Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Week 12: Homemade Marshmallows

Okay, I love sugar! Cotton candy was my favorite treat as a kid and I loved making so’mores over a camp fire. I came across a recipe in the July issue of Bon Appetit for homemade marshmallows by a great blogger, Molly Wizenberg and her award winning blog, Orangette. Check it out! I guess I just never thought of making marshmallows and decided I needed to try them for the holidays. Oh, my gosh!! How amazing are homemade marshmallows! I don’t think I can ever buy store bought marshmallows again. This simple recipe is really good and loaded with sugar, so how could you go wrong?

I decided to package these up this year and give marshmallows as gifts to friends. My first batch I decided I was going to make peppermint flavored marshmallows since I had a little peppermint extract left in the pantry. A word of caution, take it easy with peppermint flavoring! It is pretty strong stuff compared with vanilla extract, so go light and mix it with vanilla. I used about 1/8 teaspoon and I swear my sinuses clear with this batch of marshmallows. Experiment and have fun! Almond extract is my next experiment. Enjoy!

Homemade Marshmallows:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 1 cup cold water, divided

  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin, 1/4-oz envelopes

  • 2 cups superfine sugar (regular white sugar is fine too, but this melts really quickly!)

  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or any other flavor)

  • ½ cup sweet rice flour or potato starch or corn starch

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Special items needed: candy thermometer

Step 1: Line 13x9 metal pan with tin foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. I lined the tin foil so it went over the top edges so I could use it as handles to take out the marshmallow slab later.

Step 2: Pour ½ cup of cold water in your heavy-duty mixer (I love my orange Kitchen Aid mixer!) If you have a whisk attachment use that. It seems to work well. Sprinkle your 3 envelopes of gelatin over the water in the mixer. Let stand for about 15 minutes while you are mixing up the rest.

Step 3: Now the fun part, making candy! How scary! Okay, this part is actually pretty easy. I was pretty frightened about HOT molten candy and getting burned, which seems to be a trend of mine lately. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining ½ cup cold water in a medium saucepan.

Step 4: Over medium heat stir until sugar dissolves and then raise the heat. Now place in or hold your candy thermometer in the saucepan and just let the syrup come to a boil. Boil, without stirring until the syrup reaches 240 degrees (soft ball measurement), about 8 minutes. Be sure not to touch the tip of the thermometer to the bottom! We already broke one thermometer and got mercury all over our dish, so out that one went!

Step 5: Remove syrup from heat. Turn on mixer with the water and gelatin on stir/low speed. Now the tricky part, just slowly pour the syrup into the mixer. I would go really slow and careful. This liquid is pretty hot and you will notice steam starting to come out of the mixer as it cools. Pour all the syrup in and slowly begin to raise the speed to high or 10 on the Kitchen Aid.

Step 6: Mix until very thick and stiff for about 15 minutes. It will really start getting white and fluffy! Don’t be tempted to touch the beautiful fluffy stuff while mixing!

Step 7: Add in your vanilla extract or any extract flavoring you would like. I noticed by adding a little liquid to the fluff, it really would move around so pour in the extract slowly and let it mix for about 30 seconds.

Step 8: Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth top with a wet spatula. Let stand at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.

Step 9: I know there seem to be a lot of steps, keep going you are almost to the sugar coma finish line. Now stir together the rice flour and powdered sugar. I found sweet rice flour at Whole Foods, which was pretty reasonable and has a nice flavor. (Other recipes I saw used potato starch or just plain old corn starch.) Now you will sift a good amount of your sugar-starch on your working surface. I put down a cutting board since I was going to cut into the marshmallows. Turn the marshmallow slab out onto your sugar-starch surface and peel off the tin foil. It is pretty sticky so you can put some of the sugar-starch on your hands as you are working with it. Sift more sugar-starch on the top of the marshmallow slab to coat.

Step 10: Coat your knife with the cooking spray just this once and cut into pieces. Bon Appetit has you cut them into 24 pieces the size of 2 inches, but these seemed a bit big, so we cut them into about 1 inch size. Up to you and how big your want the marshmallows. Try mini-marshmallows! Toss each marshmallow in the remaining sugar-starch mixture and coat. Much easier to handle now that all the stickiness is gone.

Step 11: Eat! If you don’t finish them right there and then, you can store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. I put mine in a big zip lock bag and that seems to be working fine.

I checked out a few other web sites and blogs online about making marshmallows and they are all pretty close with ingredients and methods. Some people put in food coloring or cocoa for a chocolate marshmallow. You can also use cookie cutters for fun shapes for the kids in all of us! It’s easy and they are sooooo yummy! Enjoy a little hillbilly cookin'. Happy Holidays!
Calories: 52 calories each if cut into 24 pieces. It’s nothing compared with the calories in your cocoa!

Recipe credit to: Bon Appetit, July 2008 Issue


Jeannette said...

Mmmmm these look delicious Jen!! I think after I finish my cookies I will make this! I have a marshmallow addict in my house :)

Jeannette said...

Oh and I tagged you if you are interested :)