Monday, November 3, 2008

In lieu of...

Well, since I haven't been knitting too much of late (although I did cast on for a pair of Pomatomus Socks - let's cross our fingers and hope that helps me find my knitting groove again), I've been baking instead. No, don't get your hopes up. This will not be a post just chock full of num num pictures. In fact, I've only baked two num nums in lieu of knitting, and one of them probably doesn't count as baking because there was no actual baking involved.

The first of these things, was some super yummy, home-made bread. I used the recipe for American Sandwich Bread from The Cook's New Best Recipe cookbook. The recipe is relatively easy to follow, but since I don't have a stand up mixer (which I seriously want by the way)I had to kind of eyeball the kneading process and fudge it as I went along. Surprisingly, for a first ever attempt, it came out quite nice. It has a delicate, super-moist crumb with a slightly chewy texture that I adore in sandwich breads and the crust baked up to be a pleasant light golden brown so it wasn't too thick. Honestly, it's a bread that I'd rather just eat with butter and honey smeared all over it rather than hide it's flavor behind sandwich meats and condiments.


Doesn't that look nice? It is, and on top of that, it's slightly sweet (kind of like a yeasted doughnut without any frosting or sugar all over it) so you really don't even need the butter.

I also took a forray into candy-making (this is where the non-baking baking comes in ;) ) and decided that I was going to be ambitious and make some home made marshmallows. It was a surprisingly easy task, and I can safely say that if you don't happen to have a candy thermometer you can still make these things by simply following the instructions on the time. Once again, it would have been so much easier if I'd had a stand-up mixer, but my little electric hand mixer worked out just fine. It's just that when the marshmallow thickens, it kind of blobs up over the entire beater and pools up at the top of the mixer so you have to keep stopping to scrape down (oh and if you're going to have to scrape a beater, please remember to oil your spatula before doing so otherwise you're going to wind up wearing more of the goo than you wanted to - don't ask how I know this, just trust me) the beaters. Still, they came out quite nice.



I've been told the pictures look like tofu, and yeah, they do...but it's sooo not. The texture of these marshmallows is nothing like the ones you buy in the store - at least, not to me. There's a denser, more silky mouthfeel to them and you can really taste the vanilla. All in all, a much creamier candy that I can't wait to try in hot chocolate! After all, that's the whole reason I made them. I have tons of hot cocoa stuff but had no marshmallows in the house and had eaten the last of the Marshmallow Fluff (right from the jar with a spoon...because I get sweet cravings and that's one of the first things I think of to eat). Trust me, this recipe has saved the day. And you get tons from just the one recipe. I'm thinking I might use this recipe and put together some baskets featuring them for Christmas gifts...

Oh and in case you're curious, I used this recipe for them! Thank you Alton Brown!


yarnpiggy said...

The bread looks wonderful. I used to make my own bread all the time; I should get back to it.

And the marshmallows...look absolutely scrummy! Nice job. Oh, how I miss marshmallows.

Anonymous said...

I love your bread...I love your marshmallows. I married you and now I am fat and happy. Kudos on another delicious loaf of the best bread in the world. And the hot chocolate when I came in from my third 16 hour shift was heaven sent. I loves. Oh, and incidentally, perhaps Santa will bring you a stand-up mixer if you are really good this year. *wink*


Melody said...

aren't you so Martha!! good for you .. the bread looks d-lish! and so do the marshmallows!

Courtney said...

mmmmm...bread...and marshmellows :-)

Lori said...

Yum, Yum, Yum!

Liz said...

Those marshmallows look fantastic!

I keep wanting to find some like that for roasting purposes (not sure if they'd roast well or not, but hey, I can dream). It's getting to be that time where fireplaces with warm fires seem absolutely delightful.