Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TWD: Marshmallows or so I thought!

This week the chosen recipe was for Marshmallows, chosen by Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats. Oh how excited I was to do this one. I have always wanted to make marshmallows, though I do not even really like them:) They just seem so pretty and delicious as well as a great gift to give away to others.

Last night I went to make them, and again remembered that I did not have a candy thermometer. I fared really well last week with the lemon cream without a thermometer so I decided to embark upon the marshmallows, no thermometer in hand. Well after last night, it's time to buy one! At least next week's recipe, chosen by Amanda of slow like honey, is Bill's Big Carrot Cake (one I also am looking forward too) does not require a thermometer.

I wish I would have read the comment on the TWD page before starting. I would have changed a few things. But the recipe was almost fool proof I am sure, as long as the temperature was right. I ended up with marshmallow mush as mine did not want to set. Will that stop me from trying again...NO! I will make marshamallows one day:) The ingredients came together really well and everything went great...until this morning when I realized they were very thin and not going to set at all. But I did get a pic that I will put up a bit later.

So for all of you with a sense of adventure give homemade Marshmallows a try...but not without your candy thermometer!

Here is the recipe:


Makes about 1 pound marshmallows
About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife.

Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl.

When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.

Playing Around

RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies.
For raspberry marshmallows, you'll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.

CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.

LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.

PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.


Rebecca said...

I'm so glad our candy thermometers are getting a week off. Bring on the carrot cake!

Natalie said...

I bought a candy thermometer this week out of sheer terror! :D

Sorry yours didn't se tup, but you made fluff, right?

LyB said...

Mine set up only to get all icky again a few hours later! It was fun trying the recipe though, right? :)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

At least you gave it the old college try, well done!

Donna said...

So sorry you went through all that work only to be disappointed.
Marshmallows aren't for everyone.
But like Rebecca said...Next week is carrot cake!

CHEZ US said...

At least you tired. And marshmallow mush is not bad... good with a spoon and good with a bag of rice krispies.

Deborah Dowd said...

I've always wondered why bother making your own marshmallows- it seems like a lot of work and great potential for disaster, but looking at your flavored versions makes me think twice. I am envisioning a cappucino marshmallow melted into a cup of hot chocolate...