Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Marshmallow maddness

I have done a lot of baking over the past few weeks, but the crowning glory is something I've never tried before: marshmallows.

I have never in my life considered making marshmallows. In fact, I have never in my life considered how marshmallows are made. I have just always assumed they were delivered to stores by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

But a recent edition of Cooking Light magazine that had a marshmallow recipe in it got me to thinkin'. It looked surprisingly easy - not as easy as a giant marshmallow delivery boy, but a notch below. I'm totally gonna do this, I thought.

Then, much to my amazement, my coworker's fiance Marge brought homemade marshmallows to our winter garage sale. She and her mom make them every year!

I felt like I was about to belong to an elite society.

On Sunday I whipped up my batch of marshmallows. The cream was perfect! It tasted like the marshmallows we all know and love - only better! It was like I opened a giant jar of marshmallow cream. I considered making a fluffer-nutter.

I finally got the pan of cream out of the fridge last night to finish them up.

It's amazing! They are perfect!! I feel a little like a mad scientist.

The pan of marshmallow cream. I don't see why you couldn't stop here and just jar it and make fluffer-nutters every day for lunch...

After the pan of cream has chilled for at least 8 hours you flip it out onto a counter covered with a powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. This keeps the marshmallows from sticking to each other. Then you start cutting them up!

More cutting. It's important to keep your knife covered in the powder mixture so it doesn't stick to the cream. Also, I didn't dump the entire bowl of powder onto the counter because it initially looked like a lot more than I would need. Then I had an idea: I should toss the marshmallows in a ziplock bag with the left over powder and give them a shake. Do this step. It made covering all the sides of the marshmallows really easy...

Move over Marshmallow Man! Check these babies out!

The recipe is actually called Toasted Coconut Marshmallows, but I did nothing with the coconut part, so I've removed anything relating to that from the recipe. It's from Cooking Light.
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup cold water, divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Line a 13 x 9-inch cake pan with wax paper, allowing the wax paper to extend over sides of pan. Lightly coat the wax paper with cooking spray.

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl; set aside. (NOTE: The gelatin will start reacting and by the time you're ready for it it's like a giant Jell-O Jiggler.)

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 cup of water, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring periodically, over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 260° or for about 15 minutes. (NOTE: I do not have a candy thermometer which is partially why I'm so amazed these came out! I just let it boil for a little bit then took a good guess.)

While sugar mixture cooks, beat the vanilla, salt, and egg whites at high speed in a heavy-duty stand mixer with whisk attachment until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Remove sugar mixture from heat; gradually stir in softened gelatin. Mixture will appear foamy. (NOTE: This is where it starts looking like a science experiment!)

Gradually pour the gelatin/sugar mixture into the beaten vanilla/egg white mixture, beating until very thick (about 5 minutes). Gently spread marshmallow mixture in prepared pan. Coat 1 side of another sheet of wax paper with cooking spray. Place wax paper, coated side down, over marshmallow mixture. Chill 8 hours or until firm.

Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl with a whisk. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the powder over a cutting board or counter. Remove top sheet of wax paper. Invert marshmallow mixture over powdered sugar mixture. Flip marshmallow mixture to cover both sides with powder. Using a sharp knife, cut mixture into about 1-inch squares.

Place the rest of the powder mixture and all cut marshmallows into a large ziplock bag. Shake gently to cover all sides of marshmallows.

Pop in a mug of hot chocolate or coffee! (Yes, coffee. It's delish!)

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