Winter Immunity Boost: Roast Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Honey-Mustard Glazed Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Honey-Mustard Glazed Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes

Flu season is upon us.  Am I going to get it?  Nope!  Not going to do that.  Cold season?   No, get outta here with that stuff.

Feeling achy?  Sniffles?  Congestion?  Don’t have time for it!

There’s no guarantee, of course, but I’m doing everything I can to keep the sickness ‘bugs” away from our door.  How, you might be asking?  I’m preparing as much healthy produce as I possibly can and shoving it into our mouths 2-3 times a day.

In the morning it could be a green smoothie,  for lunch a salad with both cooked and raw veggies, throw in some citrus for good measure; and for dinner at least two veggie side dishes per meal.   I haven’t  fallen in love with every combination I’ve put together, but there have been several that I will be making again.  This is one of them.

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Parsnips are a late fall vegetable, harvested after frosts have set in, as they need the cold weather to convert their starches into sugar.  They are not a vegetable that I cook with any frequency, since up until now, I hadn’t found a way to prepare them that was terribly appealing.  In this dish, however, the parsnips are combined with sweet potatoes;  two vegetables that each have their own kind of sweetness.  Roasting them concentrates and blends their flavors, and then just before serving you pour a simple glaze of honey and Dijon mustard over them and toss to coat.  Well, that sauce is the magic that makes this dish sing.

I went from “not sure I’m going to like this” to “Wow, I love these”.  As I write this, it’s two days since I made the original dish and this evening  I’m making it again.  That’s how much I loved these veggies.  And Mr. D. loved them too!!  So I know I’ve got a winner in this dish.  Won’t you try it and see if you agree?

HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZED PARSNIPS AND SWEET POTATOES

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 pounds parsnips  (about 3 large or 4 medium)IMG_8954
  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2.  Prepare the vegetables.  To cut parsnips:  Trim tops and bottoms; peel, and slice in half crosswise to separate thick and narrow parts.  Halve or quarter thick parts lengthwise, until all parsnip pieces are roughly the same size. Then cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

Cut the narrow end from the thick end, then quarter the thick end.

Cut the narrow end from the thick end, then quarter the thick end.

 To cut sweet potatoes:  quarter them lengthwise so they are about the same thickness as the parsnips, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

3.  Put the parsnips and sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and add the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Spread seasoned veggies on a baking sheet.

Spread seasoned veggies on a baking sheet.

Roast until tender and golden, tossing once or twice, about 30 minutes.  Transfer into a serving bowl.

4.  In a small bowl, stir together honey and mustard.

Whisk together the honey and mustard.

Whisk together the honey and mustard.

Pour over vegetables, toss to coat.  Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.  Serve immediately.

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Isn’t this dish brightly colored and beautiful?   I mean… vitamin C,  vitamin A…..   There’s no way a cold is getting us down.   Knock on wood!

 

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart Living

 

 

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It’s a day that revolves around family and food;  a time to think about all the blessings in our lives and to remember all the things for which we are thankful.  The menu that gets served for Thanksgiving dinner is pretty traditional.  Although I like to get creative, Thanksgiving is not the time when I want to have dishes on the table that contain unrecognizable ingredients.

Sweet potato generally is not a vegetable that my family serves, although once in a while we do have a small bowl of them mashed.  This year however, I am making a baked casserole in the Southern tradition.  I auditioned it in advance to see how it would come out before springing it on my family.   It passed the test big time!!   Mr. D. pronounced it “fantastic”.   This is not the usual sweet potato casserole with marshmallows melted and toasty on top.  This one has a crumb topping with pecans in it.  It is so yummy, I would be happy eating it for dessert.  I think this dish is about to become one of our new traditions…..

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Please note:  in the pictures that follow, the quantities you see are reduced from the recipe as I made a smaller version using only 2 large sweet potatoes.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Yield:   Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 – 5 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes.

    Cut up sweet potatoes into small(ish) cubes.

    Cut up sweet potatoes into small(ish) cubes.

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
.

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Directions:

1.  Put sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover.  Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain and mash with a potato masher.  Add 4 Tablespoons butter to hot potatoes and allow it to melt while you prepare the egg mixture.

Add butter to hot potatoes so it can melt in, then mash.

Add butter to hot potatoes so it can melt in, then mash.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish ( or similar size) with cooking spray and set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, mix together white sugar, eggs, salt,  milk, and vanilla until smooth.

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Add to mashed sweet potatoes and stir well to blend smooth.

Add milk/egg mixture to sweet potatoes and blend well.

Add milk/egg mixture to sweet potatoes and blend well.

