Sweet Traditions

Posted by Anne Yorks on Friday, December 3, 2010

I am happy to say hi to any new blog readers that may have found Flour Box from the article in the Town & Gown this month. Hello and welcome! This is a blog mostly about sugar cookies, but I also love to include a few posts with fun and easy recipes (like today's post) and other other fun things to do in Happy Valley. I update as much as my schedule allows, and try to post at least once a week. So please check back often!

Now for anyone that has not seen the article in Town & Gown - I have posted a copy of the pages below, including the cover. I would just like to say thanks to everyone at Town&Gown for including the Flour Box cookies in the Sweet Traditions article! I loved reading all the stories and appreciate getting the chance to tell my Christmas morning cookie story! Plus, I was so happy to share some cookie and decorating tips for all the d-i-yers out there!

A photo in a magazine might be small peanuts to some, but to me it was very exciting! So you might wonder how I decided to celebrate? My little helper and I made homemade marshmallows to go with our hot cocoa and cookies. Now that's a celebration!!!

This was the first time I made my own marshmallow. I encourage you to try this yourself. It's fun and so easy and it's one of those things that tastes just a little bit better when made at home.

Of course I had my little helper with me...

We used the recipe from www.foodnetwork.com by Alton Brown. I found the recipe to be easy and good...so I didn't add or change anything. I think anyone could do this, but it will be helpful if you have a candy thermometer and a stand mixer. I think it's possible without these, but they help! Just an FYI.

Here's the link to the recipe page http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html

This is what you'll need:

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Here is a summary of Alton's Directions with our pictures : )

Put 3 packs of gelatin and 1/2 cup very cold water in your stand mixer.

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar (we measured instead of weighing)

with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup of light corn syrup and 1/4 teaspoon salt.


I did the stovetop section. Put the mixture over high heat and cover and cookie for 3-4 minutes. It will be bubbling! Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat. It took us about 7 1/2 minutes to hit the 240 mark.

Then add the hot sugar mixture to the stand mixer while running. Did I mention use the wisk attachment? Yep! That's what we used. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. This got a little messy because my helper insisted on measuring by herself. We are going through one of the independence phases. I was happy to watch and let her take over. She did great!

Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. It was just like spreading a pan of Rice Krispie Treats (without the krispies of course) Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

This is what the mixture looks like before pouring into the pan. My helper and I each took a healthy taste. YUM!

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Wouldn't it be so cool to have a marshmallow pillow??

Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. I seriously doubt they will last 3 weeks, but thanks, Alton, for the tip!

We put them in coffee and hot cocoa. And I would love to toast one over the fire. Anyone want to invite us over for some Christmas carols by the fire? We'll bring the marshmallows and cookies!! Call me!

These marshmallows were such a fun way to enjoy a little celebration on a snowy cold day!

So for those of you that don't live in the area...here is a copy of the article. If you want your own copy, email me at anne@flourboxbakery.com and I'll send you one! There are a few good recipes this year!!

The colors look a little funny in the blog photos compared to the original. But this is all I have.

Here is my tree cookie on the cover. I used disco dust (edible glitter) to add a little sparkle!

Then my snowflake cookies were used on the front page of the article! 

And my noseless snowman (oops - not supposed to be like that!), my nutcraker, and my tree were used to color-up the layout.

And, here is me! I'm wearing my Hip Hostess apron. Look familiar? I have a child-sized one too and my little girl is wearing it in the above photos. You can find their totally cute and hip aprons (for mommies and little girls), towels, etc at http://thehiphostess.com/store/Default.asp

Oh, and I did a cute little santa cookie too (pictured at the bottom).

Kinda cool. My favorite part is that the article is on the centerfold - so if the book drops open - there are Flour Box cookies smiling up at the reader. I laughed at my picture because that is NOT what I ever look like while I'm working. I always have a hairband and ponytail and never wear any jewelry. I decided to dress up a bit for the photo so I didn't look like a complete toad. But just know that is not how I roll day to day.

So, that's it! That my big news! I hope you enjoyed it with me! I would never be in business making cookies without the marvelous support of my customers!

Have a very sweet day,