Have you ever tried to make your own marshmallows? They may be a little tricky (yes, a thermometer is involved), but they can be a lot of fun, and make great gifts. Add a little spice to flavor them however you'd like – cinnamon, lemon, almond. Even coconut. And there's nothing that beats the flavor, and texture, of homemade.
Cinnamon marshmallow stars are just one way to get crafty this holiday season with homemade gifts from the kitchen. We've compiled 25 great ideas, ranging from quick and simple gifts (perfect if you're working with kids) to more intricate projects that call for a little extra time and patience.
Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.
Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.
CINNAMON MARSHMALLOW STARS
40 minutes, plus at least 4 hours drying time / Makes about 100 (1 1/2 -inch) stars
Note: For basic marshmallows, omit the cinnamon or substitute a flavoring of choice (lemon, almond or coconut in place of vanilla). The marshmallows can be cut into any shape desired.
1 cup water, divided
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Powdered sugar for dusting and coating
1. Place one-half cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
2. In a medium, heavy-bottom pan, add the remaining one-half cup water and stir in the sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the mixture, swirling the pan occasionally, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (the mixture will be frothy and bubbling vigorously). Meanwhile, butter a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line with parchment and butter the parchment too.
3. Whisk the gelatin mixture on low speed and add the 240-degree syrup down the side of the bowl in a steady, slow stream. Gradually raise the speed to high and whisk until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and has tripled in volume, about 12 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk until thoroughly combined.
4. Using a lightly greased spatula, immediately spread the mixture out onto the baking sheet, smoothing it so an even layer completely covers the pan. Let stand, uncovered, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight to set.
5. When the marshmallows have set, dust the top with a light coat of powdered sugar. Coat small cookie cutters with powdered sugar and cut out as many as you can from the sheet. Dust the marshmallows with a little more sugar so that they don't stick together. Store in a sealed container for up to one week.
Each marshmallow: 17 calories; 0 protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 5 mg. sodium.