Christmas Tree Hunting + Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

Christmas Tree Hunting + Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

Last weekend we braved the snow and the cold and headed out west to find a Christmas tree with my family. I haven’t gone tree hunting in many, many years, so I was really looking forward to it. And, it did not disappoint. It was so much fun, despite the cold. And, after we all found our perfect tree, we made a fire, sharpened some twigs and roasted some homemade marshmallows to make s’mores. It was a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season.

Christmas Tree Hunting + Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

One day I want to get a tree like this. I think it would be adorably hilarious. It just looks so whimsical. :) But, since this was the first time we’d gotten a tree as a family we needed to find the classic “perfect” tree. So the boys went on a search and when they found it, Max helped his Daddy cut it down.

Christmas Tree Hunting + Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

I didn’t get any pics of the s’mores fun because I was too busy roasting marshmallows and making sure my baby girl didn’t make a dash for the fire. But they were delicious and I love how the homemade marshmallows caramalize over the fire – so much better than store-bought I tell you!

When we got home, we turned on the christmas tunes, poured some eggnog and decorated the tree. Now all that’s left is to bake some gingerbread cookies to hang on the tree. It’s officially Christmas at my house!

Christmas Tree Hunting + Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

I just had to share this marshmallow recipe with you. It is a crowd pleaser. I made both chocolate and vanilla marshmallows, and these vanilla marshmallows won, hands down. They are great for roasting, melting on top of hot chocolate (I like to cut up any scraps and turn them into mini marshmallows!), given as gifts, or used in your favourite Christmas recipe that calls for marshmallows.

They are also pretty much foolproof. My candy thermometer crapped out on me while I was making these marshmallows so I ended up cooking the sugar syrup far past the soft ball stage, and they still turned out fabulously soft and chewy. Although, there were strands of hard sugar stuck on the whisk, and the occasional sugary crunch in a marshmallow. Oops! But, that is to say, don’t be intimidated by making marshmallows, it’s easy peasy and not nearly so stressful as you might think. And if you don’t have a candy thermometer, not to worry, I’ve got instructions for that too.

I’d love to know, how are you kicking of this holiday season?

classic vanilla marshmallows

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows
 
Makes: approximately 24
Ingredients
  • 4 envelopes unflavoured gelatin
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1¼ cups light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups cold water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • icing (confectioners) sugar
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, line with parchment, and grease again; set aside.
  2. Place sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ¾ cup water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 240ºF on a candy thermometer (the soft-ball stage*).
  3. Meanwhile, put remaining ¾ cup water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
  4. Using whisk attachment, gradually beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture, on low-speed. Slowly raise the speed to high as it thickens (you don’t want it to splash all over). Continue beating until mixture is very stiff (about 12 minutes). Beat in vanilla. Using a greased spatula, scrape mixture into prepared baking dish, smoothing the top. Let sit, uncovered, until firm (about 3 hours).
  5. Spread some icing sugar onto a work surface. Unmold the marshmallow onto the sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil or more icing sugar. Cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares (or use a cookie cutter to make desired shapes). Roll each marshmallow in additional icing sugar, to coat, shaking off excess. Store marshmallows in an airtight container. Freeze for longer storage
  6. *If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can test the sugar syrup for the soft-ball stage. To do this, drop a small amount of syrup into a bowl of cold water, it should form into a ball, when you remove the ball from the water it should flatten out naturally in your hand. This is when you know it’s done and should remove the sugar syrup from the heat.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.