Monday, December 16, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

My little people LOVE marshmallows.  Plain, roasted, in hot cocoa, big, small it does not matter.  They want them... all.

I am not a huge lover of marshmallows.  I like them roasted and that is about it.  However, I am a huge fan of cooking challenges and making my own marshmallows fit the bill.  I found a recipe in an old, old cookbook I have and on a cold and snowy Friday night, decided to give it a try.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  The difference is huge.  Store bought marshmallows are spongy and pebbly on the outside and taste... well, just sweet.  Homemade marshmallows are smooth and pillowy.  Like a memory foam mattress.  Dense, but soft.  I used a really nice vanilla in mine, so they have great flavor and smell wonderful.  I also dipped a few in bittersweet chocolate just for fun (those are my favorite). 

I discovered the key to painlessly making your own marshmallows is preparation.  If you follow my directions, you will have a full pan of marshmallows setting up in under 15 minutes.  One additional suggestion is be sure to wash your dishes immediately after you are done, so you aren't stuck trying to scrub away stuck on marshmallow in the morning.  Other than that, these are simple and fun to make.  Maybe fancy some up and give them as gifts for the holidays?

Homemade Marshmallows
2 c. granular sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1-1/2 c. water, divided
4 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (this is equal to 4 packets or 1 box)
2 egg whites
1 tsp. flavoring, I used vanilla, but you could use peppermint or almond
1 c. powdered sugar for dusting the marshmallows to keep them from sticking
Butter and liberally dust a 9"x13" pan with powdered sugar.
Combine granular sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 c. water in a large saucepan.
Pour remaining water (3/4 c.) in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the top.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Turn heat under sugar mix to medium high and begin to heat, stirring constantly.
At the same time, turn heat under gelatin to low and whisk occasionally until gelatin melts.
Heat sugar mixture (syrup) to hard ball stage (250-265 degrees).
Once syrup is at the correct temperature, take off heat and whisk in gelatin.  This will foam up.
Pour this mixture into a measuring cup to make pouring easier.  Set aside.
Whip the egg whites on high until they form soft peaks.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the gelatin mixture.  This will continue to fluff up and become glossy and smooth.
Keep beating until mixture is very stiff, but still pourable.
Spread in prepared pan and allow to set up at least 8 hours or overnight.
Once set, flip marshmallows onto a powdered sugar dusted counter.  You may need to use a thin spatula to gently loosen the marshmallow sheet from the pan.
Using a sharp knife, cut into desired shape, dusting all sides with powdered sugar as you go.
Don't forget to dip some in melted chocolate and hide them on the high shelf in the pantry!


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