We are on vacation this week. We were supposed to go to the beach, but my daughter got sick, then my husband got sick, then the weather got crappy and we decided to cancel our reservations and just stay home. We'll go later this spring, when the weather is better.
This has actually worked out pretty well. We've had time to relax, done some "tourist at home" things, and made chocolate covered marshmallow eggs for Easter. Not something we'd likely have time to do otherwise! I adapted the recipe a smidge from the one at Houseful of Handmade, and it worked out swimmingly.
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs
adapted from Houseful of Handmade
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup warm water
1 c. corn syrup, divided
2 c. evaporated cane sugar (this gave the marshmallows a nice caramel flavor)
2 t. vanilla
Food coloring of choice (optional)
egg (real or plastic)
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 T. shortening
Mix the gelatin in the cold water. Set aside.
Combine warm water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, and sugar in a large saucepan (make sure you use one big enough to accommodate its expansion when it boils). Using a candy thermometer, cook to soft ball stage.
Pour mixture into stand mixer bowl. Beat in remaining corn syrup, then add gelatin mixture. Beat over medium-low speed until it starts to thicken (2 - 3 minutes), then increase speed to high and beat an additional 7 minutes. Add vanilla and food coloring, if desired. Beat an additional two minutes. It will go from this:
To thick and fluffy, like this:
While it is mixing, make your egg molds. Just pour a thick layer of flour in a pan (don't worry, you'll be able to reuse it later in cooking), and dip an egg in it (real or a plastic Easter egg) to make your egg molds.
I used a real egg and would have had around 34 or so, but I wanted to make some gluten free to take to one of our Easter gatherings. I didn't have enough powdered sugar to make gluten free egg molds, so I just put some parchment in a small pan, put a layer of powdered sugar in it, and poured the rest of the mixture over it.
Using a small ladle, fill your egg molds. Don't worry if they're not perfect - you can trim them later (I certainly did!).
Let them sit for several hours until set (I left them overnight). Once they are set, trim them if necessary. I trimmed the edges off the eggs and cut the gluten-free ones into chunks. This will be a lot easier if you keep a glass of powdered sugar on hand to dip your kitchen shears into. They'll get awfully sticky! Keep your hands sugared, too. Trust me on this one. Powdered sugar is your friend.
To dip them, put your chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl (measuring chocolate chips is a good job for a small helper).
Microwave in one minute intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Mine took about three minutes, and I had to heat it an additional 30 seconds toward the end of the dipping because it was starting to get a little thick.
Use a fork to dip the eggs, then set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to harden. Don't worry, I dipped the gluten-free ones first so I wouldn't contaminate the chocolate! Add sprinkles, if desired, once they're on the baking sheet (though wouldn't it be fun to completely cover them in sprinkles? Or coconut? Hmm...maybe next time).
When you're all done dipping and you have chocolate left, dip your trimmings and enjoy the fruits of your labor! :-)
Truth be told, I was surprised how easy these were. I've toyed with the idea of making my own marshmallows for years but hadn't taken the plunge. I'll definitely make these again (maybe ornament shapes for Christmas?), and I'll probably make some actual marshmallows for the upcoming s'more season!