineapple, mango, coconut and banana.
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Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream

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When you’re looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-creamWell, I thought I was done posting strawberry recipes for the season. I went a little strawberry-crazy there for awhile, but I just cannot help myself. How could I not make some classic homemade strawberry ice cream? I mean, next to chocolate and vanilla, strawberry is one of those basic must-have must-make summer flavors.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-ingredientsThere are certainly easy ways to cheat at making ice cream that don’t require cooking or eggs, but when it comes to ice cream – I really do have a hard time not making it properly. Its really not that difficult, and once I got over the fear of curdling my eggs with hot cream, I realized the process was super simple.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-baseHomemade old fashioned ice cream basically consists of an egg yolk and sugar base combined with a hot cream mixture.  Add in a few wonderful extras like some ruby red summer produce and a vanilla bean and you turn something basic (yet still wonderful) into something extraordinary.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-panIf you don’t already have an ice cream maker, I highly recommend getting one. Its has been worth every penny in our house. I usually like to freeze the base container in my deep freezer as opposed to the house freezer because it gets that much colder.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-scoop

The result?  The most creamy, perfectly sweet, classic ice cream flavor.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-sideNow, I have to know… are you a dish or a cone person?  I, myself, am both. When I order ice cream I have them serve it up in a dish with the cone on top. That way I won’t spill a drop plus I won’t miss out on a sweet cookie cone. Enjoy!

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-close

This recipe uses vanilla beans. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream
 
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When you're looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups strawberries, stems removed, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Instructions
  1. Combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a bowl. Toss until the ingredients are well incorporated and allow to macerate in the refrigerator for several hours to let the natural juice of the strawberry come out.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Add granulated and brown sugars as well as salt and whisk together until lightened in color and smooth.
  3. Pour the half and half, the heavy cream, and the vanilla bean into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally while pressing onto the vanilla beans to extract the flavor and the seeds, and then remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Use a ladle to transfer one spoonful at a time of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture while whisking the entire time. Your goal is to slowly mix in the hot mixture to temper the eggs but not to cook them. Continue to slowly add the hot cream while whisking until all of it has been thoroughly combined.
  5. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. For me, this was more of a gut feel thing to know when it was ready, but you can definitely tell when the mixture has thickened. Do not let it get to the point where the eggs begin to cook. You should be able to touch the mixture with your finger without burning it.
  6. Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  8. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a bowl and set over another large bowl filled with ice water. Stir to cool the mixture down. You want the custard to be ice cold before churning.
  9. Stir the chilled strawberry mixture into the custard.
  10. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. I was able to process the entire batch at once in my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Freeze for a couple of hours to allow the ice cream to harden. Then scoop and enjoy.
When you're looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.
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Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

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This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

This post was made possible by Mezzetta, but all opinions are my own.

I’m not gonna lie – this recipe was good. Like, really good. As in, I just made it and I already can’t wait to make it again.

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

The foundation of this recipe is Mezzetta peppers. I used both the Deli-Sliced Tamed Jalapeno Peppers as well as the Roasted Bell Peppers. Mezzetta truly is one of my favorite brands and I’ve loved every single one of their products that I’ve tried, from their pasta sauce to their olives to these peppers. Those roasted red peppers are darn near perfect – they have the perfect amount of charred roasted flavor and also have the perfect ratio of tasty oil marinate to tender flavorful peppers. They are the best I’ve ever had!

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

This recipe has two components – the roasted shrimp and the homemade aioli. So many aioli recipes have you combine ingredients with already made mayonnaise. I much prefer to make it myself. The components of a homemade aioli are egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, and oil. I added some of the Mezzetta Jalapenos and even more of the Roasted Red Peppers and it created the most flavorful and delicious aioli. Keep in mind that this recipe makes quite a bit of aioli – much more than you need for the shrimp. That is a very good thing, however. We’ve been using it as a spread on our sandwiches and my-oh-my does it provide an insane amount of flavor. YUM!

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

For the shrimp, I used a recipe idea I found from the Mezzetta website. They recommended to use the brine from the red peppers, along with some fresh rosemary and garlic, to marinate the shrimp. This, alone, was a fantastic recipe. The shrimp had the perfect amount of flavor to eat on their own or on top of something like a salad. The rosemary made them especially visually pleasing.

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

Shrimp is so darn easy to cook. I highly recommend this recipe to serve for dinner, perfect for enjoying while dining al fresco, or as an appetizer. Either way, I guarantee people will love them and will be begging you for the recipe!

