Sweet ice wine and maple rewards follow bitter winter

As bitter winter draws to a close, nature’s own sweetness surrounds us with creations indigenous to Northeast Ohio.
The Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival takes place at the same time maple syrup production begins. I wrote about ice wine last Thursday in the print edition of The News-Herald, and on Monday you’ll read about some wonderful fun around maple, such as an Amish pancake breakfast or a five course maple flavored gourmet luncheon at the International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute.
James Miller, an Amish man from Middlefield produced his first syrup of the 2014 season, today. Those who know their syrups often consider the earliest ones to be the most delicate and flavorful. James is one of the 40 some participants in the annual Maple Madness Drive it Yourself Tour the first two weekends in March.
You can celebrate both by heading out to some wineries and sugarbushes.
Or you can stay home and make ice wine marshmallows:

3⁄4 cup ice wine
2⁄3 cup corn syrup
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting
Canola oil for greasing

Place ice wine in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until reduced to 4 teaspoons, watching closely at the end to prevent scorching. Cool.
Pour one-half cup water into mixer bowl, sprinkle with gelatin, and let stand 10 minutes to soften.
Meanwhile, combine remaining water, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and then boil vigorously for 1 minute. Stir in gelatin mixture and the salt. Beat with mixer on high speed for 8 minutes. Add vanilla and reduced ice wine and continue beating for 2 more minutes.
Transfer mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with canola-oiled plastic wrap, using an oiled spatula to spread evenly. Allow to set for several hours in a cool but not refrigerated area. When firm, remove from pan, cut into squares with a lightly oiled knife and toss each square in powdered sugar to coat.

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