A new home for my blog, a lesson in photography and a new recipe! Homemade Honey Vanilla Marshmallows
Yeah! My blog is finally at its new home here at wordpress. So excited, but also a little nerve wracked. I took 3 tries at posting this today. It kept deleting and I am having formatting issues with the recipe plug in. I still have some details to edit and customize but I am here now and am so happy to be where all the cool food blogger kids hang out! Now I just need to buy wordpress for dummies…. But first a new recipe! Honey vanilla marshmallows.
I have been “known” for my homemade marshmallows for several years now. I usually make them every Christmas and send them out with my usual Christmas cookie care package to friends and family. I first discovered this recipe watching an episode of Alton Brown’s ” Good Eats” on Food Network. I loved watching his show, I learned so much about the whats and whys of cooking and baking. I like sciency nerdy food stuff like that. I think store bought marshmallows are so bland and tasteless and I had tried a homemade marshmallow at a coffee shop once and wanted to try them myself. Watching this episode gave me the confidence to make them. What a fun mess it is to make these. They taste so amazing too. I have made many different flavors over the years from candy cane to chocolate to coconut. They are all so good. The recipe calls for corn syrup and I am not a fan of corn syrup so I decided to swap it for honey. So glad I did. These are super light and fluffy and just a hint of honey. So these are adapted from his recipe.
I have a good friend in town that is a professional photographer, mostly modeling, fitness and lifestyle, but has done some food photography for magazines in the past. I was telling him and his wife, also a good friend of mine, about my blog and my desire to become a better food photographer, and I showed him a few pics I had taken with my trusty iphone for instagram.
This is one photo I took with my iphone that I showed my friend. He started asking me questions about the photo, ” What is going on in this picture? What time of day is it? Is the person making these a mom? Is she making these with her kids to create some family memories? Is this a snack for her kids? Or is this later in the evening for marshmallows for s’mores or hot cocoa? Is she an organized woman or does she not mind making a mess? Where are the kids? Are they helping? ” And a bunch of other questions that really made me start thinking about my photos differently. One wants their food photos to tell a story, not just a picture of something to eat on a plate, but you want to pull your reader in with a story and pictures that make them want to be right there at that very moment, making those memories and enjoying that food. There are several blogs that I love to read that do just that, and I stare at their pictures wondering not only how they made them technically but what was the feel of the picture they were going for? What mood is the scene setting? Some of these blogs have awesome stories to go with the beautiful pictures and some just let the pictures tell the story. I want my photos to be like theirs, to tell a story, to make people want to be there in that moment, not just a photo of food on a plate and ” hey look I made this here is the recipe”. I want to stand out in the world of food blogging and I am going to practice my tail off with my photos. My friend offered to help teach me the technical aspects of photograph ,and he told me I already have an artistic eye for setting a scene, I just need to hone in my skills and learn the technical parts and my photography will improve greatly. I can’t wait. I just hope he is okay with accepting payment in the forms of baked goods, actually I know he would be.
Another point of photography my friend talked to me about was lighting. My current house we are in has horrible lighting. Pretty much no natural light coming in to the house that is decent for photos. The garage is south facing so I have a make shift photo booth set up in there, its okay but I can’t wait to move into our new house ( fingers crossed the bank approves the offer) because the kitchen and living room both have HUGE south facing windows and french doors with fantastic light all day long. Can’t wait. Until then I get to learn to utilize Adobe Lightroom for adjusting exposure issues.
I have been employing my 4 year old to assist with holding my foam boards to help bounce light and other tasks. She likes the job because she gets paid in food.
- 3 packets of unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup of ice cold water
- 1 c granulated organic sugar
- 1 c organic honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp bourbon vanilla extract
- ½ c confectioners or powdered sugar
- cooking spray (olive oil or sunflower oil spray)
- Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and generously dust with powdered sugar, set aside
- In a bowl of a stand mixer combine the gelatin with ½ c of the cold water and have the whisk attachment in place.
- In a high sided sauce pan, 4-6qt size, combine the other ½ c of water, the sugar, honey and salt.
- Stir to combine and clip on a candy thermometer to the side
- Over medium heat stir until the sugar dissolves, then let heat until the mixture reaches 240 deg F, watching carefully so it doesn’t boil over
- Once the mixture almost reaches 240 deg f, start the mixer on low to break up the gelatin and once its at 240 remove from heat and slowly pour into the mixer, careful not to splatter
- Once all the honey syrup is in, slowly raise the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and white and the mixer bowl is lukewarm to the touch, about 12 minutes
- Add in the vanilla extract and whip 1-2 min more
- Quickly spread the marshmallow into the prepared pan, using a greased silicon spatula.
- It is sticky so try to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and whisk as well as you can, and smooth out the mixture in the pan so it is even.
- Generously dust with powdered sugar again and let dry out at least 4 hours to over night.
- Once they are dry take the slab of marshmallow out of the pan onto a cutting board.
- Using a greased knife or pizza cutter, slice the slab into strips then squares, dusting the cut parts with more powdered sugar.
- Marshmallows will keep up to two weeks in an air tight container at room temp.
- They also keep well in the freezer