“Two de Sweet”

Yeah I know, a bad attempt at a lead-in but this column deals with two treats in one. Make it as directed for a great, smooth treat or add the extra gelatin to make your own marshmallows, with a bit of taste other than sugar for a change.
I have been asked numerous times why I give so many sweet treats or desserts in my columns the past couple of weeks and the answer is quite simple. Because it is the Holidays! I throw in the occasional savory dish but it is all about making things that just aren’t prepared any other time of year, nor is there any desire to do so. I love cooking and preparing specialty desserts because it makes the children happy and based on the amount of money we all spend on children in December, looks like I am not the only one who thinks that. So off we go…..

Strawberry Marshmallow Bars

Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan

25 vanilla wafers, crushed(you should have 2 cups)
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2 envelopes gelatin*
1 cup ice water
1 teaspoon coconut or rum extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cups prepared strawberry glaze*

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray a 13-9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine crushed wafers and melted butter, mixing well. Pour into prepared pan, patting it down.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Remove and set aside.
Mix 1/2 cup of the water with the gelatin in a mixer bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, salt, and the rest of the water.  Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Raise the heat to medium-high and clip a candy thermometer to the side if you have one.  If not, don’t worry. Cook until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F, or 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
If using a table top mixer, turn mixer on low and pour the syrup mixture into the gelatin, making sure you get all of it.  Simply use a hand mixer the same way. Now turn the mixer up to high and whip until the mixture looks like marshmallow cream, about 10 minutes.  Add the extract and blend in.
Scrape the gelatin mixture into the prepared pan using a spatula that has been dipped in water every few seconds to keep it from sticking to your marshmallow cream.  Let this sit for at least 2 hours in refrigerator to set up.
When set, drizzle melted chocolate and strawberry glaze over the top and put back into refrigerator for 10 minutes. Remove, cut into squares with wet knife and serve.

Have you ever attempted to make your own marshmallows? many of you haven’t and I don’t much blame you. You can buy them very cheaply but while you are making this dessert, give it a try. Use 3 packages if making firm marshmallows. When cool, simply cut into desired sizes and roll in powdered sugar, shaking off excess.


*You can buy strawberry glaze in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.