Saturday, December 26, 2009
In our home, the holidays begin when Christmas containers are pulled out of the garage. This year it was the day after Thanksgiving, and last year it was the week after Halloween...
Heavily frosted pavement and lawns look like 'they've been squished with softy marshmallows' according to an observant four year old. We have learned when the sound of fog horns resonate thru Commencement Bay, it is a foggy and more than likely chilly morning. Chilly mornings and evenings lend themselves to hot cocoa, and of course, the precious accompaniment of marshmallows. Inspired by a bright child, it was time to make the 'mallows.
Very worthwhile, indeed! Once you make them, you may never revert to the 'store packages of marshmallows' ever again. While they may be convenient and easy to buy, give homemade marshmallows a shot...you will be amazed!
If Heaven could be consumed piece by piece, this is your palate's path to enlightenment!
FYI: These guys behave just like the 'store boughts'. They melt beautifully and the heavy vanilla scent really adds dimension to cereal treats. I LOVE fire and when exposed to a flame, they toast slowly due to the powdered sugar coating, then quickly heat thru to a hot marshmallow cream...mmmm!
Credit: I followed a few marshmallow recipes and settled on the most cohesive, comprehendible, and most delicious of them all. It was posted via Smittenkitchen.com. It truly was the most fantastic!
per Deb at Smittenkitchen.com/Gourmet, December 1998
Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
(alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or peppermint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)
Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.
In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks.
Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined.
Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t panic if you can not get it all out*.
Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top.
Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day*.
Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board.
With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes.
Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and storing.
Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week*.
* Refrigerated 'mallows keep for a few weeks.
* Raw egg whites were an issue for me, so I used pasturized egg whites from the carton. They can be found in the dairy case.
* Spraying your spatula, mixing bowl, and other utensils with cooking oil spray, aids in preventing a seriously catastrophic sticky mess. (It was during one of these tries that I learned I have hand claustrophobia.) If all of the 'mallow mixture does not make it into your pan, it's ok.
* Warm water is your friend
* I used a 13"x 17"x 1" jelly roll pan, and cut marshmallows with a greased square fluted pasta cutter. It yielded petite 'mallows.
* Others have used deeper pans, resulting in taller more substantial marshmallows.
* They can be cut with a greased knife, pasta cutter, pizza cutter, pastry wheels, etc...
* Get extra creative and pipe them into different shapes--marshmallow people, hearts, letters, etc...