One of my most vivid Christmas memories is seeing the kitchen counters, of the house I grew up in, covered in plates and mass quantities of goodies. My mom (and her little helpers) would spend weeks making delicious treats.Then we would all hop in the car and deliver the treats we'd made to all of our friends and family.
Now that my sister and I are grown we still talk about how amazing our Mom is and how we can't believe she made ALL THOSE TREATS by herself. Especially with three little kids underfoot. Being mothers and cooks ourselves we realize all of the love and work that went into the holiday plates. I know my Mother's love for cooking is what inspires us and brings back so many fond memories of our childhood.
Once we were on our own we would still get together every year and make our annual Christmas plates. My Mom lives too far away now for our annual baking days but my sister and I are keeping the tradition alive. Some years we make LOTS of treats and other years (when the holidays creep up way too fast) we keep it simple. But no matter what, we always remember our Mom and the fun Christmas memories she gave us.
This is one of those years that we just kept it simple. We tried out a few new recipes and this was one of our favorites.
Eggnog Marshmallows Better Homes and Gardens
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (4-1/4 tsp.)
3/4 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/3 cup refrigerated egg white product or 2 pasteurized egg whites*
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. rum extract
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Nonstick cooking spray
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 oz. white baking chocolate with cocoa butter or vanilla-flavored candy coating, chopped
1. Lightly coat an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap or line bottom of pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. Coat the plastic or paper with nonstick cooking spray; set pan aside.
2. In a large metal or heatproof bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of the cold water; set aside.
3. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan stir together remaining 1/4 cup water, 1-3/4 cups of the sugar, and the corn syrup until combined. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan (see Candy Thermometer, below). Cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 260 degrees F, (hard-ball stage) 12 to 15 minutes total. Remove from heat; pour over gelatin mixture in bowl and stir well to combine (mixture will foam up).
4. Meanwhile, in a clean large mixing bowl beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight), 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in rum extract and nutmeg until combined. With the mixer running on high speed, gradually add gelatin mixture to egg white mixture, beating about 7 minutes or until thick (like the consistency of thick, pourable cake batter). Quickly pour marshmallow mixture into prepared pan, spreading to edges of pan. Lightly coat another piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray; place, coated side down, over marshmallow mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
5. Remove plastic wrap from top of marshmallows. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle about a quarter of the mixture evenly onto a large cutting board. Loosen sides of marshmallows, if necessary, and carefully invert onto the cutting board. Remove plastic wrap or paper. Sprinkle top with some of the remaining powdered sugar mixture. Using a knife that has been dipped in warm water, cut square into 20 marshmallows. Place squares, a few at a time, in a large resealable plastic bag. Add remaining powdered sugar mixture; seal bag and toss to coat all sides of marshmallows with powdered sugar mixture.
6. In a small saucepan, cook and stir white chocolate just until melted. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until cooled but not set. Spread in a thin, even layer over the top of the marshmallows. Top with nonpareils. Store marshmallows between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Makes 20 large marshmallows.