Monday, January 3, 2011

Wait, What?? 2011 already???

I don't know how it happened. Another year slipped by right out from under me and I'm not 100% sure I was fully conscious for parts of it.  Like summer.  I don't think I had a real summer. The cool summer weather in Southern California was much more recognizable as Fall or Winter than of an actual summer, hence my feeling of being cheated out of a summer.  Since my battle with time is a losing campaign, I must look ahead. 

2011 is a milestone year for me as I turn another decade older [Geez...did I just share that information???].  No longer will I be able to check off the 35 - 39 box.  Luckily, this time I'm not scared or freaked out as I was when I left my 20's. My 30's were fantastic years...I traveled, I worked, I ran, and I met a huge host of people.  I expect my 40's to be even better years since the things that worried me in my 20's and 30's seem so insignificant compared to the bigger picture of life.  I've learned to appreciate people and things so much more now that I've actually had a chance to live a little.

Losing a dear friend who barely turned 30 opened my eyes to what really matters in life - good health, good friends & family members, and just being - having the opportunity to wake up in the morning or sleep in all day. Yes, having a job is important but is having a job that you hate more important than your general well being? That's for you to decide...I'm blessed with a job that I love and am excited to go to every single day.  I took a pay cut when I first came to this job because it meant more to me to love my job than what I had in my bank account. 

This past year, I've had the opportunity to develop my other passions - knitting, cooking and traveling. Most importantly, I've been richly blessed by all the people I've met and now call "friends".  While they are too numerous to mention here [and you know who you are!!!], each person I have met has enriched my life for the better and I appreciate you. The Japanese have a New Year's saying, "Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.  Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu," or "Happy New Year. I hope to count on you again this year."

At the beginning of this New Year, I'd like to share with you my favorite sweet, hoping that it'll leave a sweet taste in your mouth all year long - The Scotchmallow.  See's candy makes this and I literally dig through the box to seek it out.  All other chocolates in the box are rubbish as far as I'm concerned.  

I've been dreaming about this candy for weeks and sadly, I didn't receive one box of See's candy this year.  It was something I had to rectify by making my own.  The best caramel recipe came from La Fuji Mama's site.  The easiest marshmallow recipe was Alton Brown's.  Combine these two and you get the ScotchMallow!

Caramel Recipe:
Obtain from La Fuji Mama's Creamy Caramel Recipe.

Instead of boiling to 245 degrees, bring it down to 235 - 240 degree soft ball stage on your candy thermometer.

Directions: Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper so removal will be easier.  Pour caramel into pan and allow to cool completely.  Gently wipe off with a paper towel any excess grease/oil.

Marshmallow Recipe
adapted from Alton Brown
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar
1 cup Glucose Syrup [or Light corn syrup]
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Powdered sugar for dusting

Have a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat prepared and dusted with powdered sugar so the mixture will not stick to the liner.

Place 1/2 cup of water with the gelatin into your mixing bowl, set aside.

Combine remaining water, sugar, glucose syrup and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook until it reaches 240 degrees on your candy thermometer.  Remove from heat immediately.  

Turn mixer on slow speed and slowly pour syrup into mixing bowl [using a stand mixer will be so much easier than a hand mixer].  Once you have added all the the syrup into the mixing bowl, turn on high and mix until the marshmallow becomes lukewarm, approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Add vanilla about 20 - 30 seconds before you are ready to turn off the mixer.

Pour a little more than half the marshmallow batter over the caramel using an oiled or wet spatula. Flatten out as much as possible and sprinkle powdered sugar over the marshmallow.  Allow to set for approximately 4 hours.

Pour the remaining batter on to the cookie sheet, sprinkle with more powdered sugar and allow to set.  You can use this marshmallow for hot cocoa or smores!

When the caramel/marshmallow mixture has set, turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares or desired shapes.  I was lazy and didn't want to spend hours dipping them so I made them fairly large.
Chocolate sauce: 
I opt to microwave my semi sweet chocolate morsels 1 cup at a time.  Dip each caramel/marshmallow into the chocolate sauce and place to dry on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

I think I may have put my colleagues into sugar shock this morning so it really is better if you cut these into 1" squares instead of the 2" behemoths that I made.  


  1. I feel so robbed... You see, I DID receive a box of See's Chocolates this Christmas but, somehow my particular box was free of these babies?!?! :/ Oh well, guess I'll just have to go ahead and make my own now. Happy New Year Jen!

  2. ARGH! that would've driven me nuts!!! To have a box of See's with no scotch mallows? who would send chocolate other than nuts & chews?? :)

  3. Hi Jen,

    I'm gonna say "Happy New Year" since there is no way I can pronounce the japanese version!!! Your scotchmallows are absolutely gorgeous and I bet they even taste better than See's!! When I first saw the photo I thought they were See's!!!

    Wishing you health, happiness and great joy this year and hoping that I will see more of you too!!

  4. Jen- these are beautiful! And potentially a real problem! I am supposed to be on a health kick. I see falling off the wagon into a marshmallow- caramel abyss real soon...

  5. Happy New Year! Sorry you didn't get any See's this year. I love my See's too. Undoubtedly I will become my sister-in-law's best friend if I make your scotchmallows for her. It is the only thing she loves in the See's box. I'll let you know how they turn out... once I figure out a time to make them. :)

  6. me want this! the all time perfect candy combo. this is always my free-bee at sees! we need a trip to sees together!


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