December 15, 2009

Marshmallows


Part of the Treat Box series, here is another element of what I sent some friends for Christmas.  They sent me to Martha rehab. Thanks guys!

Part two consisted of marshmallows.  Marshmallows belong in two places- hot chocolate and smores. Sweet potatoes, back away from my pillowy white treats, you belong with spices and garlic. Brownies? Nah. Rocky road ice cream? Well alright, you got me there.
When I first told people I was planning on making them, they had one of two reactions.
1.  You can do that? Really? Why would you want to?  That's lame.
2.  Wow that's so cool!
For you number 1ers, beat it. Because I can, and doing so has brought me to a Zen like level in my cooking.
Thanks mom for number 2!
Going back to all the haters and Zen, this project didn't really turn out the way I expected.  Though I did have a candy thermometer, which you definitely need, they just fell flat. They weren't as puffy and huge as all the other pictures promised and were not that tasty. They tasted more like frosting.  I think that is because I didn't have a clear measurement for vanilla extract, and I put it in with the gelatin and water. They also didn't triple in volume while beating the ever-loving shit out it it.


But don't let that stop you, with a few changes and perserverance you too can have fluffy, sugary white confections that have the best melting qualities I've ever seen.
Warning: huge mess in the forecast.  Powdered Sugar + Cornstarch=


Marshmallows

Makes a 13"x9" pan
I wrote in the changes I would have made, in the hopes it will work better for you.  I assume with a heavy duty stand mixer the beating will be easier.  Also incorporating the vanilla with the sugar will hopefully alleviate the weird clumpy gelatin problem I had.  Good luck and let me know how it goes!

4 gelatin envelopes
3⁄4 cup water
1 Tbs vanilla extract (I found this to be way overpowering, use less)
3 cups sugar
3⁄4 cup water
1 1⁄4 cups light corn syrup
1⁄2  tsp salt
Extra powered sugar and cornstarch, equal parts for dusting
You'll need a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer

1. Spray a 13"x 9" pan heavily with cooking spray, then throughly coat with powered sugar/cornstarch.
2. In a stand mixer bowl or bowl to use with a hand mixer, pour in the water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top to let it soften.
3. Add sugar, 3/4 cup of water, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan, stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.
4. Once boiling, stop stirring and let the temperature reach between 234 and 240 degrees (soft ball stage).
5. When at temperature, remove from heat and add vanilla.  Turn the mixer on low, and with it running slowly pour the sugar mixture down the sides of the bowl. When all is added, bring the mixer up to high speed.
6. Whip the mixture until it triples in volume, and is very fluffy and stiff.  Some recipes say between 8-10 minutes, it took me closer to 12-13 minutes.
7. Pour into prepared pan.  Don't touch it in the process with out everything being oiled down.  With an oiled spatula, smooth out the top.
8. Let sit for 10-12 hours at room temperature to set.
9. Sift some more powered sugar/cornstarch on top.  Turn out onto a cutting board, trim off any excess.
10. Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut into small squares and immediately roll the sides in more powered sugar/cornstarch.

Store in at room temperature in an airtight container for several weeks or until stale.

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