Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows


Now I am not a marshmallow lover.  The only good I saw in marshmallows was putting them on s'mores or in Rice Krispie treats.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I would still buy them occasionally because my kids loved them but then I tried these lovely little ladies.  I have had a complete change of heart!!

This is what marshmallows are suppose to be.  They are gooey, yummy, decadent pieces of heaven.  These you could sit and eat a whole bag of.  After trying these I don't think I will ever go back to the store-bought kind.  There is really no comparison.

Not to mention that you could make these in many varieties.  I made the chocolate kind--I mean what other kind would this addicted to chocolate person make!  They were fabulous but you could also make:

Any kind of flavoring at the store or any color that suited your fancy

The possibilities are great and I can't wait to try some others out.

This would be awesome with your s'mores and we put some in our hot chocolate one morning and there were no words to describe the amazingness of that marshmallow.  I don't usually put marshmallows in my hot chocolate but this was delicious.  I'm serious, I am sitting here right now almost drooling on myself trying to describe what it was like to drink that hot chocolate with that homemade marshmallow in it.  Sounds pretty silly but I am just completely stunned on how good they were!
A note:  a candy thermometer is essential for this project.  They are quite cheap and can be found at most stores.  Also this is the recipe for the vanilla marshmallows.  If you want to make them into the chocolate like I did, add 3-4 T. cocoa right at the end of whipping them in your mixer and add 2 T. to your corn starch/powdered sugar mixture.  Don't worry this will make sense later.

3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 c. ice water, divided
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. corn starch
1/4 c. powdered sugar

9 x 13" pan
non stick spray

1.  Place the contents of the gelatin packets into the bowl of a stand mixer. (You will want a stand mixer, a hand mixer is not strong or tough enough to do this job). Add 1/2 c. of the ice water.  Stir gently to combine and set that bowl aside.

2.  In a small saucepan combine: remaining 1/2 c. water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Stir mixture to combine and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then clip a candy thermometer onto the pan.  The sugar mixture needs to remain on a simmer and come to a temperature of 245 degrees F. It may take 20 minutes or so (mine took about 25 minutes), so just stir the mixture every once and a while and keep an eye on the temp.

3.  After the mixture reaches 245 degrees, remove from heat.  While your mixer runs on low speed, you need to slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl with the gelatin.  Do so very carefully so that you don't burn yourself or someone else.  If needed, ladle in something with a pour spout and then into your mixing bowl.  After you add the entire sugar mixture to the gelatin turn the beater speed up to med-high. Continue to whip for 12-15 minutes, adding the vanilla in the last few minutes of beating (and cocoa if you are making chocolate).

4.  Immediately put your sticky pan and utensils from the sugar mixture into very hot, soapy water. The quicker you get it soaking the quicker the goo will come off!  This important if you want a nice clean-up.

5.  While your sugar goo is magically transforming into soft, fluffy marshmallows, prepare your pan. Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar (and cocoa if you are doing chocolate) in a small bowl. Spray a 9 x 13" pan with non stick spray and coat the bottom and sides with the cornstarch mixture. Tap excess out and save it.

6.  When your marshmallows are done, the mixture should be thick and white (mine is brown because of the cocoa), like this:
7.  It's kind of like jarred marshmallow cream at this point. Grab a spatula that you have sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. The stuff is sticky and gooey and will be difficult to get out.  Don't worry about getting every last gooey drop because you won't! Just pull out what you can and then immediately put that dirty dish in the sink with hot soapy water.  Once the marshmallow mixture is all in the pan you'll need to spread it out.  Spray the back of a large spoon with non-stick spray and spread it that way. It will be kind of lumpy, but just keep spraying and patting and get it as smooth as you can.  It should look like this:
8.  Let the pan sit at room temp for about an hour and then sprinkle a couple spoonfuls of the corn starch mixture over the top. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. The recipes says that you could cut the marshmallows after 4-5 hours, but I let mine sit overnight and it worked great.

9.  When they're ready to cut, pull the marshmallowy sheet out of the pan or dump it out onto a silicone mat. It should come right out. The bottom side will be much nicer looking than the top side! Now it's time for cutting them.  I used a heart for Valentines Day but you would just use a pizza cutter and cut them into squarish pieces. (We used the extra pieces for hot cocoa, yummy!)
10.  Once they are cut, dust each marshmallow lightly with the remaining cornstarch mixture. This makes them easy to handle and keeps them from sticking together.  Put in a storage container.  They should be good for a couple of weeks if stored in an air-tight container.

11.  When I was ready to serve these, I stuck them on sucker sticks and then drizzled melted chocolate over the top.  They were a huge hit.  Enjoy!!

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