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
 
Prep time
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This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish, appetizer
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
Aioli:
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Mezzetta® Roasted Bell Pepper, drained and chopped (Reserve brine for marinade)
  • 1 tablespoon Mezzetta® Deli Sliced Tamed Jalapeno Peppers
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Grilled shrimp:
  • 1 pound large shrimp, washed, deveined, tails left on
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • roasted red bell pepper brine
Instructions
  1. Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, roasted red peppers, and jalapenos and process until well combined. Scrape the sides.
  3. While the machine is still running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until it is completely incorporated and the mixture is thickened.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.

This red pepper marinated Grilled Shrimp with this scratch made Roasted Red Pepper Aioli makes the perfect flavorful summer appetizer or dinner.

 

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Strawberry Marshmallows

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Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!These will blow your mind. I’m not kidding. If you love marshmallows, heck – if you even just like these, you will be shocked at what a delicious treat these strawberry marshmallows really are.

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!I made marshmallows the first time when I was preparing my Christmas treats. Every year I make a huge variety of bite sized goodies that I package up and send to family. In addition to my time honored five minute fudge and chewy molasses cookies, I made peppermint marshmallows for the first time. The art of making candy, rather the act of boiling sugar, has always terrified me. I got terribly burns when I was younger when trying to glue pieces of a homemade gingerbread house together using boiled sugar. Well, I’m so happy I overcame my fear that year to make those holiday marshmallows because not only was the finished product amazingly delicious, but they were actually rather fun to make!

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!

I have bought countless pints of fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market already this year and despite our best efforts to eat as many as we can, I always buy more than we can possibly eat on our own and then have to incorporate them into a recipe or two. If you’ve been following my blog lately, you’ll know it has been saturated with strawberry recipes. I had the sweetest, most luscious, ruby red Hood strawberries and didn’t know what to do with them. They’re so sweet and juicy that they’re not the best for baking. My friend, how happens to be one of the most talented bakers I’ve ever met, told me to make strawberry marshmallows. My initial reaction was “say what???”. I had no idea such a thing was possible. She told me just to bloom the gelatin in strawberry puree instead of water. She told me I could also add a bit of beet food coloring and strawberry extract to bump up the color and flavor, but I had neither.

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!Instead, I just altered my peppermint marshmallow recipe by reducing the amount because I wasn’t giving these away as gifts (but in hindsight I’m wishing I had made more because they’re so dang good) and swapping out some of the ingredients. The entire time I really wasn’t sure they would turn out… but they did!  Amazingly so, at that. I topped my finished marshmallows with freeze dried strawberries for extra crunch and flavor. Oh my. And guess what? I hid them from my kids after they got their original sampling and will surprise them when I break them out for the s’mores feasting during our camping adventure next week. If I happen to get a photo of the strawberry s’more, I’ll be sure to come back and post an update!

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry Marshmallows
 
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Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 36 marshmallows
Ingredients
  • 2 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Nonstick spray
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • optional: freeze dried strawberries
Instructions
  1. To make the strawberry puree, wash and hull your strawberries and then blend on low speed until a smooth puree forms.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the gelatin with the strawberry puree and give it a swirl to ensure the gelatin doesn't clump. Let sit.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Heat on medium high with the lid on for a few minutes to bring it to a boil. Then, remove the lid and heat on high heat until a candy thermometer reads exactly 240 degrees F. This can take 4-8 minutes. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove it from the heat.*
  4. With the whisk attached to the stand mixer, start mixing the gelatin and water on low speed. Slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl. Once all of the hot sugar mixture has been added, turn the speed to high and continue to mix until you get a beautiful pale pink marshmallow mixture that is just warm to the touch, about 13-14 minutes.
  5. While you're mixing the marshmallow, combine corn starch and powdered sugar in a separate bowl. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray as well as a rubber spatula. You can line your dish with foil ahead of time, if you wish, and then spray the foil. Add about 1/3 of the sugar and corn starch blend, then shake the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Use the spatula to transfer the marshmallow mixture from the bowl to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Top with half of the remaining sugar and corn starch mixture, and spread it across the top to cover. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered 4-10 hours (I let mine sit overnight).
  6. Lift the marshmallows out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into desired shapes and then roll each individual marshmallow in remaining sugar and corn starch mixture to coat all sticky sides.
  7. If using freeze dried strawberries, cut a small opening on the top of each marshmallow and press a strawberry piece inside.
  8. Store in air tight container. They can also be frozen, if needed.
Notes
* I don't have a candy thermometer (yet), so I used my digital meat thermometer and it worked perfectly.

Homemade marshmallows are a real treat, and these Strawberry Marshmallows made with fresh strawberry puree take them to a whole new level!
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