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Fact: when I cook or bake – but ESPECIALLY when I bake – my kitchen looks like an explosion in a paper towel factory.
A fact I am not proud of.
This is a habit I’ve tried to break, off and on over the years, with very little success.
Which is why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try new Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths – and to challenge myself with a big mess to clean up in the process!
And I couldn’t think of a messier task – but one yielding in some super delicious results – than homemade marshmallows.
I really thought about how I tackle messy kitchen tasks, and the things I do automatically now after all these years, to keep things streamlined and under control. And it came down to three “golden rules” that I follow each and every time I cook or bake:
1. Read through the recipe (a few times) – I do this for a few reasons. First, it helps familiarize me with the process, and get ingredients ready to go (like butter that needs to come to room temperature, or water that needs to start boiling). I also like to measure and consolidate as many ingredients in advance as possible. So I’ll typically put all the dry and wet ingredients together in their respective bowls, grease and line baking pans, and get other odd items measured. When I actually start baking or cooking, everything’s ready to go.
2. Have a “messy” bowl (or two) – before I begin I take out a small bowl for dirty measuring spoons and other tools. As I use them they go right into the bowl, creating less mess on my counter (and keeping the tools close by in case I need them again later on).
3. Clean as you go (or pre-soak otherwise) – I hate facing down a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of a baking marathon. So whenever possible I try to clean up bowls and utensils as I finish using them. This isn’t always possible – as in the case of these marshmallows, which have to get from mixer to pan very quickly. In that case I set up a large bowl filled with warm soapy water, which helps immeasurably in making clean-up easier later on.
And as excited as I am to share this delicious recipe with you, I am equally excited about my new dish cloths! Because in addition to my three “golden rules”, having the right tools for cleaning makes all the difference. And those little scrubbing dots handled the marshmallow-y mess like a boss, without scratching my pans and bowls (my future manicures are already thanking me).
I found the full selection of dish cloths at Target (good news! From 6/26 – 7/2 you can save on Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths with this Cartwheel offer).
And in addition to thoroughly and easily cleaning up this huge mess, the cloths can be machine washed and dried (so long, icky sponges!), and the 2-packs come in gray, mint, coral, and navy (for $4.99 at Target). Of course I loved the gray!
Check out more great recipes and cleaning tutorials here; now let’s make some marshmallows!
If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before, let me share THESE facts:
They are so above and beyond more amazing than store bought.
They are WAY easier than you think – for real.
Once you make them? You’ll be hooked, and thinking about every possible flavor you can and will make.
They make a mess.
This last fact should in no way deter you from trying your hand at marshmallows. It’s simply a fact. You’re working with some big, sticky batter, greased utensils and a mega ton of powdered sugar at the end.
Having made plain-old marshmallows before, I decided to go big – both flavor-wise and mess-wise – by whipping up a batch of speculoos-flavored marshmallows, filled with salted caramel.
What are your tips and tricks for keeping kitchen messes under control?
marshmallow recipe from One Girl Cookies
1 cup cold water, divided
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup cookie butter (also called speculoos spread, or Biscoff spread)
3/4 cup salted caramel sauce
Cut out two sheets of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with one of the parchment paper sheets – spray the paper too. Spray the other sheet of parchment with cooking spray and set aside, sprayed side up.
Put 1/2 cup cold water in your mixer bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and set aside.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Stir, over medium heat, till sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cover. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove lid and insert a thermometer, being careful not to agitate the pot. Continue boiling until the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Remove pan from heat.
Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer to low speed and carefully pour the hot syrup over the gelatin mixture. Increase speed to high and beat for 8 minutes. With mixer still running, add vanilla. Continue beating for 7 minutes. Add the cookie butter and quickly fold in, using a greased rubber spatula. Scrape half the marshmallow into your prepared pan. Dollop spoonfuls of the caramel sauce over the top and cover with the remaining marshmallow mixture. Place the reserved sheet of parchment paper – sprayed side down – over the top of the marshmallow and use your hands to smooth and level the surface. Remove the paper and let marshmallow set overnight.
Sprinkle a cutting board generously with confectioner’s sugar. Turn the marshmallow out onto the board, and sprinkle the top with more confectioner’s sugar. Using a knife that has been sprayed with cooking spray, cut marshmallows into squares. Coat cut sides with additional sugar if you like.
Store marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt