Sunday, December 12, 2010

day 12 - marshmallows!

What little boy doesn't love a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows?  For sure the boys in my house!  So on this rainy Sunday, I thought making marshmallows would be a perfect treat.

Because marshmallows aren't exactly cooked, it is always safer to use pasteurized egg whites like those found near the liquid egg products.  In this recipe, marshmallows are made by combining a meringue with gelatin and hard ball stage sugar syrup.  Through the magic of chemistry (not really magic, but it always seems that way in baking) these liquid ingredients, mixed together with some air, form the fluffiest marshmallows out there!  This is poured into a well greased (and lined) glass pan and allowed to cool.  That is it!  I was shocked. I thought there would be more to it.  I think the hardest part is the waiting... I was supposed to wait at least 5 hours, but I wanted to let the boys have their hot chocolate and marshmallows before going to bed, so I cut the cooling time short, they still turned out great.

I tasted one out all on its own... simply divine.  There is no grit, there is no chemical taste.  Just sweet vanilla and sugar.  I'm imagining making them again and adding a dash of peppermint... how yummy for Christmas?  Thankfully, this was not one of my creations that they boys prefer out of a package, they truly like the homemade marshmallow much better.  I sent my friend home with two bags of marshmallows, and kept one just for us.

Who knows, maybe this summer I'll try peanut butter marshmallows for s'mores while we are camping!

Homemade Marshmallows (BHG Food Gifts, 2010)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 c cold water
2 c sugar
2/3 c light corn syrup
1/3 refrigerated liquid egg white
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c powdered sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with plastic wrap. Coat with nonstick spray.  In a large metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 c cold water, set aside. In a 2-qt heavy saucepan, stir together remaining 1/4 c water, 1 3/4 c sugar and corn syrup until combined. Bring to a boil, and cook without stirring until thermometer registers 260*F, hard-ball stage. Remove from heat; pour over gelatin mixture and stir well to combine.  Meanwhile, beat egg whites, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 c sugar, until stiff peaks form.  With mixer running on high, gradually add gelatin mixture to egg white mixture, beating for 5-7 minutes, or until thick. Quickly spread mixture into prepared pan. Coat another piece of wrap with nonstick spray, place coated side down, over marshmallow mixture in pan. Chill at least 5 hours.  In a bow, combine powdered sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle about 1/4th of the mixture evenly onto a large cutting board. Remove plastic wrap from top of marshmallows, carefully invert onto cutting board. Remove wrap. Sprinkle top with some of the remaining powdered sugar. Cut marshmallows into 1" squares.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

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