Thursday, July 9, 2009

100th Post Giveaway & Coconut Marshmallow Recipe

Where’s the reverse button on this thing? I’m at 100 posts already and can’t figure out how the heck I got here. I’m not ready! Where did the time go? I’m still a baby food blogger!

In honor of these new triple digits I’m giving away some homemade coconut marshmallows and one of my favorite books, “Marshmallows, Homemade Gourmet Treats” by Eileen Talanian where I found this impressive recipe. Well hopefully you’ll get the marshmallows, if I keep my paws off them long enough to send them to you! If you’ve never had homemade marshmallows you must try them! You may never eat another store bought tasteless sponge again.

All you have to do is post a note stating your favorite food and why it’s a favorite. Just write a comment, and my 7-year-old will draw a number out of a hat Tuesday July 14th at 8p.m. I’m excited to see your answers, and hope it tells me a bit about you!

I want to thank-you for all the support and friendship. I didn’t really understand what a food blog was when I got started, and it’s been a pretty big learning curve. So big really, that just when I think I grasp a new idea, another one comes along and off I go again attempting to learn like crazy. This happens several times a week and I’m still climbing that mountain. So any food blog advice you want to throw at me I’m all ears!

Since my first post on March 23rd I’ve had 144,931 visits, which completely shocks me. I didn’t think my food blog would get much attention, but I guess I was wrong. Although that first post of Plum Good Sour Cream Coffee Cake never got any love! Through this process I’m learning how to be a better food photographer, writer, and cook.

I’ve also met wonderful new friends here. Many stand out, but I want to honor the first. Kathia Castro from I didn’t know it at the time, but she had been ogling my food images over on MySpace. She didn’t have an account so she never commented, but she got here almost the day I started writing. She then immediately introduced and advertised my blog on hers. Kathia believed in me before I even had a clue what I was doing, and with that little post of hers I found the courage to jump into this project. Kathia, I am more grateful for you than you know.

There are so many others to mention, Kim (Red), Veronica, Krista, Marina, Cheryl, and many others from MySpace who have motivated and encouraged me. Thank-you for your friendships. Thank-you Patricia, Mary, Marta, Sherri, Esi, Monique, Mari, Donna, Heather, Ginger, Jamie, Kevin, Linda, Finsmom and anyone else I am forgetting to mention from blogger. Your comments, your blogs, and your friendships help me grow and learn. (I’ll add you if I forgot you, just yell!)

Thank-you for coming along on this journey with me. It means the world to me.

Marshmallow Syrup
This is the syrup used to make all the recipes in Talanian’s book. It makes approximately 1 quart, which will keep in a covered jar for up to two months at room temperature. You must let the syrup cool for 15 minutes before pouring into jars, or it will crystallize.

Author’s Notes: The syrup will be very thick once it cools. To use it, microwave for 2 minutes on high power. Do not stir the syrup.

Please read all the instructions and have everything in place before beginning.

2 cups water
5 1/3 cups granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of Salt

Place the ingredients in a heavy 4-quart saucepan, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula until the sugar is moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cover the pan for 2 minutes to allow steam to wash any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Then uncover the pan, insert a candy thermometer, and increase the heat to high. Do not stir it at all once you have removed the lid of the syrup will crystallize as it cools. Continue cooking until it reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool for 15 minutes. Ladle into clean jars and attach the lids.

Store it at room temperature for up to two months. If the syrup begins to form crystals at the bottom of the jar, don’t be alarmed; pour out the amount of syrup you need when you use it, without scraping the jar. Discard any crystallized part that is left in jar.

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
It’s essential to use “lite” coconut milk. The marshmallow batter cannot support all that fat. Please read all the instructions first and have everything in place before starting.

For the bloom:
4 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup “lite” coconut milk

For the Base:
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons water
1 ½ cups Marshmallow Syrup
2 cups granulated cane sugar
Pinch of salt
Additional flavoring
¼ cup “lite” coconut milk

For the Coating:
2 cups coconut (I used organic unsweetened)

Prepare a pan (9x13 or close to that) by coating it with nonstick spray, then wiping it lightly with a paper towel so that only a thin film of oil remains. (I used light colored olive oil instead)

First make the bloom. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and stir in the coconut milk until there are no lumps. Set the bowl near the stove.

Place the base ingredients in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for two minutes. Remove the cover, insert a candy thermometer, and cook the base to 260 degrees F. Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed. When the base reaches 260 degrees F, turn off the heat, remove the thermometer, and stir in the bloomed gelatin.

Pour the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer and gradually increase the speed to high (Use the wisk attachment). Cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 or 4 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid on yourself. Beat the batter for a total of 12 minutes.

