Showing posts with label honey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label honey. Show all posts

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honey Marshmallow Peeps

I was supposed to be bringing you jelly beans for Easter this week. Unfortunately the jelly bean molds that I ordered a month ago haven't yet arrived. I thought giving Amazon a full month to deliver my order would be enough. Apparently I was wrong...

In order to keep up the holiday cheer and bring you all something sweet and Easter related, I picked up another mold at my local craft store. Instead of jelly beans, today we are making Peeps!!!


I've seen several recipes for homemade peeps around the internet. A bunch of people even being patient enough to hand pipe their peeps (just like how they were made at the Just Born factory in the beginning!). I gave hand piping a try...


It didn't work out. I fairly certain that the marshmallow recipe I used wasn't the right one for this particular method. The high amount of corn syrup in the marshmallow syrup lead to a softer final product. While the marshmallow batter wasn't appropriate for hand piping, it was perfect for filling molds!



Two molds, three jars of sprinkles, a box of sugar eyes and a few hours later, my own peeps were born.


And they are so adorable!


The honey flavor in this recipe is fairly mild and is seems to mellow as the peeps age.

Two Years Ago: Momofuku Confetti Cookies
Three Years Ago: Tarragon Chicken and Pesto Potatoes
Four Years Ago: Mango Lime Muffins

Vanilla-Honey Marshmallow Peeps
From Chocolates and Confections

I chose to go with the classic pink, yellow and blue colors, rather than going too crazy with orange or silver. I also used black sugar pearls instead of piping on chocolate eyes. The store bought peeps actually have eyes that are made out of carnuba, an edible wax. Rather than locating some wax and ruining my pans, I thought the sugar pearls were a good alternative!

3 tablespoons powdered gelatin (3 Knox envelopes)
1/2 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup (light not lite)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Variety of colored sprinkles
Small black sugar beads

Lightly spray 2 Wilton Peep molds with cooking spray. Wipe out some of the oil with a paper towel.

Whisk gelatin into cold water and set aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey and water in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and clip on a candy thermometer. Allow the sugar syrup to boil undisturbed until it reaches 250 °F.

When syrup reaches 250 °F, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until the temperature drops to 210 °F.  While the sugar cools, melt the gelatin in a hot water bath (or the microwave). Pour melted gelatin into the sugar syrup and start whipping on high with the whisk attachment.  Whip marshmallow batter for about 6 minutes, until white and fluffy. Add vanilla and whip to incorporate.

Transfer half of the mixture to a large piping bag, fit with a 1-cm round tip. Fill the peep and bunny molds to the top with marshmallow batter. Sprinkle the exposed bottoms of the marshmallows with different colors of sprinkles. Allow marshmallow to set for 3 hours.

Pop marshmallows out of the molds. Add sugar eyes. Coat marshmallows in colored sprinkles and let set for 1-2 hours before serving.

** Alternatively to using the peep molds, you can pour the marshmallow batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Stamp out marshmallows with these peep cookie cutters.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why Bother? 2012 - Spreadable Flavored Cheese

What a year it has been!  Okay, a year and a month really.  We've finally come to the last week of my year of homemade challenges.  Today I present to you, flavored spreadable cheeses!  This was a fun challenge, I wish I took more pictures during the process of the cheese making.

Boyfriend was perplexed when he opened the fridge and found this.
There were a few ways that I could have gone with the generic term "flavored spreadable cheeses."  Would I make a cracker cheese?  A bagel cheese?  A sandwich cheese?  There are so many soft cheese options!  After reading about cream cheese, queso fresco and other artisan cheeses, I decided to go with a Neufchatel cheese.  This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't need to order and special starters off the Internet.  All you need to prepare Neufchatel is milk, buttermilk and rennet!
I have really grown to love making cheese.  It's a science experiment in your kitchen!  Don't worry though, it isn't an experiment that requires a lot of science know-how.  You just have to heat, stir and wait!  Seriously, the rennet and buttermilk do all of the hard work.  You just have to be patient enough and wait for the cheese to be formed.  I checked on my milk three times before it was actually cheese, it took about 18 hours to reach the desired state.  Cheese making requires a lot of patience.


Science experiment aside, this challenge was seriously fun.  After the buttermilk and rennet formed cheese curds in my milk, I cut the solid slab of curd into 1/2-inch cubes.  Then I shook the pot that the cheese was in.  Rather than the fluid motion of the milk that was in there a day before, there was a geometric pulse of cubes of cheese.  I'm going to have to make more cheese so I can video this weird phenomenon.

