Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Banana Bread Waffles

This past weekend I decided it was time to restock my freezer waffle stash, but instead of making my usual whole wheat waffles I branched out and tried something new.  The addition of mashed banana and cinnamon really make for a fun twist on a breakfast standby.  These waffles are great served with maple syrup, but I think they are even better topped with some natural peanut butter and a little bit of honey.  This recipe made six and a half round waffles.  I froze the leftovers and they are still tasty when heated up in the toaster.  Next time you have a couple of old bananas sitting around I recommend giving this recipe a try.

Adapted from Mother Thyme

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 2/3 cup)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. In a medium bowl mix milk, bananas, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.

3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth and combined. Stir in nuts if using.

4. Follow your waffle maker's manufacturer instructions to cook waffles. Serve as desired.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Homemade Marshmallows

Believe the hype. Homemade marshmallows are incredible! The internet is full of bloggers telling you how amazing homemade marshmallows are, how they are so much better than store-bought marshmallows, and how they really are worth the effort. I am here to tell you that these things are all true.  While I made a simple vanilla marshmallow, the candy can be flavored with any extract, making the flavor possibilities endless.  We enjoyed eating these plain, toasted (my favorite), and dipped in chocolate topped with crushed candy canes.  This recipe is easy to follow and yields great results.  I did end up making a little bit of a mess, but it was well worth the clean-up!

From Alton Brown

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

1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. 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.
3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. 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.
4. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. 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.
5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. 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.
6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. 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.