Happy Valentine's Day!
This year I had hoped to share the valentines that the girls gave out at school a little earlier as inspiration, but that didn't happen! Inspiration for next year, perhaps. I have a couple of Valentine's Day posts coming today but to start off with, here's a look at what Lola gave out to her preschool friends...
Lola was keen to give out something sweet. She was also keen to be my little helper in the kitchen. I had originally planned to make heart shaped gummies but only after I'd purchased all of the ingredients did I realize that they needed to be kept refrigerated. Not the best idea for school perhaps! With a huge box of gelatin on hand I looked into other ideas and came across recipes for marshmallows. Soft, squishy, sweet - perfect for Valentine's Day!
Marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make and contain only a few ingredients. Lola and I made up a couple of batches, I designed a simple bag topper, she wrote out the names and I bagged the goodies. All done within one afternoon. Easy peasy.
Below is the recipe that we used as well as a printable for the bag topper...
What you'll need
1 1/2 Cups white sugar
2 Tablespoons gelatin
1 Teaspoon vanilla essence
2 Cups desiccated (finely shredded) coconut
Grease an 8" square baking pan. Line the base and sides with baking paper leaving a little overhang on the sides.
In a medium sized saucepan combine the sugar with 2/3 cup hot water. Stir for about 3 minutes over medium heat or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear.
Using a fork, combine gelatin with 2/3 cup cold water.
Pour gelatin mixture into the hot syrup and stir for 2 or 3 minutes until the gelatin has dissolved and the mixture is clear.
Pour sugar and gelatin mixture into a mixing bowl and set aside for half and hour to cool to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on high for 6 to 10 minutes or until very thick. The mixture will become white.
Add vanilla and beat for 1 minute more.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly. Smooth the top with a spatula and set aside for 1 hour at room temperature until set.
A very important step here... Give the spatula to your little helper to lick clean! Gooey marshmallow mix is delicious!
Once the marshmallow is set, lift it out of the baking pan by holding the baking paper, and place on a chopping board.
With a wet knife and wet hands cut the marshmallow into even squares. I cut the marshmallows into 36 pieces but you can make them any size you like. Run the knife (or your hands) under water again if it starts to stick to the marshmallow as you go. You may need to do this a few times.
Partially fill a sandwich size ziplock bag with coconut. If you'd like to color the coconut add a few drops of food coloring. Close the ziplock bag and shake the color through the coconut. Make sure to use liquid food coloring and not gel. Gel coloring won't mix through the coconut easily - I found this out the hard way!
One at a time, place a marshmallow square into the bag of coconut. Seal tightly and shake gently to cover all sides of the marshmallow with coconut. This is a fun step for little helpers.
Once covered in coconut, place marshmallow squares on a wire rack to dry. This should take about an hour.
Waiting for the marshmallows to dry out a little is the perfect time to write out names on the bag toppers. You can find a printable template for my design here.
I placed two marshmallows into a cello bag, folded down the top a few times and stapled the label toppers on top.
Voila! Easy, peasy, squishy, yummy marshmallow valentines!