squishy ghost marshmallows

Dear Danielle,

We did it, we found a picture book and food project to collaborate on! I’m so excited we got a match, this really is the perfect fit with the both of us being fans of Rebecca Green and her debut book, How to Make Friends with a Ghost.

Rebecca’s ghost is so heart-achingly cute and you just want to eat it. And now I’ve made it possible. These homemade marshmallows are soft and delicate, but still firm enough for making s’mores or toasting for that lovely burnt flavor.

Dare I say they’re a bit tastier than store-bought ones? My ultimate taste-tester was my husband who loves marshmallows. Trust me when I say he does not give my cooking any bias, so when he said these were better than the ones from the grocery store, I was surprisingly shocked (and feeling pretty rosy inside).

Vanilla Marshmallows
Makes enough to fill an 8 x 12 x 2 inch baking pan

½ cup water
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
Unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup golden corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Icing sugar

  1. Using the bowl from your stand mixer, pour in the water and gelatin. Let it sit so that the gelatin can bloom.
  2. Brush the melted butter onto the base and side of your baking pan. Set it aside.
  3. Add the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the other half cup of water into a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring it to a rolling boil and let it boil for about a minute. Then remove it from the heat.
  4. Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and turn it on low to mix the water and gelatin that’s already in the bowl until it combines. Then very slowly and carefully, add the hot sugar and corn syrup mixture into the bowl.
  5. Still mixing on low, add the vanilla extract.
  6. When everything is in the bowl, turn the mixer to high and whisk for 10 minutes until the batter turns white and triples in size.
  7. Stop the mixer, using a spatula, scrape the marshmallow batter into the baking pan. Spread the batter evenly and do your best to level it. A bench scraper or off-set spatula can help.
  8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, be sure not to touch the batter otherwise it’ll stick. Or use a lid if your baking pan comes with one. Leave the marshmallow to set at room temperature overnight or in the fridge.
  9. The next day, take the foil off and sprinkle icing sugar over the top. Cover the surface evenly so that it won’t be too sticky to handle. Run a knife along the edge of the pan to help loosen the marshmallow slab. Then carefully flip the marshmallow out onto a counter. Sprinkle icing sugar all over the marshmallow – don’t forget the sides.
  10. Use a knife to cut them into squares or roll a cookie cutter in icing sugar before using it on the marshmallow.

Ghost Marshmallows

You’re going to get icing sugar everywhere. But if you have a large baking sheet, it’s best to try to contain everything there. No promises of course, I still got sugar on the table, floor, and on my apron.

Ghost Marshmallows

Use your hands to pat the marshmallow down with icing sugar, it will make it so much easier to work with. This large slab felt like a really nice pillow for sugar fairies to sleep on.

Ghost Marshmallows

If you have a tulip cookie cutter, upside-down, it looks like Rebecca’s ghost. I tried to get one, but a few of the local shops weren’t carrying it. I ended up using my Totoro cookie cutter. I just had to snip the ears off using kitchen shears.

Ghost Marshmallows

So excited for how chubby these ghosts are going to turn out.

Ghost Marshmallows

Using black and red edible markers, I drew on the faces and blush. They actually bleed a lot, so try to use a very fine tip or gently draw the faces on and wait for the lines to thicken.

Ghost Marshmallows

One trick if you don’t want a solid red blush, I dipped the edible marker in icing sugar first so that the tip would be speckled. Then I gently tapped it onto the ghost’s cheek.

Ghost Marshmallows

You can sort of see the slight bump where Totoro’s arms/hands would be, but they work as Rebecca’s ghost has a similar look.

Ghost Marshmallows

“If you’re a person who is sweet, warm and kind, a ghost may come out and find you.”

Ghost Marshmallows

These little ghosts are pretty darn cute when wrapped up as gifts! If only I had some graham crackers on hand . . .

Play the video to see how soft and squishy the ghost marshmallow is!

Sincerely,
Syl

*Disclaimer: I work at Tundra Books and sent Danielle a copy of How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green for review consideration. All the while, Danielle and I were looking for a side project to collaborate with during the past couple months and it just so happened that I am the publicist for this title.

cinnamon waffles

Dear Alison, Catherine, Charidy, Kathryn, Kathy, Liz, Liza, Lynne, Pamela, Peter, Samantha, Sue, Tara, and Vikki,

I cannot thank you enough for my waffle maker!

Some of you know that I used my bridal shower gift for it, but what you didn’t know was that it was actually a huge group effort (yo, waffle makers are pricey). It was only with the generosity from past and present colleagues that I was able to pick up this awesome makes-four-at-a-time waffle maker! I received a lot of great kitchen appliances from my wedding, but I probably use this one the most – almost on a weekly basis. Some of you have even seen me munching away on a waffle at my desk. They make for a great grab-and-go breakfast item.

This is the recipe I use that lasts me all week. It’s versatile and pairs well with maple syrup or fruits. AND, it’s technically a pancake recipe (waffles are pancakes with abs) from one of my favourite NYC brunch places, Clinton Street Baking Company.

Cinnamon Waffles
(Makes about 16 to 18 waffles)

6 large eggs, separated
3 cups whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder

  1. I know this looks fussy and complicated, but it’s not that bad! Ideally you’d have two mixing bowls to separate the egg yolks and egg white, but if you only have one, use the egg whites in the one for the stand mixer so you don’t have to do the whisking. Once separated, you can turn on your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on low for a bit and then medium to get the egg whites started.
  2. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk that together until combined.
  3. Next, add in the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until it comes together, but not smooth. You don’t want to over mix the batter – that will make your waffles really tough. Clumps are ok! You know why?
  4. Because the next step is to check on your egg whites. They should be fluffy clouds by now. You don’t want it shiny (like when you make meringue), but soft peaks. Add that into the batter and fold it in (see more mixing, so the earlier clumps will be smoothed out).
  5. Preheat your waffle maker while you’re folding in the soft peaks into the batter. When your waffle iron is ready, ladle the batter in, close the lid, and wait patiently for the the waffle maker to beep!

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Weekends are for waffles? Well . . . weekdays are for waffles too!

Oh if you’re what waffle maker I got, it’s the Breville Smart Waffle. I read a lot of reviews and it came down to the Breville and the All-Clad version. The sales person at the store told me that she owned the All-Clad one and recommended it highly. I wanted the waffle iron to make four at a time (to cut down on waiting time when I’m hungry in the morning), but it was the two slice All-Clad that mainly received the praise, not the four slice. Wait, are waffles called slices?

That was the deciding factor for the Breville Smart Waffle and I couldn’t be happier. It’s truly nonstick, I haven’t had to use any oil on the irons (in fact, the instruction manual says not to). The waffles release super easy when they’re done. The moat around helps catch any overflow (which has happened when I pour too much batter in). But I haven’t even had to fiddle with the settings because the machine just magically knows how long to cook the waffles for. And you can adjust the dials for something lighter or a bit more darker. I love how thick and fluffy the waffles turn out! The deeper the irons, the better. I knew I didn’t want one that creates thin ones that are akin to frozen waffles. This waffle maker is basically perfect for my sweet tooth and creates the right amount of thickness for savoury dishes too (chicken and waffles!).

Sincerely,
Syl