Saturday, June 2, 2012

Homemade marshmallows

A while ago I was on Amazon looking for something cake related, and in my little "recommended for you" section saw a book called Marshmallow Madness.  I've only tried making anything marshmallowish once before, and I didn't think they were that great.  But I've heard and read so much about homemade marshmallows being incredible that I decided to give the book a try.

The book is great (and ridiculously cheap, I might add).  There are tips and information about tools and a ton of recipes in a variety of flavors and shapes.  A lot of the success seems to depend on technique...the recipe is pretty close to the first one I tried, but the information about the how part of things was important.   I wanted to start simple so I went with the classic vanilla flavor.   

I left about half of the marshmallows plain and toasted some coconut and macadamia nuts to add to the rest.  I dipped those in chocolate and rolled them in the toppings.  I threw in a few with sprinkles just to see how those looked too. I'm making these for an event in a few weeks so this was all about testing options.

The only trouble I had with the toppings was the weight; the fresh marshmallows are soft and fluffy to the point that I had to set some of the dipped ones on their sides to set up. 

I'm not a fan of plain marshmallows...I like lots of things that have marshmallows in them, like rice krispie treats or smores, but not straight out of the bag.  So I tried one and I thought they were ok - the flavor and texture are better than what I can pick up at the grocery store, but I'm not the best judge since I don't really care for them.  The boys both thought they were great, and even better the next day after they had set up a little bit more.

A week later, they were still surprisingly soft.  So we made a few smores with the leftovers...those are much more my speed.  

Vanilla Marshmallows (from Marshmallow Madness)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • mixture of 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • a candy thermometer
Whisk together the gelatin and cold water and let it soften for several minutes.  Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by spraying it with vegetable oil.

Sitr together the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, water and salt in a pan over high heat.  Boil and stir occasionally until the temperature reaches 240 degrees.  While that is heating, pour the other half of the corn syrup into a mixing bowl.  Heat the gelatin/water mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds, then pour it into the mixing bowl with the corn syrup. Use the whisk attachment and leave the mixer on a low speed for several minutes.

Slowly add the heated mixture to the mixing bowl and increase the speed to medium.  Beat at that speed for five minutes.  Increase the speed to high for two minutes, then add the vanilla.  Pour it into the prepared pan and dust the top with the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture. Set it aside and do not cover it with plastic wrap, etc...that will trap moisture and increase stickiness.  Let the marshmallows set up overnight.

Invert the marshmallows onto a cutting surface and use a pizza wheel sprayed with a little bit of vegetable oil to cut them to size. 

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