Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Nims: Marshmallow/ Fleur de Sel Caramel Bites

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Oh, the holidays.  They have arrived, haven't they?

I'd like to give you an early gift, my thanks to you, for being such sweet people.  My present to you:



Little Nims

Bite sized, chewy, buttery, slightly salty, utterly delicious nubs of caramel and marshmallow goodness.


I'm thinking of all of you when I share this recipe, of the constant, low grade stress coursing through your nervous systems just as mid November arrives.  Little Nims will help you get through it all.  Consider them your little (legal and non-alcoholic) holiday helper.

What this little treat will do for you is two fold:

(1)  It's a sweet piece of succor for you to enjoy when you feel that the season of jolly is anything but.



(2)  It doubles as a hostess gift:  wrap just a few Nims in candy paper or parchment.  Drop them into an antique Bell jar, tie a ribbon around it and you're finished.  There will be plenty left over for you to enjoy.  I've made sure of it.

Nim, clearly wanting a treat from his human mama.

Wondering why these are called "Little Nims"?  While I was making them, my snow gander, Nim, started honking for me outside the kitchen door.  He clearly had a hankering for a tasty tidbit!

LITTLE NIMS

***Both recipes, any many more holiday gift giving recipes, can be found in my book Sugar Baby

(Makes 96 Nims)  



INGREDIENTS

For the Caramel

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon sea salt

For the Marshmallow

2 tablespoons gelatin
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
squirt of lemon

To finish
1 tablespoon course sea salt

PROCEDURE

For the caramel

Line a half sheet pan with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

•In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Stir over medium heat until the sugar has melted.  Attach a candy thermometer and allow the caramel to reach 254º.  Take from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Getting there!


•Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared pan.  Tip the pan from side to side gently so that the caramel is evenly distributed.


•Allow the caramel to cool.  Using a bench scraper or sharp knife sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut the caramel into 2" wide strips.  Make the marshmallow.


Caramel when cooled should be bendy and sturdy!

For the marshmallow

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized open tip.  Spray the inside of the bag with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, pour in the gelatin and then pour the 1/3 cup of water over the gelatin, making sure to cover every little crystal so that it becomes completely saturated.

•Combined the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, 1/2 cup water and squirt of lemon in a heavy saucepan.  Stir over low heat until the sugar has completely melted.  Stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer and bring the temperature to 245º.

•Start the mixer running on medium low and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the SIDE of the bowl so that it doesn't scorch the gelatin and ruin its efficacy.  Don't pour the sugar into the bowl while the mixer is on high, the hot sugar will fly!

•Whisk on high until the mixture is light and slightly fluffy and the bowl is no longer hot to the touch.

•Spray a rubber spatula or bowl scraper with non stick cooking spray and use it to scoop the marshmallow into the pastry bag.  The marshmallow should still be slightly warm.

•Pipe a stripe of marshallow down the middle of each caramel strip.  Use a pair of kitchen scissors, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, to cut the stream of marshmallow neatly.  It helps to keep your hands slightly wet in case you need to manhandle the marshmallow in any way.  This keeps it from sticking all over your digits.


•Gently bend the caramel over the marshmallow to form a tube.  Gently pinch the seam together.  Place the caramel tube seam side down and using a bench scraper or sharp knife sprayed with nonstick spray, cut 1" pieces of candy from the tube.  Continue until you've cut all the candy and sprinkle a few granules of sea salt atop each candy.  Wrap in candy wrappers (you can find a nice selection at www.nashvillewraps.com).

Bending the caramel over the marshmallow!  
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