When there is just 1 minute of beating time left, very slowly drizzle in the “lite” coconut milk. Then continue beating for another 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cure, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spread the coconut evenly in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. (My coconut toasted perfectly in 12 minutes. I stirred every 5 minutes. So check it often). Cut the marshmallows as desired, and coat them with the toasted coconut. (I oiled a pizza cutter and used a clean ruler as a cutting guide and cut them into squares). Store in an airtight container, with a corner slightly ajar, for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe from the book "Marshmallows, Homemade Gourmet Treats" by Eileen Talanian. Pictures by Laura Flowers.

Update: Clara just drew out number 37. So that would be Patricia over at Butteryum. Please send contact info soon to and I'll send you your stuff.


Anonymous said...

OMG my two favorite things!!! Marshmallows AND Coconut. Unfortunately, I super suck at making marshmallows, but I am super awesome at eating them. Haha. Your photography and blogs are so inspiring and I have sooo enjoyed our friendship. I remember the first time I saw your stuff on Foodgawker and was so impressed with your talent. Keep up the great work! You are such a gift to your readers. ~Krista (

Elissa said...

Congratulations!! The marshmallows look SO good but I am a coconut fiend. It's so hard to say what my favorite food is, but if I really had to pick I'd say spaghetti and meatballs. It's really comfort food for me. I like it swimming in tomato sauce, and I have a lot of fond memories of making everything - pasta, sauce, and meatballs - from scratch with my parents.

Mary Bergfeld said...

100 is a milestone, Laura. What makes your 100 special is that they have all been beautiful. Every single one! You'll continue to grow and are well on your way to being a blogging super star. I couldn't be more happy for you.

Foodiewife said...

I need to put on a bib, just looking at that gooey and creamy marshmallows. What is my favorite food? Hmmmm... it depends on what food photo I'm looking at. That's what I want! I'd have to say-- overall... a perfectly grilled steak, baked potato with butter, fresh chives and sour cream and a beautiful green salad. Heaven!

Fiesta Saurus Rex said...

There was a recipe for marshmellows in the "Booze bible" aka the local liquor stores strange monthly magazine... and I really wanted to try them but then obviously got distracted by my purchases that day.

Anyway - free marshmellows?! My favorite food would have to be garlic fingers - Pizza dough covered in salt, some sort of garlic butter/oil and cheese. But I only like them home made - never frozen.

(Crosses fingers! Come on awesome seven year old)

Pink Little Cake said...

100 Posts, 100 beautiful pictures. I still remember your first blogs, you didn't write anything but the recipe, some how after following you on my space I wanted to get an idea who was the woman behind the vespa!! Now I have more than an idea of who you are everytime you write a new post or when we exchange an email. CONGRATULATIONS GREAT FRIEND!! You were the one who started to bring followers to my blog. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, you really touch me, specially today that has been really hard on me ( please go to your inbox).

LoveMeKnot Creations said...

congrats on number 100 :)

I'm a lurker on your blog, and have many saved to my favorites :) Here's to another 100 more to come!!

I think my can't-live-without food would be Nutella. I use it a lot in baking (mmm nutella covered marshmallows.....) and also it's fantastic on plain ol' toast. I heart nutella and anything chocolate-y and hazelnutt-y

erin said...

tis a tough fav food fresh coconut and marshmellow of course!

lovely blog

La Table De Nana said...

I agree with everything you have said about blogging~ Who knew? And we need to come up w/ a prettier name for it!

It's just too wonderful to be called blogging.

Hopefully someone can change it~!

I have learned a lot from you also.Last night we babysat and I brought along a Couscous salad..which was your Pasta Salad/Lemon Vinaigrette/pearl recipe..but w/ orzo..My battery died while there.. of course I had taken too many photos of Lulu and Max in the first 10 no wonder:)

But it was delicious! And I have many printed and waiting.

I love coming to my Blogger page of who I follow ..and read up..some days are busier than others and I can't comment..but if I have time..I .like to.
I appreciate all the work.. care ...attention ..creativity and time you put into your blog.
The thing I like best about this the sharing.
Happy 100th.

Creative Classroom Core said...

Great looking marshmallows!
My mom LOVES these, and since we are having a big 60th birthday bash for her here in a few weeks, I think I am going to use this recipe to whip up a batch! Thanks for the great idea!

My favourite food... What a tough question! I think it would be pretty much anything enjoyed with my husband, with a glass of wine, in a kid free restaurant... Oh, the joys of a scream free meal!

On the other hand, anything my daughter and I make together is extreamely special and wonderful too. There is something really wonderful about standing over the mixer together, watching her chocolate covered face experiencing the joy of creating something yummy :)

Sherri Murphy said...

Your blog and recipes are wonderful which is why I keep returning- and I love your photos too!

