Monday, December 27, 2010


Reasons why you should make marshmallows:

1. People will think you're cool.
2. They are plush and pillowy and WORLDS better than storebought.
3. They are relatively easy.
4. People will think you're cool.

Here's a basic marshmallow recipe with several variations. I'll be honest: this recipe requires you to have six hands and do approximately fifteen thousand things at once, but if you're a good multitasker (or have friends in the kitchen with you), you shouldn't have any problems.

Basic Marshmallows

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup water, divided
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (clear imitation for really snow-white marshmallows)
Confectioner's sugar

Lightly grease an 8x8 square pan, then coat with confectioner's sugar. Set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved; allow to cook to 250-255 degrees without stirring.

Meanwhile, combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan; allow to sit for 10 minutes, then melt gelatin over low heat until liquefied. Keep in a warm place until ready to use.

Mean-the-heck-while (see? fifteen thousand things at once. or three, or whatever), use a stand mixer to beat egg whites and salt until they're firm but creamy.

When sugar mixture has reached 250-255 degrees, remove from heat. Quickly stir in gelatin mixture (gelatin will bubble up - be sure to use a large saucepan!).

With stand mixer on high speed, stream gelatin mixture slowly into egg whites. Whip on high speed until mixture starts to pull away from sides of the bowl, about 5-8 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then spread quickly in prepared pan and allow to stand for at least 1 hour. Cut into desired shapes and roll in confectioner's sugar.

FOR PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOWS: Decrease vanilla to 1/2 tablespoon, and add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract and a dab of green gel color, if desired.

FOR ROSE MARSHMALLOWS: Add a scant 1/4 tsp. rose water and a dab of pink gel color, if desired.

FOR CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARSHMALLOWS: Bring 4 tbsp. water to a boil, then stir in 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa. After whipping vanilla into marshmallows, fold cocoa mixture loosely into marshmallows without fully combining. Spread in prepared pan (fudge marshmallows may take a bit longer to set). Roll fudge marshmallows in confectioner's sugar with a bit of cocoa powder added, if desired.

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