Yes, you read that right - Christmas! Traditionally, I have held a Christmas In July Craft Day at my home where everyone either brings a craft project to work on or I supply the idea and we all learn something new that we can then make for gifts at Christmas. It seems that a lot of times, we get lots of good ideas really close to Christmas and don't have as much time to make or implement them.
But, this year, I'm not able to host my usual Craft Day, since I am doing as little as possible in waiting for the coming baby (don't want her to come too early!) so I'm going to share my ideas here. I have enough ideas written down to share one every day of July - but since I'll probably have a new baby sometime this month, can't promise we'll get to all of them in July. I'll just share what I can and we'll continue in August if necessary!
So, put on some Christmas music and let the crafting begin! If you have ideas of homemade gifts to make and share, please post them on your blog and let us know through the comments that you have ideas too! The more the merrier! :)
Here's our first idea:
Merry Marshmallows (from Martha Stewart Living)
Makes 16 2-inch squares
Vegetable-oil Cooking Spray
2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 oz each) unflavored gelatin
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 tsp. red food coloring
1. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 c. water in a small asucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 on a candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 c. water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12-15 mintues.
4. Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbelized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.
Package 6 or 8 in a small cellophane bag to give as a gift in itself or with homemade hot choc mix (coming up in a future post). In the magazine, they attached a cute tag that said, "Merry Marshmallows" - cute!