I was going to say, "Mashed potatoes are my favorite food because they are delicious, versatile,warm ,creamy, fattening, & starchy thus, bringing comfort to my weary soul", but after seeing today's recipe, I'd have to say ,"Coconut Marshmallows, because you make them look irresistible in the photo!"

The Cooking Photographer said...

Ah Ha! I'll figure out who the lurkers are now! :)

louis luzzo said...

A favorite for me is difficult to say the least, as I work with food non-stop. That being said, I'll go with a simple tropical fruit, perhaps because our temps are in the high 90s, mangoes.
I lived in VT for 23 years and mangoes always reminded there were places that had sunshine and beaches.
As for your marshmallows, Louis, my partner, loves them, they'd be a gift for him.
Nice way to celebrate your success. Congratulations!

April said...

Never had a homemade marshmallow! Have a feelin it would become an obsession!!! My favorite food... Man, that's REALLY tough. I love food, all kinds... My very fav, just can't resist it would probably be ice cream. We've been hitting 100+ days here in TX and it's perfect to cool down. I especially enjoy it since I got my ice cream maker and can make it myself!!!

Lori R. said...

Well, anything you have posted has been my favorite food. actually I change quite frequently re: favs. Last week, it was Spring Salad, ya know cut up veggies and a sweet mao sauce with pasta. This week after tomorrow it might be coconut marshmallows... CONGRATS on your 100th post!!!! I'm on 60 and you reminded me that it sneeks up on you fast, I better start thinking about it!!!

Heather said...

Congratulations on 100 posts!

Carrie said...

my favorite food is chocolate because it just tastes so good.

Erin from Long Island AKA Garden Goddess said...

Hey lady! Why didnt I know about this blog sooner? Congrats on the centenial!!

My fav food...? HA! That's like asking a parent their favorite child! I seem to be on a real Indian food kick lately, ut I could never narrow it down to one dish.

I have never tried homemade marshmallows, but I know I would love them!

Anonymous said...

I love dark chocolate with raspberry anything. Especially chocolate lava cakes.

Heather S-G said...

Thank you so much, Laura! You have an amazing and inspiring blog yourself. I always look forward to reading, drooling, tummy-growling when I visit! Congrats on hitting 100 and awesome giveaway. I have been trying to work up the courage to make homemade marshmallows...if I win, I can wait a little longer ;)

Veronica Miller said...

You may be surprised that you've already made it to your 100th post and that your blog has become so popular, but I'm not! You make wonderful food, take incredible pictures and your blogs are very well-written. The perfect combinantion to make a successful food blog (in my amateur oppinion)! Thank YOU for being such an inspiration as well. Keep up the good work.

Anyway, I love this idea of a give-away! Maybe if I ever become a dedicated blogger (other than myspace I mean) I'll steal this idea. My favorite food? OMgosh, isn't that like picking your favorite child????!!!!! Seriously, I can NOT just pick a single food. But I CAN choose a particular type of food and that's DESSERT. More specifically, cookies. I love cookies but for some reason I don't make them very often. Guess that's a good thing (for my waistline, at least).

P.S. I can't believe you make your own marshmallows! It will be YEARS before I try it myself...unless I win yours and find out their SO good that I have to start immediately. :)

Julia said...

I love bread and butter! A nice crusty thick piece of bread with good butter.

Unknown said...

i love marshmallows!!! favorite food- love panang curry!!!

Carol said...

Congratulations on your 100th post Laura! I always love coming and looking at your beautiful pictures and drool over these yummy recipes!
My favorite food? Oh boy-that's a hard one....growing up Italian, it seems all we did was eat!
I would have to say my "guilty pleasure" is cheesecake......I savor every bite because I don't have it often.
Although-these coconut marshmallows look pretty darned tempting!!! :)

Dianna said...

Soup! With fresh bread, of course.

Donna-FFW said...

Congrats on your 100 posts!! Way to go. here's to 100 more.. I'm holding up a mojito.

My fav meal would have to be the comfort meal my hubby cooks for me, the chicken mutz and butterred peas. Always made with love and always made for a reason.. why its my favorite!

Unknown said...

I am crazy for coconut...can't wait to try this latest recipie... and marshmallows...oh me aand hot chocloate are going to have a few dates together with some marshmallow along for the ride

Esi said...

Laura - congratulations on 100 posts!! Food blogging is so much fun especially when I get to "meet" great people such as you!

Deborah said...

Congrats on 100 posts - what a big milestone!! I've never made homemade marshmallows, but they are on my list of things I want to try. I don't know if I'd ever be able to choose just one food as my favorite - I like food too much! But right now I'm craving cheesecake...

Helen said...

