Saturday, March 21, 2015

Raspberry-Vanilla Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Easter has the BEST candy. 
Seriously, I count the days in February until Valentine's day is over. Not only because Valentine's day is my birthday, not just because in early March, we celebrate our Half-iversary, and not even because Spring is steadily approaching...
It's 'cause of the candy. There is insta-joy when I see the purple bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs in the store next to the clearance $.99 chocolate hearts. I'm on my 4th package of them right now, no joke.

Easter, like most Holidays has lost its childhood luster, and I no longer get a new dress for church, I no longer get a basket filled with goodies, and instead of sprinting to find the most eggs, I help the kiddies find them and witness their joy when they find the egg with the twenty dollar bill in it.
Can I get in on that twenty? No, really...

This year I wanted to make something pretty, and tasty, and sparkly!  They don't take long, but they take some finesse. Anyone can make them, and putting the sparkles (sprinkles) on is so much fun, and kids would love it!! Step by step, here's the recipe and method.

Raspberry-Vanilla Marshmallows (Makes 12 eggs)
Special equipment:
Stand mixer
candy thermometer
12 standard size plastic eggs, washed, dried and coated lightly with cooking spray
18" plastic piping bag
#805 Ateco round plain tip (about 1cm)
Empty egg carton

1/3 cup raspberry juice*
1 tablespoon water
3/8 oz. unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
Non-stick cooking spray (high-quality)
Sugar crystal sprinkles
Nonpareils (the tiny, round sprinkles)
Jimmies (the long and soft sprinkles)

* Thaw frozen raspberries overnight in the refrigerator and strain the juice from the fruit. Bonus: stir the excess fruit into a big tub of plain yogurt, or pancakes for a yummy treat.

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Place the raspberry juice, and water in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over top and let it stand.

Meanwhile in a small sauce pot, and combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and 2 ounces of water. Stir gently and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring and cook the sugar until the thermometer registers 248°.

With the stand mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin.

Once all of the cooked sugar is added, turn the speed and continue beating until the 'mallow is light and fluffy.
 You are gonna wanna stop here, but beating just a little longer will create a really fluffy 'mallow. At this point, add the scraped vanilla bean and continue beating.
Until it looks like this. If you beat it any longer, it will be too firm to pipe. You want it to be light, but not too cool.

Set the prepared egg shells on a large sheet pan. Fill the piping bag with half of the marshmallow and scrape everything as close to the tip as possible.
Pipe marshmallow into each half of the egg, squeezing from the very top of the bag. In the short half, leave a bit of a dome, and in the tall half, pipe only almost to the top. Be careful not to get any cooking spray on the mallow as it will prevent it from sticking together once it is set.

Pro tip: keep the piping tip just barely submerged in the marshmallow, slowly moving it up as you are piping it into the egg. This will keep the 'mallow evenly distributed through the whole egg.
Close the egg and let the excess come out of the tiny hole in the tall end. Most plastic eggs have this, so make sure yours does. Clean up the outside of the egg as much as possible, and place in the egg carton. Leave the eggs to sit out at room temperature for at least an hour or two. 

Test the egg to see if it is ready, carefully pop open the egg and see if it stays in tact as you try to remove it. Once it is easy to remove from the egg, they are ready to dip into the sprinkles.

Sugar crystal sprinkles stick best, but if you want to use jimmies, make a combination of crystal, and nonpareils with the jimmies.

Wrap the eggs in the carton with plastic wrap and let them sit overnight. They are ready to eat (so you can if you want), but the sprinkles will stick best when they sit long enough to dry a bit.

Package them in plastic bags, and adorn your Easter baskets with beautiful, delicious, sparkly eggs!

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