Pour sweet potato mixture into prepared baking dish.

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4.  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and flour.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture looks like coarse sand.  Stir in pecan pieces.

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Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.

Sprinkle topping over sweet potato mixture.

Sprinkle topping over sweet potato mixture.

Note:  if you are making this ahead, cover it with foil and put in the fridge at this point.  Then uncover it, put it in the oven, and bake it on Thanksgiving day.  Or you can bake it in advance and just reheat it when you want to serve it.

5.  Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until mixture is heated through and  topping is lightly browned.

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SOURCE:   All Recipes Magazine

 

Sweet Potato Spice Bread

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

I’ve been spending some of my time weeding out my closets, getting rid of those oldies that I no longer wear.  Every few years I “bite the bullet’ and make some hard decisions about letting go of some favorite clothes.  Even though I loved them once, some things are no longer right because of changing fashions, changing fit, or no longer appropriate.  Ba-bye, mini skirt!

In doing this, I’ve reacquainted myself with some of my fall clothes, but strangely my jeans seem to have somehow shrunken in the closet since the last time I wore them.  Do jeans shrink from neglect?  I think so!   I’ve also rediscovered my collection of scarves.  Scarves are neck warmers and are perfectly acceptable to wear in public or at home.  Once your neck gets used to the comfort of a scarf, it feels cold without one.   I think I need a few more 🙂

Speaking of comfort and wanting to feel warm,  I’m really getting into the color orange in a big way.  Orange is such a HOT color whether you wear it or eat it.  So orange colored foods are on my wanna-eat list.  There’s no use fighting it, so let’s rediscover some old things and make them new again. Like this recipe for Sweet Potato Spice bread.  It offers a familiar comfort that I’m looking for these days.  While I’ve made this recipe many times in the past, I don’t think I’ve gotten around to sharing it with you.  This time I’ve replaced the canola oil with coconut oil, swapped out the granulated sugar for honey and some molasses and for a tad of extra spiciness I added the slightest dash of black pepper for a little mystery.  I like to layer flavors in everything I make.  Little things can make a big difference.

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An added feature of this recipe is that it makes 2 mini loaves, or 1 small loaf.  Perfect for a single person or a couple.  And its also great for gift-giving.  With the holidays not too far away, this is a recipe to save for future reference.

These sweet potatoes are the first of the season, and we love them roasted, so if I’m roasting a few sweet potatoes I roast a lot.

Roast Sweet Potatoes

Roast Sweet Potatoes

They’re great for dinner with lots of butter and a bit of broccoli, they are wonderful in Sweet potato and pecan waffles, and don’t get me started on sweet potato pie.  This recipe uses only 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato, so you can easily make these loaves with just a small amount of leftover sweet potato.

What are we waiting for?   Let’s get going…..

SWEET POTATO SPICE BREAD

Yield:   2 mini loaves:  5 3/4″ x 3″

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flourIMG_8269
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each,  cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten  ( vegans, use egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Grease two mini loaf pans,  5 3/4″ x 3″ x 2″.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper.

Don't forget that dash of black pepper!

Don’t forget that dash of black pepper!

3.  In a small bowl, combine the egg and mashed sweet potato, stirring well.  Add the honey, coconut oil, and molasses.   Whisk to incorporate.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just to moisten.

Wet meets day.

Wet meets day.

Fold in the walnuts.

5.  Divide batter between two mini loaf pans, and bake at 350*F. for 25 – 30 minutes.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

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SOURCE:    This recipe is of unknown origin,  It’s an adaptation of one I’ve had forever.

 

 

How to Make Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

I wonder who Anna was.  Her name has become associated with this potato dish that, I think, most of us assume is something quite fancy.  Well think again, it may look fancy when served, but it’s not fancy to make.  Do you love thinly sliced potatoes cooked till brown and crispy?  Well that’s what this dish is all about.  You can make it with all one kind of potato or use a variety of potatoes.  In the version that I made recently I used a white baking potato (russet) and a large sweet potato to provide some color contrast, and increase the nutritional value of the dish.  You could also use Yukon Gold potatoes, or red-skin potatoes.

In my experience with making this dish, it is best to peel the potatoes so you get nice crispy, browned edges, but of course you can certainly leave the potatoes unpeeled if that is your preference.

The key to the success of this dish is to cut the potatoes in even slices.  One tool that I like to use is a mandoline slicer.  It makes quick work of cutting vegetables into thin even slices.  I find it easier to clean and use than my large processor for slicing jobs like this.

Using a mandoline slicer gives you even slices.

Using a mandoline slicer gives you even slices.

