It’s two days after Labor Day, and about time I got up my first bake sale week post, wouldn’t you say? Before I go diving into the fall, I just want to say a few words about summer. With two moves, a crazy diet, a month of running every day, and a sad attempt at online dating, I’m not gonna lie to you: I’m glad it’s over. I’d like to get back to a the semblance of a normal life. But I can’t say goodbye to this season without first acknowledging my deep appreciation to the gods of summer fashion who decided beach hair should be the “in” thing this year. I have waited thirty-six years for my hair in its natural state to be the mode, and finally, this year, it was. And so was my daughter’s. We enjoyed several months of no blow-drying, and letting our hair do its thing. I fully intend to go with this look for long past the time when the fashion gods decide we should be coiffing again.

Who’s with me?

We’ve never done marshmallows for bake sale week. Once, Ina Garten had an episode where she made homemade marshmallows for a bake sale, and I couldn’t think of a better thing to donate. They’d sell like hotcakes, for sure, and they’re pretty cheap to make, costing about $2 for a huge batch. And since some people still think making homemade marshmallows are like dabbling in wizardry, you’re looking at a huge markup for the fundraiser. The only thing you need is a little planning. You’ve got to make them a day before so they have time to dry out. For your own marshmallows, you can go ahead and make them with the caramel stripes like I did, or you can get creative. Ina made hers with toasted coconut on the top and the bottom (instead of the powdered sugar), or you could even put jimmies (sprinkles, funfetti—whatever you call them) on the top and bottom. I hear those are big sellers at bake sales. Whatever you decide to do with your marshmallows, let us know what you did. We’d love to hear about it.

Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

Because you’ll be swirling in caramel, these marshmallows will take longer to dry. If you decide to leave out the caramel, you’ll only need to let them dry overnight, cut them up, and toss them in about 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel (recipe can be found here, second recipe down)

1. Using a sieve or a sifter, dust 1/2 cup powdered sugar into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan. Set aside. Pour 3/4 cup of water into the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle over gelatin and allow to bloom. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

2. Set sugar mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture starts to bubble, stop stirring, but swirl the pan occasionally if necessary to distribute the heat evenly. Bring mixture to 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Set the mixer to low, and slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup. Once the syrup is well incorporated, turn the mixer to high and mix for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture is white, fluffy, and glossy.

3. Working quickly, stir in the caramel, and pour into prepared pan. Dust with remaining powdered sugar. Allow to dry over night. Turn onto a board. Use kitchen shears to cut into squares, and allow squares to dry to for several more hours. Enjoy within three days.

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