Sunday, 18 December 2011

Chocolate Marshmallows (vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free)

Not your typical snowman shape, I'll give you that

Before Children I had big plans for Christmas.  My offspring were going to be dressed in crimson coats with black Victorian boots.  December would mainly see us ice-skating with rosy cheeks and white fur muffs (steady), our faces lit by twinkling fairy lights.  Yes, I’d fallen hook, line and sinker for those whimsical Christmas card scenes.  

Somewhere during the shambolic (ok, drunken) Christmases of Since Children, my standards have slipped.  But apparently that’s OK because this year – the most disorganised one to date – the kids have been listing the family traditions that they love so much.  Predictably, the festive bits they love are either not of my making or have been born of necessity.

The first tradition is the Christmas CD.  When the kids were young, we played those ghastly children’s music CDs in the car.  I drew the line on December 1st, deciding that the festive month should not be killed by terrible music.  And so the strains of Fairytale of New York and Stevie Nicks warbling ‘Silent Night’ are Christmas classics played on a loop from December 1st.

The kids love these songs.  Two of the girls were dancing to Fairytale of New York the other evening and it was a heart-warming sight.  Although I did gulp a little when the six-year-old belted out:

‘You scumbag, you maggot/ you cheap lousy faggot/
Merry Christmas you arse/ I pray God it’s our last.’

Festive prettiness.  Who cares if you haven't sent any cards?

Another tradition is festive child-labour.  Because I’m so last-minute, the kids have to peel potatoes and sprouts, decorate the Christmas cake and make mince pies.  Oh and rustle up a chocolate log if I haven’t done it.  Apparently as long as said festive music is playing, they love it. 

Rule number 1 for Christmas morning?   You may not wake us before 7am.  So when the kids wake at silly o’clock they creep into eldest sister’s room  (I’m sure she has insomnia) where they are allowed to open one present.  And then they wait.  It sounds a bit boring to me, but apparently they love it.

There are other Christmas traditions in our house.  Like the one where I think champagne for breakfast is a good idea and lunch doesn’t get served until 4pm.  Not a problem because their Dad says they can fill up on chocolate.  What’s not to love?

So this Christmas, my message to you is relax, because it will all get done in the end.  Have a go at making chocolate marshmallows why don’t you?  There’s plenty of time, because life will all come together when you are looking the other way.  

 And remember; the Christmas card idyll is lies, damned lies.


Mallow Christmas! God, I'm so funny.

Chocolate Marshmallows

After all the build-up, you're thinking that I'm about to deliver a complicated, secret recipe where I tell you how to make the marshmallows, right?  Umm, no.  I'm using the term 'recipe' loosely when really I should be saying 'technique'.  Or even 'thing' might cover it because it certainly ain't cooking.  My peculiarly-shaped snowman is made with vegan marshmallows from Sweet Vegan and the other ones pictured are gelatinous mallows which my children love. And I do point out that they contain dead animal but I get the 'yeah, whatever' treatment. Sigh.

You will need:
Marshmallows, gelatine-filled or vegan
100g-200g Dairy free dark chocolate (how much you need depends on how many marshmallows you want to make)
Pretty, gluten free and wheat free decorations (Carnival Sprinkelz are good)
Oasis for holding the lollipop sticks, or a potato with holes in will do, explanation to follow

A word of caution: the vegan marshmallow are quite flimsy and have trouble staying on the lollipop sticks; they tend to slide down them which is pretty disheartening. Oh but I've just remembered, I did some melted chocolate trickery, so let's get back to the recipe! (Sorry, it's Christmas and I've had a festive tipple.)
  • To hold the lollipop sticks you will need either oasis, (available online or from a florists) or a few potatoes which you cut in half and then make holes in them with a skewer into which you will insert your lollipop stick.  Really hoping that explanation is crystal clear...piginthekitchen@hotmail.com if it isn't
  • Melt the chocolate in a bain marie over a gentle heat. Take a marshmallow - vegan or non - and use a skewer to make a small incision in the base.  Then drip in a drop of melted chocolate and insert the lollipop stick (heavens! this sounds rude!) into the crevice.  Put the lollipop stick in the oasis or potato and leave to set while you continue with stick insertion with the other marshmallows ('Sentences you never thought you'd write.')
  • If the chocolate in the bain marie has solidified, gently re-heat. Then holding the marshmallow (on a stick) over the chocolate, ladle chocolate over until the marshmallow is covered.  Let excess choc drip into the bain marie, then put the mallow on the stick into the oasis/potato to dry.  Repeat until the marshmallows are covered
  • When the chocolate on the marshmallows has set slightly, add pretty sprinkles/decorations.  Leave until chocolate has set completely.  Serve and sing Christmas carols if you wish
  • To make the snowman.  The picture says it all but I'll do my best to explain.
  • Coat two marshmallows in chocolate and squidge them on top of each other.  Put them on a plate and leave until the chocolate is almost set, then grate white (vegan) chocolate over
  • Stick the silver eyes on using melted chocolate.  Use the end of a cocktail stick to drip some choc onto his tummy to make buttons and give him a chocolate smile.  Broken cocktail sticks make good 'arms'
  • Voila! Merry Christmas


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