Winter’s Last Hurrah (I Hope)

December days were brief and chill,
The winds of March were wild and drear,
And, nearing and receding still,
Spring never would, we thought, be here.
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)

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We just thought that the arrival of March meant the advent of spring. Winter is having the final say in this matter, however, and I am writing this post while bracing for another round of icy winter weather. This being Texas, we had a relatively mild, wet day until the temperature began to plummet (and I do mean plummet). I sincerely hope that this is the last of the winter weather. I love a good cold front as much as anyone, but not when it proceeds to disrupt my life by keeping me homebound with icy conditions outside. You can bet that I’ll be in my coziest clothes and snuggled by the fire tonight with this hot chocolate topped with my favorite homemade marshmallows (recipe at the bottom of this post).

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To bring some humor to the midweek, I thought I’d share the outtakes from my #ootd photo this afternoon. Of course only I would decide to head out for a photo right as a cold front blew in (sarcasm ya’ll – I really didn’t plan on being blown away!).

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hmm… Is this even going to work?
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I’m just not sure about this.
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Yikes!

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It.was.freezing.

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Trying to gain some composure between wind gusts and then…
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…success! A photo with my hair on my shoulders and not flying in the air.

I need not tell you that with a dropping temperature, gusty wind chills in the 20’s and a cold rain falling, today was perhaps the shortest #ootd photography session ever.

Marshmallows

Okay, now on to the sweetest (harhar) part of this post: soft, fluffy, homemade, melt-in-your-mouth-I-can’t-even-take-it marshmallows!

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This recipe was adapted from The Smitten Kitchen (I love that site – love it!!) and is presented here using directions for a standing electric mixer. If you don’t own one, then please surf over to the original recipe for a how-to using a hand mixer.

Homemade Marshmallows

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

Approx. 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup very cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla*

Spray oil evenly on the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t worry about getting it all out – you won’t! Just do your best to get most of it into the pan. Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) You can also have some fun and use mini cookie cutters to make shaped marshmallows, as shown in the above photo. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

*The original recipe suggests other flavors, but after playing around with mint, peppermint, and almond that the best flavor happens when you just use vanilla. Of course, you can do whatever you want, and if you find a fabulous combination, definitely share it please!

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