A few weeks ago, Aaron asked if he and I could have a meeting. Laughing at this unexpected request, I said, “Okay! What should we do at our meeting?”
“We should have hot chocolate with marshmallows, and pray,” was Aaron’s answer.
Prayer, in our family, is part of our daily lives. We pray for other people, we thank God for our food, we ask for healing when someone gets hurt, we listen for God’s voice. It is an incredible experience to do listening prayer with a young child, by the way.
We also have lots of meetings in our home. Steve and I are both college ministers, meaning that a lot of our work revolves around meeting with various staff and students.
So I suppose Aaron’s idea to have a prayer meeting made sense.
And that is just what we did. The first order of business was making hot chocolate, topped with homemade marshmallows that we had made earlier in the morning. We then proceeded to pray for grandparents, neighbors, cousins, and each other. Aaron also asked God to heal my back (which has been sore lately) and to give him patience and kindness. I’d say it was a pretty quality meeting.
After a lifetime of only having store-bought marshmallows, the homemade version is truly a different experience. They are way fluffier, softer, and sweeter. I tried roasting one over a stovetop flame, and it immediately melted into a gooey mess.
To make marshmallows, a stand mixer comes in handy since there is so much whisking and whipping involved. Also necessary is a candy thermometer to reach a particular temperature. We cut them into star shapes with a small cookie cutter, and made the remaining pieces into mini marshmallows.
1/4 cup cornstarch (cornflower)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
oil for pan
1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar. Line the pan with aluminum foil, then lightly oil the foil. Sift 1/4 cup of the sugar mixture into the pan, and tilt to coat the bottom and sides. Leave any excess in the bottom.
Pour 1/2 cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, whisk together, then let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Whisk in the salt and cream of tartar. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Put 1/2 cup water into a saucepan. Stir in the granulated sugar and the corn syrup. Place over medium high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns pale tan, about 250 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Turn the mixer on medium speed, and drizzle the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture, aiming in between the beater and the side of the bowl. Be very careful!
Increase the speed to high and whip the mixture until it is white and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture cools, about 20 minutes.
Pour into the prepared pan. Dip a knife in cold water and smooth the surface. Let a skin form on the surface, about 1 hour. Dust with 1/4 cup of the sugar mixture, and let rest overnight at cool room temperature.
Line a pan with parchment paper and dust with the sugar mixture. Dip a small cookie cutter into the sugar and cut out marshmallows. Or, use a knife to cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Layer the marshmallows in the pan, dusting with more sugar. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to two weeks.