Since this post is a “how to” tutorial I am going to give tips on making Potatoes Anna first, followed by the recipe itself.

1.  Once the potatoes have been sliced, begin the layering.  Use a heavy, oven-proof skillet.  I like to use my wrought-iron frying pan for this job as it distributes heat evenly and the bottom layer gets nice and brown.  If you don’t have a wrought-iron pan any oven-proof pan will do.

2.  Choose the prettiest slices for your first layer of potatoes, as those will be on top when you invert the potato cake.  Layer in a spiral fashion.

Arrange in a circular pattern in a heavy skillet.

Arrange in a circular pattern in a heavy skillet.

3.  Brush with melted butter.  As you assemble alternating layers of white potatoes and sweet potatoes, brush each with melted butter for added richness.

Brush each layer with butter and season well.

Brush each layer with butter and season well.

4.  Season generously.  Root vegetables can take a lot of salt, so don’t be stingy.  Add salt and pepper to each layer so every forkful is evenly seasoned.

5.  Add the final layers.  You should have 4 to 5 layers when you’re done.  Plenty of butter and a non-stick pan make the result very easy to turn out onto a serving plate.**

Hot and crispy, just out of the oven.

Hot and crispy, just out of the oven.

**Unfortunately I didn’t take my own advice.  When I made this dish I made a smaller amount for 2-3 servings, and instead of using a smaller skillet, I used the 10″ one, so I had fewer layers of potatoes.  When I tried to turn it out onto a serving plate it broke, so my photos do not do justice to how attractive the finished dish really is.  But, it tasted wonderful just the same.

Not enough layers to cut it into wedges, but delicious just the same!!

Not enough layers to cut it into wedges, but delicious just the same!!

YUKON GOLD AND SWEET POTATOES ANNA

Yield:   Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 medium, peeled Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 medium, peeled sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Cut potatoes and sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices with a handheld slicer or sharp knife keeping potato varieties separate.

Melt butter and slice potatoes evenly.

Melt butter and slice potatoes evenly.

2.  Brush an ovenproof 10-inch non-stick skillet with butter.  Starting in center of pan, arrange about 20 slices of white potato slices, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern, covering the whole bottom surface.  Brush with butter and season generously with salt and pepper.

3.  Make another layer with sweet potato slices; brush with butter and season.  Repeat, alternating white and sweet potato layers.  Drizzle any remaining butter on top of potatoes.

4.  Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until butter vigorously bubbles in pan, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to oven and bake 30 minutes.  Tent loosely with foil and continue to bake until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes more.  Remove from oven.  Run a small rubber spatula around edges of potatoes to loosen.  Carefully invert onto a plate and cut into wedges to serve.

Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart.com

Autumn Pot Roast

This is one of my all-time favorite ways to cook pot roast.  I use my slow-cooker and start it in the morning.  When the weather is chilly, I am comforted by the aroma coming from my kitchen, especially if I have been out all day.   A home cooked meal without a lot of fuss.

Autumn Pot Roast

Autumn Pot Roast

AUTUMN POT ROAST

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)IMG_5583
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch  pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can (14.5oz.) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine or additional reduced-sodium beef broth

Directions:

1.  Sprinkle roast with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.   In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add beef and brown well on all sides. Remove from skillet to a platter.

2.  In same skillet, add onions, and other vegetables.  Sauté lightly just to get them browned.  Transfer to the bottom of the slow cooker.  In the same skillet, pour in about 1/2 cup beef broth.  Heat and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.  Pour into the slow cooker.

3.  Place meat on top of vegetables.   Combine remaining beef broth with the red wine, dried thyme, bay leaf, minced garlic and remaining salt and pepper.  Pour over meat and vegetables.

4.  Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Skim off fat.  Discard bay leaves.  If desired, thicken cooking juices, or serve along side meat and vegetables as “au jus”.

Mashed potatoes served with this meal make this about the most comforting “comfort” food that I know of.  The meat will be falling-apart tender, and the vegetables are tender with a deep rich flavor from the beef broth and wine jus.

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SOURCE:    TASTE OF HOME

A Recipe of Few—

Today has been a very busy day and at this hour I’m tired so this will be a post of few words.  Luckily the recipe I have to share with you is one of few words also.  A recipe of few—-

few ingredients

few steps

few utensils

BUT

big flavor

Try it!

Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Old Bay Roasted Sweet Potatoes

OLD BAY ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

Few ingredients:  1-2-3.

Few ingredients: 1-2-3.

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes  ( about 1 1/2 pounds total),  scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 *F.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes, olive oil, and Old Bay seasoning.

Utensils?  a knife and a baking dish.

