Pardon the non food information – but I have FANTASTIC news: I received a job offer! I’m currently going through the pre-employment background check, but I don’t see any reason why I should not pass that, so hopefully come January 2, 2012 I shall be starting my “big kid” job! Whoop! I’m so excited, I get a job to do something I find fascinating and useful! For those of you who don’t know, I will be doing tax returns for an accounting firm (I’ll mention the actual firm once I sign. I don’t want to jinx it!). And now back to your regularly scheduled post:
Having this blog gets me to make things I wouldn’t ever think to buy in a store. Case in point: marshmallows. They aren’t very flavorful when they’re from the store, but homemade has this light airy texture and FLAVOR. And they taste way better in hot coco than regular marshmallows. I also think that homemade marshmallows melt more quickly into your hot coco but I could be completely wrong.
As an aside: what the difference between hot coco, hot chocolate, and hot cocoa? Anyone know? I’ve always been kind of confused.
Anyway, don’t be scared of homemade marshmallows. I really believe they’re easier than brownies. Yes, I typed that correctly. Easier than brownies. For the marshmallows there are only two things you might not have lying around your kitchen: corn syrup and a candy thermometer. Woah, woah, woah! Don’t leave. Yes, I said thermometer, but it really does take all the guess work out of it and makes the whole thing super simple.
The recipe itself, from Ezra Pound Cake, is mostly hands off and the most time consuming thing is the waiting for the marshmallows to dry. Once the sugar is dissolved you don’t stir the pot at all so all you have to do is watch the temperature to make sure you turn off the heat at the right point. After the sugar is cooked to 240°F, you add it to the gelatin that has been blooming (I used Knox Original Gelatin) and just whip the holy bajesus out of it.
Marshmallows always reminds me that I really really need to get a handheld mixer. You want to get your egg whites whipped as close to the time you need to add them to fluff as possible. I always have to whip them first then set them aside and then refluff them right before adding by had since I don’t have a hand mixer. Boo. After adding the egg whites you add whatever flavor extract you want to the fluff.
When removing the fluff for drying its VERY important to spray your spatula with Pam (or whatever spay oil makes you happy). The fluff won’t stick to it and you can spread it around. I end up respraying the spatula a few times, but it really does make all the difference. For the mini marshmallows like these ones, I used a jelly roll pan in order to be able to spread the fluff thin enough.
For the red swirls right after spreading out the fluff quickly drop some red food dye on to the top of the marshmallows and then using a wooden skewer swirl the red food dye around the marshmallows. I’ve found that I have to do this fairly quickly or the marshmallows start to set up.
The entire cooking process takes about 40 minutes with the bulk of it waiting for the sugar to reach 240ºF. With it being this easy, why buy marshmallows ever again? Homemade are simple and way tastier!
Homemade Mini Marshmallows
From Ezra Pound Cake
1 cup powdered sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (around 115°F, about 15 seconds in the microwave)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites (or meringue powder reconstituted according to the manufacturer’s directions)
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or any other extract flavor. I used peppermint)
Spray a jelly roll pan (for mini) or 9×13 (for regular/thick) with oil (such as Pam) and dust with powdered sugar.
In the bowl where you’ll actually whip the marshmallows, place the cold water and gelatin and allow to bloom while you cook the sugar.
In a heavy or medium sauce pan combine the hot water, corn syrup, salt, and sugar. Over low heat stir the mixture until the sugar completely dissolved. Clip in the thermometer. Over medium heat cook the sugar mixture to 240°F.
Pour the cooked sugar mixture into the mixer bowl that has the gelatin and mix, using the whisk attachment, on high until the mixture has tripled in volume and looks glossy. It will fill most of the bowl. In another bowl (and either a clean whisk or using a handheld mixer) beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the egg whites and extract to the marshmallow fluff and mix until they’re just combined.
Spray your spatula with oil and scrape the fluff into your prepared pan. You may have to respray your spatula a few times. Sift some powdered sugar over the top and allow to sit for at least 3 hours. I usually let it sit overnight.
If swirling in some food coloring, drop small amounts of food dye all over the top and quickly swirl using a red food dye. Then dust with powdered sugar and allow to firm up.
Once dried out, take a small knife and run it around the edges and then dump it out onto a clean work surface and cut into whatever size/shape you’d like. Toss each cut marshmallow in some powdered sugar to make sure they don’t stick.