After collecting and draining the cheese curds, I was left with a smooth, creamy, white cheese.  Giving it a little taste test, the cheese didn't really remind me of cream cheese.  I didn't go with a cream cheese recipe because it required a mesophilic starter (special bacteria culture), that gives cream cheese its distinctive flavor.  This neufchatel that I had made tasted more like a very strong yogurt.


I totally should have scheduled this challenge for right before or after my bagel challenge (which was just about a year ago now!).  Instead, boyfriend and I headed to our local bagel shop and picked up a half dozen.  We feasted on bagels and neufchatel Sunday morning and hid away from the cold cold temperatures here in New Jersey. 

We weren't just having plain farmers cheese (another name for neufchatel) with our bagels.  Oh no, I divided the cheese into two bowls and flavored them in opposite manners.  One bowl became a sweet treat, with cinnamon and honey.  The second bowl I made into a savory spread with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.  I enjoyed the cinnamon and honey cheese on my whole wheat bagel.  The sun-dried tomato and basil is destined for my turkey sandwiches for lunch this week!


Is it worth it to make your own cheese at home?  Well, I enjoyed this so much for the process of making cheese.  The end product was delicious and it was great to be able to pick my own flavors.  The neufchatel that I made was done with whole milk, though you can definitely make this was a lower fat milk if you want to make a lighter cheese.  I liked the sweet cheese because I was able to control the amount of sweetener in the final product, most sweet cream cheese is full of grams of sugar.

Will making your own bagel topping save you money?  Not a whole lot.  An 8-ounce tub of flavored cream cheese is $2.29 at my local store (about 28 cents per ounce).  This cheese recipe was prepared with 1 gallon of milk ($3.99), 1/4 cup buttermilk (~ $0.25) and 1/4 tablet rennet (~$0.06).  The recipe made 30 ounces of cheese, making it about 14 cents per ounce.  It's about two flavors for the price of one!


I hope that you enjoyed this Why Bother 2012 challenge.  I really had fun making some unusual things in my own kitchen.  Some things I won't be making again (say yes to store bought coconut milk!).  Some recipes were eye-opening (you can make your own organic Greek yogurt!).  A few challenges I've even incorporated into my everyday routine (You know I'm having homemade walnut butter on my waffles every morning!).

Challenge yourself and make something crazy at home!  At some point, everything was homemade (well, except cheese puffs!), you can bring the factory into your kitchen and make everything in a more healthy and economic manner.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grilled Chicken & Potatoes

I'm back from Chicago and back to work.  For some reason I decided that I didn't need to change the time on my watch while I was away.  People kept suggesting that I could easily change the time (with a simple turn of the knob!) and just change it back when I returned.  I told them not to be silly.  My phone acts as my real clock, my watch acts as the minute hand.


Think about it.  How often do you find yourself not knowing approximately what time it is?  Almost never.  Usually only in the middle of the night, when you are thrown awake from a dream, having no idea where you are and what time it is.  Well, maybe that was just me this week, sleeping in my big hotel room bed.


By keeping my wristwatch on east coast time, I feel like I saved myself at least a whole minute of time.  Now I just have to get back onto east coast time!  I don't think that you can say that you have jet lag when you've only flown from one time zone to the next.  Also, half of my company was at this conference with me.  I don't think it will go over well if I'm dragging and complaining today, when everyone else is in the same boat!  Better go get some caffeine and get some work done.  I've got to put all my new conference knowledge to use!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lemon and Honey Chicken

It's been just over a month with my shiny new braces and I thought I would update you on how it's going!  Here are some answers to the most popular questions that I have been getting...

Shiny braces?  First, I should say that they aren't shiny at all.  My braces are clear.  They aren't the invisalign, retainer-style braces.  The brackets are actually made of a dense, clear ceramic.  It takes people a few minutes to realize that I actually have a full set of braces on my teeth.  From a few feet away they are completely unnoticeable, it isn't until you are talking face-to-face that you finally see them.  The only bit of metal that you see is the arch wire that connects the brackets together.  I'm very happy with the look of them, I actually kind of like them! 


