Monthly Archives: October 2011

Solo culinary adventures, part the third: Marshmallows

My little sister is getting married in less than two weeks! EEEEE!

Since I’ve got some free time, I’ve offered to do quite a few things to help with wedding prep. The event is to be outdoors and in the evening, and my sister toyed with the idea of having a later-night s’mores station around a fire bowl. Some friends of ours have one, so after asking permission to use it I offered to make sure it was clean and available for use the weekend of the wedding. Then, I offered to be in charge of arranging and setting up the station itself (well, Dan will be in charge of some of that) and while my sister will be providing the graham crackers and the chocolate, I thought that I could perhaps make homemade marshmallows in a couple of different flavors to be a part of the spread. My friend Cadi wrote out an excellent recipe and instructions for homemade marshmallows on her blog a while back, so on Friday I decided to do a test run to see how feasible the homemade marshmallow thing would really be.

First of all, I had to cut her recipe in half because there’s no way I’d be able to eat an entire recipe of marshmallows in a week (or however long they’d last before going stale and weird). So here’s my modified ingredient list:

* about 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 envelopes and most of a 2nd envelope unflavored gelatin
* 1/4 cup cold water
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 large egg whites
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Oil and heavily dust with powdered sugar an 8×8 pan. I only have a glass one, but it worked just fine.

I love my blue Pyrex pan

2. In a large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let it sit while doing next steps.

3. In a heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F. (Cadi’s recipe says this will take 12 minutes, but it didn’t take nearly that long for me.)

Bubble, bubble...

Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

4. With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume. For this, I dug out our hand-held mixer from a box in the garage because I knew the whisk attachment on our stick blender wouldn’t be up for the task. It took about 8 minutes, and the last minute or so our very high-powered hand mixer whined because this fluff is THICK AND STICKY.

This is sticky as hell.

5. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. (I used the whisk attachment on the stick blender for this so I wouldn’t have to clean the beaters right away). Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. (For this I did clean the beaters because, again, super-thick and sticky!) Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours. I think I took mine out of the fridge after about 6 hours.

6. Right now, before you do anything else, soak any beaters, bowls, pots, utensils, etc in hot water and clean them. The marshmallow fluff will harden and become a bitch to get off.

7. When marshmallow is firm, run a knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a piece of wax paper dusted with confectioners’ sugar, on top of a cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. Cut marshmallow into whatever size pieces look good to you. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat. Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Homemade marshmallows in homemade hot chocolate. Perfect fall dessert!

I experimented by cutting a few different sizes, and it looks like the right size to make a good s’more will get me about 36 marshmallows from an 8×8 pan. These turned out to be fluffy, pillowy, and super-light in texture, and they melt right into a mug of hot chocolate. For the wedding, I plan to make a batch of plain/vanilla, a batch of chocolate, and a batch of mint (specially requested by my sister). I may add a bit of cornstarch to the powdered sugar coating to help keep the mallows from sticking together and also to aid in toasting.

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