For desert on such a wintery night, I opted for hot chocolate with homemade vanilla marshmallows. Oh my! I made marshmallows, y’all!!! (And then I promptly bagged up half and delivered them to unsuspecting neighbors in order to get them out of my kitch.) I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the store bought variety…they are the most divine little pillowy poofs of sugary goodness. I’m curious to see how they do in s’mores, since that is one of our favorite weekend routines. This recipe comes from my Back in the Day Bakery cookbook. It’s one of my favorite little places in all of Savannah! I used Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate pouches for the cocoa. *swoon*
Source: Ina Garten
2 T. olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced (I found at Trader Joe’s.)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.
Just before serving, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
*Note: Use the biggest pot you have! Mine was nearly overflowing.
Source: Ina Garten
1 French baguette
Good olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the baguette at a 45 degree angle in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic
Source: Back in the Day Bakery
2 c confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting
3 c granulated sugar
1 1/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
4 tsp vanilla extract
Spray 9x13x2” pan with cooking spray then coat with confectioners sugar.
In a large saucepan, stir 3/4 c water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt over med heat until sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer and, without stiring, bring to a boil. Cook until it reaches 240, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour 3/4 c water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over the top, and stir on low so the gelatin softens.
With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the hot sugar mixture. Gradually increase speed to high until it is fluffy and stiff, 10-12 min. Turn to low, add vanilla and mix to incorporate.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth with rubber spatula sprayed with nonstick spray. Let sit at room temp for 4-6 hours until firm.
Fill a bowl w 2 c confectioners sugar. Invert pan onto a smooth work surface and unmold marshmallow. Lightly coat a serrated knife w cooking spray and cut into squares. Pull apart squares and toss each marshmallow in the sugar to coat all over. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
*I had to run the knife around the pan and pry it out with my fingers. It was totally fine. I cut a few with a cookie cutter – I just sprayed it with cooking spray periodically.
Happy eats, y’all! We had leftovers for days…time to start cooking again.