Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The family that marshmallows together, stays together!

The idea of homemade marshmallows has been on my mind for some time... but only insofar as "those seem like a good idea." I'd never even really looked at what it would take to make it happen... until last week.

We are a marshmallow family, 'tis true. In hot chocolate, in s'mores, right out of the bag. This past holiday season, the discovery of tree-shaped and star-shaped marshmallows was a particular delight. Little green trees, little red stars... we happily popped them rather rapidly on a few occasions. (I swear, they just taste better. Really. Although, there were also snowman-shaped marshmallows, and for some reason, they did NOT taste as good. They were also slightly off-white--dare I say yellow-ish--and that's just NOT a good shade of color to bring to mind while eating something that has "snow" in it's name...)

So when helping to plan a party for a dear friend last weekend, the idea of a chocolate fountain/fondue came up, and immediately (after considering the lack of really good fresh fruit to dip in the chocolate) I thought, "This is the perfect opportunity to figure out homemade marshmallows!"

Turns out, they're not that hard, at all! In fact, they are springy and delicious. Can't wait to make these again and try some different flavors, too.

For the recipe, I turned to the ever-reliable Smitten Kitchen and read up on her trials and tribulations with the goo that is created from hot sugar and gelatin... I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't end up with head-to-toe sugary goo on me, but I'm pretty sure reading her story helped me avoid that experience!

Springy fluffy marshmallows
Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I had none in the house, so used honey and it worked out fine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. (Next time around I will do this step before the gelatin-hot sugar mixing, since I don't have a handheld mixer currently. I ended up using my food processor, and it did OK, but not fabulously.) Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out. Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

These babies are a bit addictive... but you're talking to a marshmallow lover here. I took them to the party and they were well received, and definitely got the Seth seal of approval here at home too.

Other goodies for the chocolate fountain included rather sad January strawberries, pineapple,
pears and angel food cake.

Birthday girl Megan with Anna, enjoying a marshmallow or two!

Maybe up next?
Chocolate marshmallows
Chocolate Swirl Marshmallows

What flavor do you think I should try? Something special for Valentine's Day?


  1. Oh My! I'm quite sure I'll be up dreaming of fun flavours all night long. Seems like it could be a fun shared project with the Boo.

  2. they sound heavenly...but alas, I can't find my candy thermometer and I refuse to buy a new one. Yankee frugality LMAO! Ahhh...and I have a nice heart shaped ice cube tray that might work as a mold, too. Dang!


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