Hi Laura-- LOVE your blog and have found some favorites for my recipes for my collection (in particular the lemon cheesecake cookies)

My favorite food?: my mom's beef noodle soup. It is the most extraordinary combination of Taiwanese comfort in one noodley lovliness. Think lean cuts of beef, bok choy, udon noodles, pickled veggies, all simmering in a slow-cooked broth made of five spice,chicken broth, soy, sesame and shitake mushrooms... yum!!! It is the taste of home and makes me appreciate my amazing mother.

Fiona said...

Congrats! I am salivating over the marshmallows!

nooschi said...

Congrats on making it to 100 posts! Your coconut marshmallows look so good! My favorite food? I love anything sour so I would have to say that my favorite is a Persian saffron rice dish with sour barberries. It's amazing.

oneordinaryday said...

Hmm. My favorite food would have to be fresh-picked red raspberries ... still warm from the sun. : ) Just love those.

Congratulations on 100 posts!!

tspegar said...

I can't choose one so I can make a nice list :) I own a gourmet food shop and work with food every day! Your mallow's look fantastic! I LOVE: sushi with lot's of lemon rolled inside, creamy key lime tarts from a local bakery around here, my mom's chicken noodle soup, pasta drowned in browned butter and cheese, grilled nachos... and I wll stop there :) Pretty pictures :)

Marta said...

Congratulations on the 100th post! Time flies!!!
And these marshmallows look delicious, toasted coconut on anything makes it heavenly!
Thanks for the giveaway, that's very generous of you :)
Let see, my favourite food...
My morning bowl of cereal which contains the following: grapes, strawberries, almonds, Fiber One, flax seeds, bran, psyllium, cinnamon and 1% milk.
It's my favourite because (1) I'm a fiber-Nazi and try to get those 30 gr a day at all cost! Also, (2) because I have like a little ceremony around preparing it, it takes a bit of time, but it calms me down and comforts me. And (3) it's so healthy I just feel like a got a great start to my day!

Sara said...

WOW, those marshmallows look totally awesome! Yum. :)

It's really hard to pick a favorite food, but I think I'd have to go with pizza, because it's so delicious and so versatile...I pretty much like all the kinds, from Pizza Hut to homemade to the local gourmet vegetarian pizza place. Yum!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

:) - what a wonderfully friendly blog world we live in!! You're one of my blog idols ;).

Congrats on your 100th post Laura! Let's see... my absolute favorite thing to eat is eggplant parmesan - I requested for my birthday dinner every single year when I was growing up. I can't tell you why, but to me, it's pure heaven!

Here's to the next 100!!!

Jan said...

YUM! I can't wait to make these! My favorite food would have to be sushi.

throuthehaze said...

oh those marshmallows look delicious! My fave food is CUPCAKES! I'm glad I have some self control or I would stuff my face with cupcakes all day.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Pink Little Cake said...

I forgot to tell you that my favorite food is chicken, I definitly want my name in the hat!! Your marshmallows and a cup of coffee...yum

Emi said...

I love eating Pork and Chive dumplings. they're so flavorful and they are a reminder that some good things come in small packages. =)

Amanda said...

Salsa! Preferably homemade, but practically anything will work. The spicier the better :)

Lauren said...

The marshmallows look wonderful! I'd love to know more about marshmallow making. That book looks fabulous!

My favorite food is chocolate chip cookies, hands down. Haven't come across anything better in life... yet. :)

Unknown said...

congrats! these look delicious.

I think that my favorite food is probably peanut butter. So full of protein, so classic, and so versatile. It can go in pastas, stews, sandwiches, sauces, soups, as a spread, or, my favorite, in deserts!

Kassy said...

Congrats on 100 posts! My favorite food would be cheese! I love cheese :)

Sonya said...

Congratulations! Well, my favorite food would have to be soup. It cleans out my fridge, comforts me, fills in as breakfst, lunch, dinner or a snack, and warms me through....or cools me down! (Though I'm still more adept at making hot soups than chilled ones.)

Kami said...

Wow, those look heavenly! My favorite food is chocolate brownies. They always smell way too good when they are baking. Yum!

greenbean said...

my favorite food is cereal! it's good anytime of day. it's carb-y and sweet and fills me up. lgreen3 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...


ikkinlala said...

My favourite food is potatoes, because they're good cooked in so many different ways.

Jamie said...

Laura, I am honored, flattered and thrilled to be mentioned in that great line-up of bloggers and friends. I love your blog and do indeed feel a friendship across the miles and airwaves. It is friendships like this that keep me going and inspire me to cook, bake, blog and do it all a bit better everyday.

Congrats on your 100th post (I completely missed my own!) and sorry I missed this great give-away - you know I moved and then promptly lost my internet connection for 2 weeks. I must try making these marshmallows!

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