Recently my adventures in Kosher cooking led me recently to a little conundrum. Gelatin.
A few months ago, I was headed to Friday evening services for Shabbat. Ours is a very very small congregation. Everyone tends to bring a dish for after services to nosh and socialize. I thought I would bring marshmallows with strawberries so, I emailed the Rabbi to let him know.....FAIL! Turns out that regular run of the mill marshmallows are not kosher. Neither is run of the mill JELLO. A person may say, now wait a minute Nicki, JELLO has a "K" on the box. Doesn't that mean it's kosher? Unfortunately no. You see, manufacturers can put that fake K on anything that they like. It can be highly confusing for someone just diving in to the world of Kosher.
Gelatin is made from the hooves, hides and extras of animals. For non-kosher gelatin this could mean, pork and non-kosher meat. My kids love Jello and marshmallows. Sigh....this was not good news for our household. It took me a little research but, I was able to find Kosher marshmallows. These are great and they do the trick for s'mores. But, that didn't help me with the Jello part.
It really hurt when a video blogger Mama Natural posted a recipe to make my own Gelatin and listed all the fantastic health benefits too. She then said be sure to use good Gelatin. Most store bought Gelatin has been made from animals that are sick and fed hormones. One of the natural gelatins that she recommended was Great Lakes. Great Lakes doesn't have a official Kosher symbol on their product but online, they post the Kosher certification on their company website. Now, this is beef gelatin so, it's not parve but I thought it was a good first step! Now, I just need to find a fish gelatin to make parve recipes.
By making my own gelatin, I'm able to know exactly what is in it and I can lower the sugar amount too. (For diabetics or people watching calories, try using or experimenting with Stevia) Here's the recipe I used from mama natural:
- 2 cups 100% juice
- 2 Tbsp. gelatine
- In a saucepan warm a half of a cup of juice
- Add gelatine and mix all the lumps out until it's all blended.
- Pour the rest of the juice in saucepan
- Take off heat and pour into a 2-3 cup size glass container
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or, just over night
After a few Jello recipes, it occurred to me that I could try homemade marshmallows. I was looking in one of my Martha Stewart books and saw peppermint marshmallows. What a great treat to hand out this time of year! My first attempt was chocolate marshmallows.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 water
- 8 Tbsp cold water
- 2 Tbsp gelatin
- 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Confectioners sugar & cocoa powder
- In a small bowl mix some confectioners sugar and cocoa powder together (I did 2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar and 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder)
- Sprinkle this mixture into an 8"X8" square pan to coat all sides.
- Place gelatin into 8 Tbsp cold water, mix and set aside. (It may solidify. Don't worry, it won't ruin your recipe)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat until blended.
- Add gelatin mixture to saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Pour into a standing mixing bowl (not plastic...it will melt!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes
- Mix in salt, vanilla, and cocoa powder.
- Set mixer to medium or high. Just fast enough that it will pump air into the mixture but not fast enough for it to splatter everywhere.
- Mix for 10-15 minutes. As the mixture cools, it will become more solid. The mixer can be turned up higher if preferred.
- Scrape mixture into the prepared square pan
- Let them cool for quite a for a few hours
- Cut the cooled marshmallows into 1.5" squares.
- Roll them into left over cocoa powder and confectioner sugar mixture
A little disclaimer, I'm pretty sure that mama natural would not condone using the white devil....ahem, I mean "sugar" but I have to say, to my credit, I changed the original corn syrup recipe and used all sugar instead. Plus, I used Florida Crystals Sugar. This brand of sugar is Farmed in Florida and processed the same day. For more information click over the Florida Crystals and it will send you to the company webpage. The only thing that I did not do is use good cocoa powder. I recommend using Organic free trade cocoa powder and I'm going to try and find that in the future.