the gregarious homebody

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Officially Obsessed

I have been marshmallow crazy for a couple months now, on and off.  A weird thing to be obsessed about, I know, but they're so satisfying.  I love the process of baking something but let's face it, with cakes and such there's a lot of waiting around.  With marshmallows, you soften some gelatin, boil some sugar syrup, mix them together until it magically turns into white fluff and pour into a pan.  And that's it!  

True, you have to wait a little while to cut them but there is the bowl licking.  And you don't have to do anything else to them if you don't want to.  And they're fat free (if that's important to you).  And they're so surprising.  I offer them to people at work and they're all "No thank you.  I don't really like marshmallows."  Then I say confidently, "You've never had these marshmallows."  Watching them take a bite into something so different from the bagged stuff is extremely satisfying.  

I'm also finding that they're extremely versatile.  So far, I've made plain vanilla, chocolate, mocha, pumpkin, and the new favorite, raspberry.  Tomorrow I'm trying some lime ones.  For the fruit flavors, all you have to do is substitute the fruit puree or juice for the water in the first part of the recipe.  It's that simple.  And WOW were those raspberry ones good.  REAL raspberry flavor.  And even though they are sweet (they're mostly sugar after all), the fresh raspberry flavor helped them from being too cloying.  Same with the pumpkin.  I'm thinking the lime ones will be perfection.

 This is like a cup of liquid Summer.
(thanks to frozen berries from Judy's garden last year.  Thanks, Jud!)
This is 1 cup because I doubled the recipe.

So here's the recipe I'm using right now, which is my own version of {Martha's}. Say what you will about my girl...but you can't deny she's the queen of taking some really basic favorites and making them sublime by using great ingredients and---this is the key---making them at home.

Homemade marshmallows
--makes about 40
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla 
Confectioners' sugar

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment.  

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and another 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan.  Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar crystals.  If you have a candy thermometer, clip it on the side of the pan and turn heat up to high.

Cook the syrup until it reaches 244 degrees.  If you don't have a candy thermometer, just bring to a boil after the sugar dissolves and let it boil violently for 1-2 minutes.  

Next, take it off the heat.  Turn  your mixer on low and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin.  Turn the speed to high when you've added it all and continue beating until very white and thick, about 10-15 minutes, depending on your mixer.

Now, it's time to spread it into a 9x13 glass casserole that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  I cannot stress this enough. Martha says to dust the pan with confectioners' sugar.  Other recipes (that shall remain nameless) tell you to spray the pan, line it with parchment, and then pour the marshmallow in.  MADNESS.  This, below, is the sadness that happens when you follow those stupid plans:
You end up throwing it away because
it is never, ever coming out of the pan.  
Use the cooking spray.

So now comes the waiting. Martha says you have to let it sit overnight to let it dry out.  I say who can wait that long??  I let it dry, uncovered for a couple hours and then dump the pan out onto a surface that has been well-dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Then you take your longest knife and cut it into squares.  This is a pain, but if you spray your knife a couple times in between with Pam (after wiping off the stickies each time), it's pretty painless.  FINALLY, I dust each marshmallow in some confectioners' sugar and then pat each one like it's a baby's butt to take the excess sugar off.

Stored in an airtight container, these suckers stay fresh for weeks.  Bonus!

Now here are the variations:

Substitute pumpkin or any other fruit puree or juice for the 1/2 cup of water used to soften the gelatin. That's it!  

 And it's fun to dip some in melted chocolate.  I'm going to try dipping lime marshmallows in white chocolate and then in ground up graham crackers or toasted coconut--a key lime pie marshmallow!

Have fun!


adozeneggs said...

I'm glad you posted the recipe because I lost the one you sent me and was pulling my hair out looking for it on Martha's site.
I actually do use parchment, but I coat it with shortening. Gross I know, but it works really well for me.
Another tip to getting the surface REALLY smooth is to have a bowl of warm water nearby when you pour the marshmallow into the pan. I spread the mixture and smooth it with clean wet hands.
Very erotic, if you like that kind of thing.
I'm all about getting food on my hands.....
well I think this comment is as long as a blog post. Maybe I don't need to write one today.

Summer said...


Summer said...


Los Schoenys said...

bowl licking is the best part about baking ANYTHING!!


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