Utensils? a knife and a baking dish.

Bake until  potatoes are deep golden brown on all sides, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Out of the oven, crusty and brown.

Out of the oven, crusty and brown.

This side dish goes will with roasted chicken or pork, seared steak, or sautéed shrimp.

If you’ve never used Old Bay seasoning, you must try it.  It contains a mixture of several spices, usually used on shell fish, but it brings out the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes.

SOURCE:    Martha Stewart

Spiced Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed
Sweet Potatoes

Up until just recently  the most common way that we eat sweet potatoes is baked whole.  I treat them as I would  regular baked potatoes, split and served with butter and maybe a sprinkle of brown sugar.  One of the many recipes I looked at for holiday side dishes was this one for sweet potatoes baked in a honey spice sauce.  I took it for a spin and was rewarded by how good it turned out.  Besides being a good compliment to turkey or chicken, I think it would also go very well with ham or pork roast.  My husband said he likes sweet potatoes fixed this way better than baked whole as I had been doing, so this will most likely be my go-to recipe for sweet potatoes from here on.

It takes a few minutes of prep time to peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges.  Once placed in a shallow baking dish, I made the sauce in the microwave and poured it over the potatoes;  placed the whole thing in the oven and let them bake for about 30 -40 minutes, stirring and basting with the sauce 2-3 times.  They will come out tender, glazed, sweet, spicy and so, so good.  If you or someone you know doesn’t like sweet potatoes, try them this way and I think you will become a convert.

SPICED HONEY-GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

EVERYDAY FOOD

SERVINGS:    8

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 ) peeled and cut into 3/4-inch wedges

    Cut sweet potatoes into thin wedges.

    Cut sweet potatoes into thin wedges.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 stick ( 4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • coarse salt and pepper

1.   Grease a shallow baking dish, or rimmed baking sheet.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In a small sauce pan, bring honey, butter, bay leaves, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to simmer over medium heat.  ( I used the microwave for this step)

Pour sauce over sweet potatoes.

Pour sauce over sweet potatoes.

3.  Pour mixture over the potatoes and bake until tender and glazed about 30 minutes, stirring and turning several times.

Spiced Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed
Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Cookies

Sweet Potato Cutout Cookies

These cookies share one of the traditional flavors of Fall and Thanksgiving:  sweet potatoes.  I like to make them for any children who may be at my Thanksgiving Table, as not all of them like pie, preferring ice cream and cookies instead.  This year I have added two new cookie cutters to my collection; a turkey and a pumpkin, and I wanted to try them out, and since I am cooking sweet potatoes for a side dish, the small amount needed for this recipe allows me to make two things at once.  I like that!

These cookies are a kind of takeoff on the traditional Thanksgiving casserole of Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Topping.  I have made some minor adaptations to make them less sweet, and don’t usually frost them with the Marshmallow Frosting, but if calories are not a concern by all means top the cookies with the frosting.  You may also brush the tops with a little egg white before baking,  sprinkle with sugar and add a pecan or other piece of nut to garnish them.

What I did for the cookies pictured here is make an Ornamental frosting with egg white, confectioners’ sugar, and a little vanilla.  Then lightly frost them, like a glaze, and sprinkle with decorative sugar.

They are not a sweet cookie so they can take a small amount of frosting.  Children will like them for the shapes, and the frosting, not realizing they are getting some good nutrition from the sweet potatoes.   I haven’t tried it yet, but I think you could make them with pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes, since both are so similar as to be interchangeable .

SWEET POTATO COOKIES

Type of cookie:  Rolled cutout.   Makes about 15 large cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon  (Seems like a lot of spices, but this is no mistake.)
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten with a little water
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, or other nut pieces
  • Marshmallow Frosting, (optional.)   Recipe follows.

1.  Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

2.  Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and sweet potato and beat well.

3.  Add the flour mixture and blend well.  Form the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

5.  Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to 3/8 inch thick.  Cut with a 3-inch cookie cutter.  Place the shapes on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

6.  Brush the cookies with the egg white mixture, and press a nut piece into the center of each cookie.

7.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling.

Turkey Cutout Cookies

Pumpkin Cutout Cookies

MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • mini-marshmallows
  • 2 Tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk and sugar for 6 minutes without stirring.

2.  In a double boiler heat the marshmallows.  When they are very soft add boiling water, stirring until smooth.

3.  Remove from heat.  Add the vanilla.  With an electric mixer on medium speed beat in the hot sugar, keep beating until partly cool.  Use at once.

Pretty and Inviting. Garnished with a pistachio nut and decorative sugars.

SOURCE:   Crazy about Cookies by Krystina Castella