Tuesdays With Dorie (click to enlarge)
Here it is. Tuesday already! I swear Tuesday comes every 5 days now! Seriously, I just did this less than a week ago...or so it seems! This recipe ~ Homemade Marshmallows ~ was chosen by Judy, of Judy's Gross Eats. Yeah, I'll have to ask her what that means someday. Thanks also to Chelle for writing out this very long recipe! Homemade Marshmallows is just one of many fabulous recipes in Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Click on the rest of my posts under TWD to see the other delicious desserts I've made from this book.
Don't forget the Cookbook Give-Away that I'll be announcing during the week! Like I said below, it's gonna be a good one!
I never made Homemade Marshmallows before, so this was a new experience for me. Let me tell you something, my boat was a frickin' mess when I got done with these sugar babies! First off, we're back to living on the boat again. The honeymoon with Timeshares, square beds, hot water and cable TV is over honey! No more Kitchen Aid and back to my Easy Bake Oven! Don't get me wrong, it's not all that bad. I love my little boat and marina life. It's just that I got real accustomed to having the Big Boy Bakery equipment at my beck-and-call whenever I felt like playing "Bake Shop" while John was recupperating from surgery. 10 weeks of play time was enough to spoil me REAL BAD!
What A Mess!
I'm back to a hand-held Hamilton Beech mixer and plastic Tupperware bowls. But I have a tricked out chef's galley that is to die for. However, the mess was unbelievable. Powdered sugar and corn starch all over the counter, the baby fridge, my little 2 burner stove, bed, camera, cookbook and laptop. There were pot & pans, thermometer, bowls, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, wrappers, sugar boxes and bags, cling wrap and baking pans everywhere. Well, you get the picture! And in case you don't, I took a photo of the mess in my sink. And that's not all of it. That sink is deep!
Night Of The Living Dead Galley!
At one point, I was standing under the open hatch with a pink bowl full of meringue with the little-mixer-that-could on full-speed-ahead. There was a small pan of sugar, water and corn syrup bubbling away on the stove with a candy thermometer stuck in it next to another pan with Knox gelatin soaking in water (cause we don't have a microwave). I had the camera ready to snap a photo, trying to balance the bowl and mixer, slowly pouring the magic 265° syrup into the meringue and look at the cookbook all at the same time. I turned, just for a second and forgot that I still had the mixer on at full blast. For that one moment in time, my mouth fell open as a slow motion expletive spilled out as I plastered sticky mallow goo all over the boat, hatchboards and my face. The scene was straight from "Night Of The Living Dead"!
I didn't even think about cleaning up the mess then as the mallow stuff was starting to set up. I had to work fast and get the flavorings in and spread it into the waiting pan. I was a little worried that I would have a problem with these wicked marshmallows. My "peeps" at Tuesdays With Dorie had been comparing notes all week about marshmallow failure and slimy messes that never set up. But, I must have done something right, because those buggers set up so nice and fast and slid right out of the pan. No problems at all! And this was my first time too!
I rate this recipe 5 chocolate chips! It was a great "learning" experience. They tasted absolutely divine. The outside of the marshmallows were lightly dusted with powdered sugar/cornstarch coating and the texture inside was so soft and squishy, it was like gumming feather pillows! I'm definitely making these again. This recipe is a keeper!
I did do a few things differently and I'll highlight My Notes in the recipe so you can follow along.
Homemade Marshmallows by Dorie Greenspan
Including marshmallows as a spoon dessert may seem like cheating -- after all, they're eaten with fingers (or, by campers, from sticks picked up in the forest) -- but making them at home is too much fun to miss. And in fact this dessert is related to others in this chapter: the base is meringue -- sweetened and strengthened by a cooked sugar syrup and fortified by gelatin.
There's nothing difficult about making the marshmallows, but the meringue does need a long beating. While you can use a hand mixer, a stand mixer makes the job easier. (Yeah, tell me about it!)
Dorie is giving you the recipe for a basic vanilla marshmallow. See Playing Around (below) for raspberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pumpkin marshmallows.
Marshmallows: The Recipe
- About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch My Notes: I used a mixture of 1/2 cup powdered sugar & 1/2 cup cornstarch.
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar (I could never figured out where that extra Tbsp of sugar went)
- Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand. My Notes: I lined a baking pan with cling wrap and sprayed it generously with vegetable shortening spray. Then I dusted it real heavy with 1/2 the powdered sugar/cornstarch mix)
- Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
- While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.) Yeah, right!
- Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, (Um, yeah) beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
- As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. My Notes: I divided the mallow goo in half and added 1/2 tsp coconut extract and 1/2 cup toasted coconut to the white batch. Then I added 1/2 tsp cherry extract and a few drops of red cake coloring to the other portion and finished mixing.
- Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper (or cling wrap) up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (Dorie uses use custard cups).
- Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or sugar/cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
- Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand (I had to use another 1/2 cup) and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl.
- When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch. My notes: I dusted some of the white coconut marshmallows with cocoa for a "chocolate" looking mallow.
- Don't know if you noticed, but I stabbed some with skewers and dipped them in Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!
Marshmallow Wine For Two! (it was a very good year)
SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes Dorie fills a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.
STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.
Playing Around: Dorie's Notes
RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies. For raspberry marshmallows, you'll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon.
After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.
CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.
LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.
PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.
Makes about 1 pound marshmallows.