How does it feel?  Like I told you before, the first few days that the braces were on I was acutely aware of each and every one of my teeth.  It was a strange feeling, but that eventually subsided.  I was really concerned about the pain that the braces would inflict, mostly because of all of the stories my coworkers were telling me.  It seems that 80% of the people that I work with had orthodontia work in the past.  From their tales of pain and woe I was bracing myself (ha!) for the pain and stocking up on Tylenol  It really hasn't been that bad.

The first few days, my mouth was tender and I ate a lot of soup and sipped many smoothies (and lost a few pounds).  Now I feel a whole lot better and even ate those tasty chicken wings last week.  I generally steer away from foods that I consider "hard to eat" (such as sandwiches) or "hard to clean-up" (like anything with seeds!).  Occasionally I'll have one tooth or another that is sore, but I know that means something is working and it's worth it.

What about the dreaded monthly tightening?  I was really concerned about the tightening.  I was picturing the orthodontist with pliers, wrenches and other medieval torture devices, tightening the wires and brackets in my mouth.  Let me tell you that I was nothing like that.  In fact I was in and out of the office in five minutes.  After a quick check of my progress, the orthodontist removed the old bands (the ones that hold the arch wire to the bracket) and replaced them with new ones.  Done, braces tightened.  I was pleasantly surprised.


Have I noticed a difference yet?  Yes!  I have been told that as an adult with braces, I'll be much more aware of the changes happening in my mouth.  This must be because I am used to my teeth and bite, any change will be obvious to me.  It's so true!  Each day my bite feels a little different or I can notice that a tooth isn't in the same place it was before.  Even my crazy tooth (some call it a snaggle tooth!) has begun to line up with the rest of my teeth.  I can see my new smile taking shape, only 17 more months to go!

If you are an adult considering getting braces, you should totally do it!  Join me in my adventure, it will be worth it!  Just buy yourself a good blender first.  Not only because you'll want the occasional easy to eat breakfast, but because smoothies are delicious!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Yogurt

The dairy section of my local grocery store contains at least a hundred different varieties of yogurt.  I'm thinking that this is not unique to my corner of the world.  I'll bet that your local store has a similarly large selection of yogurts.  From fat free to full fat, organic and chemical-rich, flavors varying from strawberry to chocolate to key lime.  With this endless sampling of yogurts it was a big question to answer this week, why make your own yogurt?  I can give you not one, but three reasons.

1. It's so cheap!  That's right, making your own yogurt with save you money.  This is especially true if you want organic yogurt.  Let's do the breakdown.  (All prices are taken from my local Peapod site, prices will vary by region)

1/2 gallon of organic milk - $3.69
1 single serve plain organic yogurt - $0.99
1 single serve plain organic Greek yogurt - $1.99

From my experience, a half gallon of milk will yield approximately six servings of Greek yogurt and 8 servings of regular yogurt.  If you decide to make the entire half gallon of milk into Greek yogurt, you save $8.25! 

If you decide to go the non-organic route...

1 gallon 2% milk - $3.69
1 serving plain yogurt - $0.50 (on sale this week!)
1 serving plain Greek yogurt - $1.25

Servings from 1 gallon of milk - 16 regular yogurts & 12 Greek yogurts
Savings - $4.31 (regular), $11.31 (Greek)

Put that money in your piggy bank!


2. It's so easy!  If you have a food thermometer, this is a breeze to do.  If you are without thermometer, do not worry.  You can still do this.  The hands on time for preparing this yogurt was so minimal, I was able to do several other things at the same time.  If you can put milk in a pot, the transfer it to a jar, you can make yogurt. 

If you own any of the following - an oven, a towel & a pot, a yogurt maker or a heating pad - you can make yogurt.

If you have a container of yogurt in your fridge, you can start making yogurt right now.


3. It's so delicious!  I was a little skeptical at first, thinking that my yogurt would come out all funky and I would be wasting my time.  However, once I popped open the jar of my freshly made yogurt, I was a skeptic no more.  I dipped my spoon in and tasted the fresh yogurt and active cultures and was pleased at the yogurty flavor.  More intense than most store-bought varieties, you can't get fresher than this.

The flavors options are only as limited as your imagination.  Keep it simple and drizzle on honey, sprinkle with walnuts and cinnamon.  Make it fresh and puree seasonal fruit for a topping.  Take it over the top and blend it with a little sugar and cream cheese. 

There we are, three wonderful reasons to start making your own yogurt!  I have been enjoying fresh Greek yogurt all week with my breakfast and I couldn't be happier.  Would I do it again?  I already have. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails