Thursday, September 17, 2009
Make Your Own Marshmallows from Scratch
I am not exactly sure where the idea to make marshmallows came from, but it has been hovering in the back of my mind for some time now--so much so that I put it in my list of 36 Things I Want to Do Before I Turn 37.
I like to make no-bake cookies, which requires precision and is a little like playing with a chemistry set. I thought marshmallows would be the next step in learning how to make candy. I always think of the store marshmallows as something slightly fake, not real, full of chemicals. Homemade marshmallows are fluffy and chewy and are not full of weird fake flavors or chemicals.
This is not a vegetarian recipe. Gelatin is derived from animal products. But so is leather, so if you wear leather, you should be able to eat this guilt free.
Turns out the Barefoot Contessa has a Marshmallow Mix in a box, but at $10+ a pop, I would skip her version and go for truly homemade. I hate mixes in a box at any rate. It costs about 1/10th the price to make them from scratch and makes nearly triple the amount.
This is a variation on several recipes I found.
Jennevieve's Homemade Marshmallows
3 packets gelatin
1/2 cup ice cold water
1/2 cup room temp water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Start by combining the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in your stand mixer. Attach the whisk and let sit while you prepare the sugars.
Combine the 1/2 cup room temperature water with the granulated sugar and the corn syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cover and let heat up for 5 minutes. Uncover and attach candy thermometer. Make sure thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan.
Allow mix to come to a rolling boil and watch temperature carefully until heat reaches 240 degrees F, soft ball stage. This took about 10 minutes on my stove. It may go faster on yours. Remove from heat immediately once you have reached soft ball stage.
Slowly pour sugar mix into mixer containing gelatin while mixer is running on low speed.
Once all of the sugar is combined, set your mixer to medium-high and let it do the hard part.
While the mixer is running, combine the powdered sugar with the cornstarch and sift over a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. I prepared two sheets, but in the end, one would have worked just fine. Only use about half of the sugar/cornstarch mix.
The candy will turn white and start to thicken. You want the mixture to cool down a bit and become very thick, forming stiff peaks, much like meringue. This took about 11 minutes, but several recipes say it can take up to 15 minutes. I guess it depends on the strength of your mixer? Just about when you think it is done, add your vanilla and allow to mix for another minute.
Once candy is ready, pour onto prepared cookie sheet. Smooth out as best as you can with an oiled spatula.
Sift remaining powdered sugar/corn starch mix over marshmallows. Allow to set 4 hours or overnight. Use a pizza cutting wheel to cut candy into strips, then use kitchen shears to cut pieces apart. Delicious.
Now I will have to make some hot chocolate tonight to throw these babies in. And it makes me want to find a rocky road recipe, the possibilities are endless....