Once a month the movie theatre in the town I live in has a midweek afternoon and evening showing of an art house, indie, and/or award winning foreign film. Almost always the theatre is packed for the afternoon screening, although there aren't usually long lines at the concession stand. The audience is, if I were to venture a guess, somewhere between the ages of 65 and 70, regardless of the time of year. Apparently there are not many 20, 30, 40, and 50 year olds willing to play hooky from work, skip a day of shopping, or give themselves a break from life's other responsibilities to go to the movie theatre to see a compelling afternoon film. If there was ever a reason to fully embrace the 'life is short' mantra, then spending a couple of hours in the middle of the day in a theatre watching a film taking you on a visual and/or emotional journey, reminding you wittiness will never be over-rated, or giving you a sense of euphoria over being intellectually challenged, well those might be reasons enough. Why should anyone have to wait until their retirement years to experience a mid-week afternoon matinee? And let's not forget about having access to freshly made, not sitting all day, popcorn. Lightly buttered, because after all, if you are going to completely espouse the 'life is short' philosophy, you aren't going to skip out on the butter.
I have always loved chocolate covered marshmallows. But I have never tasted a chocolate covered marshmallow as delicious as these. These have definitely raised the chocolate covered marshmallow bar!
If you have never had a springy, fluffy, light, melt in your mouth homemade marshmallow before, you must give yourself that experience. Especially a pale pink strawberry one. If you have never made them before, you must! Especially on a day when you are feeling fearless in the kitchen! Of all of the risks you consider taking in your life, think of this one as one having only the best of outcomes! And every once in awhile give yourself permission to play hooky and take in an afternoon matinee or Cubs game on a glorious summer day. Life is short.
Strawberry Marshmallows (marshmallow recipe adapted from Bon Appetit July 2008 and inspiration for strawberry marshmallows from Alice Medrich)
3 1/2 envelopes (2 Tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons or 7/8 ounce) unflavored gelatin (recommend Knox)
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites (beaten until they hold stiff peaks)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
16-18 grams freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle. Recommend the ones sold at Trader Joe's.
1/2 cup confectionary sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cornstarch, sifted (recommend Maizena)
1 pound Milk chocolate, melted (optional)
1. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13"x9"x2" rectangular metal baking pan. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with vegetable oil. Dust bottom and sides of paper lined pan with a mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, add gelatin. Pour 1/2 cup very cold water over gelatin. Let stand to soften.
3. In a heavy 3 quart saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
4. Increase heat to moderate and allow mixture to come to a bowl until it reaches 240 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. Note: Do not stir mixture while boiling.
5. Remove pan from heat and slow pour mixture over gelatin mixture while mixer is running. After all of the sugar syrup is poured into the bowl, increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is white, thick, shiny and nearly tripled in volume (approximately 10-12 minutes).
6. Beat in egg whites, vanilla, and ground freeze-dried strawberries until well blended.
7. Working quickly pour into prepared pan. Smooth top with an offset spatula.
8. Sprinkle top with a mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. Allow to set overnight (uncovered).
9. Run a thin knife along edge of marshmallows and cut into 1 inch squares. Note: Cut strips of marshmallows with a long thin knife, but cut strips of marshmallows with sharp scissors.
10. Toss marshmallows in the remaining mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. To gently shake off excess toss in a coarse sieve. Allow to set for several hours before putting into a container.
11. Store marshmallows in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to a week.
12. Optional: Dip the tops of the marshmallows in melted milk chocolate. Allow to set. Note: I dipped only the tops of the Strawberry Marshmallows in the melted milk chocolate.
Notes: For a stronger strawberry flavor in the marshmallows increase the amount of freeze-dried strawberries to somewhere between 20 and 22 grams.
Bortell's Landing, one of the best seafood restaurants in Michigan (Pentwater, MI).