Homemade Marshmallows

We made homemade marshmallows around Christmastime a couple years ago, and I wasn't impressed enough to make them a second time. But Abe and Seb, apparently, remembered things differently, so they were asking and asking if we could make them again this year. I said yes, if we could try a different recipe. I think I was out of something last time . . . gelatin? or eggs? . . . so I looked specifically for a recipe that didn't use whatever-it-was. And as I said, they were okay, but not amazing---they were sort of flat and, after a few days, sticky.  This time, unfettered by missing ingredients, I chose this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which promised "springy" marshmallows.

And they were great!  It's a good recipe, not difficult to put together, and just as springy and fluffy  as promised. And they were delicious in hot chocolate. We did try s'mores with some of them, and I didn't think the marshmallows held up that well for s'mores. Maybe it was that we didn't have a good campfire to roast them over, but they never developed that nice crispy shell on the outside---they sort of just got dark brown, and too melty on the inside. So I don't think I'd make them just for s'mores. Maybe for s'mores bars? But I don't know.

I guess to be honest, I don't love marshmallows that much plain anyway. I like them in things (hot chocolate, and s'mores) but I don't think homemade are SO MUCH better as to make them one of those "you-MUST-make-the-homemade-kind" treats. However, as something fun to do with the kids in wintertime, and as something to make your hot chocolate seem extra-special, I guess I might make them again. Am I overselling them? :) Let's just say if you WANT to try homemade marshmallows, I think this recipe is a winner. (And they are so CUTE! Very photogenic; I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.) If you simply want to make some sort of homemade candy that's really much more amazing than the storebought kind, try homemade twix. :)

Still here? Let us proceed. My notes are in italics.

Marshmallows
Recipe from Gourmet, via Smitten Kitchen

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Good things about Christmas Break

Little Eskimo in her furry hood

I've loved our Christmas Break this year. It was fun to be busy with preparations, and then it was just as much fun to be DONE with everything and just rest for a few days. Ahhh. It has been SO nice to sit around doing (practically) nothing.
Happy train-riders

Worried Santa

Sam got a wood-burner earlier this month and has been going around the house burning designs into any wood object he can find. I love the things he makes.
Penguins

I crocheted a mama penguin. She has an egg tucked inside her, which turns inside-out to become a penguin chick. Because I was making up the pattern as I went, these penguins went through some very interesting iterations.
This is my first attempt. The poor sad baby!  But Daisy loves him anyway (this one went to her), so it's okay.

Here is Malachi coming in all rosy-cheeked to tell me about his adventures sledding---while I sit tucked warm in my bed. Oh how I love having older boys that can take the younger ones out into the freezing world so I don't have to!

Junie gets in on the picture

"FBI warning: if the athority is prospected you can coppy this movie but, if it isint you will be cot! thanks!"

Sebby was making a movie (out of paper . . . yes, it had many pages) and this was the FBI warning "screen."  I love it so much. It has just the right type of meaningless bureaucrat-speak, combined with appropriately dire threats. And the falsely bright "thanks!" at the end for good measure.
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Lussekatter (Saffron Lucia Buns)

I can't believe I've never made these buns before. They are SO good, and the more I ate them, the more I liked them! They're just slightly sweet---not quite like a cinnamon roll. They're soft and fragrant and the pearl sugar adds a delightful crunch on top. I hadn't ever cooked with saffron before and it gives them such a gorgeous color, and flavor. Saffron is expensive, but I found it at World Market for a pretty good price. And having tasted these buns I would buy it again! I think we'll make these every year.

The Swedes (and the Danes) make these for Santa Lucia Day on December 13th. The oldest girl in the family wears a white dress with a red sash, and crown of candles on her head, and serves these to her family. When I was little I wanted to do this so much!
We have a candle crown, but it's too big and heavy for Daisy! And my mom made her this little white dress.
Luckily we had a paper candle crown, too. Much lighter.
She looked so cute.

On to the recipe! I found it on this excellent blog, and there's really no need for me to reproduce it here because he does it so well, except that maybe you wouldn't run across these buns at all otherwise. So I can at least introduce you to the idea of them!
Look at the beautiful yellow of this saffron-infused milk!

Lussekatter
(recipe from here)

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Various people, mostly small ones

A funny hat

They go

Sunset at Temple Square

Junie wrapped in packing material (this was not MY doing)

The Young Women gathered adoringly around Daisy
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California visit

Last month I told the boys we were going to have a quick* visit with Philip and Allison and Benjamin in California, and the first thing they said---I'm not kidding---was "THE HOOVER DAM!!" We had told them we'd visit it next time we drove to California because it was sort of on the way, and they remembered and held us to it. The wrinkle this added to our schedule was that we had to break the drive into two days (usually we plow through in one), which meant staying at a hotel on the way, which was yet another bonus feature for the children. They looove staying in hotels.
*It seemed too quick to us, but for Philip and Allison who had to make quadruple amounts of every meal and listen to children rampaging up and down the stairs and in and out the door every few minutes, it was no doubt quite sufficient.
The hotel had swans in it.

The Hoover Dam was a worthwhile stop; very interesting and beautiful. I believe it was all the boys had hoped for. (!)
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Christmastime

I love this time of year. Luminarias.

Advent.

Æbleskiver. Really the very cutest breakfast (or dinner), as I always say.

And soft, stripy pajamas.
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