Saturday, December 11, 2010


They look pink in the photo but they really aren't...

I'm not sure when or why I got it in my head to make marshmallows.  I've wondered from time to time what they're made of, but I'm not even entirely sure I like them, and I would usually rather have a bag of sunflower seeds rather than something sweet, but this seemed like it would be fun so - here here we go!

Being winter I'm def. thinking more 'top-some-hot-cocoa' rather than 'make-a-S'more,' so I'm starting with this batch in mint (they didn't have peppermint extract at the market, just mint so I've got a spearmint/peppermint mix in this batch) although you could easily substitute other flavors - vanilla, orange - whatever flavor extract you'd like.  (Based mostly on Martha Stewart's recipe)

Stuff you'll need:
  • Non-stick cooking spray (like Pam)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (or any other flavor really, I think I'm going to make vanilla next)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Couple of drops of red food coloring (for marbling if you feel compelled)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
You'll need several bowls for this, including one very large one - if you have a big one, and you think it's big enough, find a larger one.  The marshmallow fluff reaches pretty impressive volume - even the largest bowl I have could have had higher sides for less collateral splatter.  Also, Martha's version requires a stand mixer which I don't have so I used an electric hand mixer for the mixing which I think impacted my whipping time. 

You'll also need a pan for molding the marshmallows.  I used a glass 8x8 pan for this, found it made for easy clean up.  If you're creative you could probably use different shapes, or no pan at all for marshmallow 'chunks'!

Spray your pan with the cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment - I used a strip of parchment that covered the bottom and folded out over the edges of the pan.  With the parchment in the dish, spray again - this stuff sticks like fluffy glue.  The spraying part - crucial although you could skip the parchment (makes it a hell of a lot easier to get it out of the pan)

To start, pour 3/4 of a cup of water into a heat proof bowl (or double boiler with a handle -you'll thank me later).  sprinkle gelatin over the water and set aside for a couple min. to soften.  meanwhile boil a bit of water on the stove for your double boiler.

In a separate sauce pot, combine 3/4 cup of water, with the sugar, and corn syrup.  Over medium heat, simmer until the sugar is melted into a simple syrup.  Turn the heat up a bit and using a candy thermometer, simmer until the syrup reaches 260 degrees.

Put your gelatin mix in the bowl over a bit of hot water, and whisk until the gelatin is fully dissolved, add your flavors here - my most recent batch had orange blossom water in it - then set it aside.   

 In your biggest bowl, whisk your egg whites using your electric hand mixer (or standing mixer if you have one) until you have stiff (but not dry) peaks. Set it aside for a moment.
Slowly whisk the gelatin and sugar mixture together (pour gelatin over sugar while whisking).  The hot sugar is going to react rather violently bubbling up and trying to spill over the edge of the pot, so go slowly especially for the first couple of drops.  (Sort of like tempering an egg mixture)

With the mixer on, pour the gelatin and sugar mix into the eggs.  Now this is the part that's going to take some work - you need to whisk the combined mix on high speed until it thickens significantly.  It took me just under 10 minutes with my electric hand mixer - but most instructions I found online specify somewhere from 12 to 15.   Honestly at 10 min the mixture got so thick it started bending the tines on my whisk so I had to stop.  Essentially you want to stop when the mixture starts to get kind of stiff - when the bubbles hold for a while or don't pop at all.  If you keep whipping, you'll find the mixture difficult to work with which is fine, it makes neat shapes, but if you're going to add marbling or want to shoot for somewhat evenly shaped final marshmallows, stop while there's still some fluidity :)

Scrape the mixture into your prepared pan, on top of the parchment and spread it out evenly (or try to).  You could probably use a second piece of greased parchment to help flatten it out - I didn't bother, I kind of like that remedial home made look.   If you want to this is where you want to drip a bit of red food coloring onto the surface, then using a chopstick or toothpick, swirl it around a bit to make designs.  Mine looked a little more Halloween Massacre than wish-you-a-merry-Christmas at this stage, but don't worry when you cut the marshmallows they look very festive!

Let the whole pan set for a minimum of three hours at room temp, uncovered (or lightly covered overnight) to set and dry.  Cut (scissors work well for here rather than a knife) and dust with powdered sugar to serve or store.

Here they are in 'Red Velvet' flavor.  Substitute chocolate extract for mint, and add red food coloring (a ton of it!) I would recommend using gel food color to minimize impact of the color on the consistency of the marshmallows. 

I dusted these with white powdered sugar (to represent the cream cheese frosting) and they'll be going on a stick with a chunk of chocolate fudge for hot cocoa on a stick! 


1 comment:

  1. OMG - I LOVE marshmallows too. This recipe is inspired! Can't wait to try it!!