Cooking from the Heart with Siobhan Curran - Warm & Toasty

Jenny Butler
Jenny Butler
12th of April 2011

With the chilly Autumn weather steadily rolling in, today's gift-able treats from Siobhan are sure to warm the tummy and heart of the lucky recipient; that is if they don't end up in your tummy first! - Jenny x

Cinnamon Sugar & Amaretto Almonds

My dad is an almond fiend. Can’t get enough of them. Scorched, spiced, sweet, roasted, salted… any time, anywhere. Sometimes I’ll bake him some homemade sweet almonds because he’s a good guy.

I pack them in a little cellophane bags from Riot Art & Craft & the tags are from Uguisu.

60g butter 2 x ¼ cup sugar ½ tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbs amaretto liqueur 1 cup whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 220°C. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in ¼ cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Bring to the boil stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved, plus 3 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and add the amaretto, stirring until combined. Add the almonds and stir until coated evenly with the mixture. Line a tray with baking paper and spread the almonds evenly over. Bake in the oven until dark brown, about 6-8 minutes. Roll in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and transfer to foil to cool.

Toasted-Coconut Marshmallow Squares

Marshmallows. Sounds hard, right. But it isn’t! You’ll feel like Willy Wonka (or maybe an Ooompa Loompa) cutting your cubes and dressing them in toasted coconut. I was a little disappointed to discover there’s no actual marshmallow in marshmallow, but don’t worry, I soon got over it.

When packaging up for a gift, don’t squeeze in too many as they squash easily. These little guys are soft as pillows and melt away in your mouth, so be gentle. I used a colourful tomato tin and wrapped in clear cello from the newsagent to give to my neighbour who just had a baby.  I just made sure I taped up the sharp ends with some washi tape, because, trust me, you’ll be diving to the bottom of the tin without any regard for your own health & safety with this recipe.

2 cups finely shredded dried coconut 10g unflavoured gelatin powder 1 cup water 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1/4 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla extract

To avoid stickiness, make the marshmallows on a dry day.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a tray with baking paper and spread the coconut evenly over the tray. Place in the oven for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water in bowl of an electric mixer and let it soften while you make syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, remaining 1/2 cup water, and salt in a medium heavy-based saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Insert your candy thermometer and the bring mixture to a boil over medium heat without stirring until it reaches 115°C (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat and let stand until the bubbles dissipate.

With mixer at low speed, pour the hot syrup into the gelatin in a thin stream down side of bowl, being careful to avoid the beater. Once fully combined, increase the speed to high and beat until very thick, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute more.

Lightly oil a 25cm square baking tin. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted coconut evenly over the base. Spoon marshmallow mixture over toasted coconut in baking pan and press evenly with silicon spatula to smooth the top. You may need to bang the tin on a flat surface to get it as flat as you can. Sprinkle the top of the marshmallow evenly with 1/2 cup toasted coconut. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until cool and firm, about 2 hours.

Run a sharp knife around edges of the tin and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into 5cm strips, and then cut each strip into 5cm squares. Put remaining toasted coconut in a small bowl and dredge marshmallows in it to coat completely.

The marshmallow squares will keep in an airtight container, in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 1 month.

- Siobhan x

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