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Easy Gourmet Marshmallows
EASY MARSHMALLOWS
-----------------
Marshmallows are perhaps one of the simplest confections you can make. They only
require a handful of ingredients, a batch can be thrown together in 10-15 minutes
(plus *cough* 3 hours for them to set), and you can flavor them however you like.
(You haven't LIVED until you've had coconut marshmallows!)
Hardware needed:
* Stand mixer
* Candy thermometer
* 8x8 or 9x9 glass baking dish, 2" deep
* Large knife (preferably non-serrated. the bigger, the better.)
* Colander
* Three medium-sized bowls
* Cooking spray
Ingredients:
* 5 tsp unflavored gelatin (roughly 2 envelopes). Less than this and you get
taffy. More and you get firm, Jello-like marshmallows.
* 1/4 cup cold water
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup corn syrup
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 3 tbl hot water
* Powdered (confectioners) sugar
Optional:
* 1 egg white. (Powdered egg whites are perfect for this.)
* 1/8 tsp cream of tartar. (This "stabilizes" egg whites. I observed this to make
the marshmallows firmer, and to hold together slightly better.)
* food coloring
* flavoring (see "Flavorings" at end of recipe)
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Stage ONE:
----------
Spray bottom and sides of baking dish liberally with cooking spray. Set aside.
Put gelatin into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1/4 cup of cold water and
stir until mixed.
If using an egg, add a pinch of salt to the egg white and beat for a minute or two.
Then add the cream of tartar and beat for another couple minutes, until soft peaks
appear. Set aside. (Note that the egg will not be cooked during the processing of
the marshmallows, so if you are nervous about eating raw egg whites, you can skip
this. However, adding the beaten egg whites makes the marshmallows significantly
lighter and fluffier. You might consider using pasteurized egg whites, or powdered
egg whites, if raw eggs aren't your thing.)
Put sugar, corn syrup, salt, and hot water in sauce pan and place over low heat,
stirring frequently with wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to
medium high and bring to boil, without stirring. When temperature reaches 240F (the
"soft ball" stage; for best results, use candy thermometer), remove from heat, and
immediately pour over gelatin mixture. Stir candy mixture and gelatin mixture until
gelatin mixture dissolves.
Beat slowly in mixer, then increase (gradually, to avoid splashing) to high speed.
Beat for about one minute, and then add flavoring (see "Flavorings" at the end of
this recipe), and food coloring (if any). Beat for another minute. The mixture will
expand about 3x, and should be thick and fluffy. Stop mixer. If you're using an egg,
add the beaten egg whites at this point and mix until combined, about another 15
seconds.
Pour immediately into baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
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Stage TWO:
----------
Remove chilled confection from refrigerator. Dust top of marshmallow with a teaspoon
of powdered sugar. Use a table knife to loosen the brick from the sides of the dish,
and using your hands work the brick loose from the dish. (It should come free pretty
easily.) Place brick upside down on cutting board that has been dusted liberally with
powdered sugar. Pat the marshmallow brick with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Put about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Put colander in a second bowl.
Get a third bowl for storing the final product in.
Spray a large knife (the bigger the better, honestly) with cooking spray, and dust
with powdered sugar.
Using the knife, cut marshmallow brick into cubes (2cm is about right for me).
Roll each cube in the powdered sugar, then place in the colander. Periodically shake
the marshmallows in the colander vigorously to remove excess powdered sugar, and
transfer them to the third bowl.
When finished, store the marshmallows at room temperature in an air-tight container.
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FLAVORINGS
----------
You'll want to add some kind of flavoring, even if it's just a little bit of
vanilla. Without flavoring, the gelatin is what you taste, which is a little
unpleasant.
* Vanilla: add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. (If you like a strong vanilla flavor,
add more.)
* Coconut: add 1/2 tsp coconut extract. Double if coconut is really your thing.
* Pina-Colada: add 1/2 tsp coconut extract and 1/2 tsp pineapple extract.
* Lemon: add 1/2 tsp lemon extract and a few drops of yellow food coloring.
* Raspberry: add 1 tsp raspberry extract. 4 drops of red food coloring for color.
* Strawberry: add 1/2 tsp strawberry extract and 4 drops of red food coloring.
* Peach: add 1/2 tsp peach extract and 3 drops yellow + 1 drop red food coloring.
* Coconut-Lime: add 1/2 tsp coconut extract and 1/4 tsp lime extract.
* Orange: 1/2 tsp orange extract, with 5 drops yellow and 1 drop red food coloring.
* Chocolate: add 2 (yes, two) tsp chocolate extract.
* Lemon-honey: replace corn-syrup with 1/4c honey. Add 1tsp lemon extract, and
1/4tsp vanilla.
If you have the patience, you can layer two batches in a 9x13" baking dish for a result
that's both pretty and tasty. Make the first batch and pour it in the dish, smoothing
it so it covers the bottom. Then make the second batch and pour it over the top, and
refrigerate the whole.
* Chocolate-coconut: make one batch chocolate, and one batch coconut.
* Orange-cream: make one batch orange, and one batch vanilla.
* Peaches-and-cream: make peach and vanilla batches, but use 1 tsp peach flavoring
instead of 1/2 tsp.
* Raspberry-cream: 1 tsp raspberry and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
* The possibilities are endless!
I've experimented with the following, but have not yet found a satisfactory result:
* Mint: I accidentally added 1 tsp of mint extract to my batch and got toothpaste-
flavored marshmallows. Need to add much, much less next time, probably more like
1/4 tsp (or less).
* Blueberry: 1/2 tsp of blueberry extract was not enough, the flavor was too
subtle. Next time I'll try a full tsp. Also, 3 drops of blue wasn't blue enough.
Perhaps more like 5 or 6 drops would do better.
I'll add more as I find combinations and amounts that work well. If you have a
favorite flavor, let me know and I'll add it here, too.
Enjoy!
-----------------
THINGS I'VE TRIED
-----------------
11 Feb 2010: Used 1/4c honey instead of 1/4c corn syrup. The result bubbled
significantly more when boiled, but also resulted in marshmallows that were
noticably fluffier. The honey was more viscous than the corn syrup; perhaps this
suggests using a "heavier" syrup? Or less water?
12 Feb 2010: Used 3 tbl hot water instead of a 1/4 c. The result seemed to support
my theory that less water would result in a fluffier marshmallow. The syrup was
quite viscous before it was boiled, though, so going less than 2 tbl of water may
not be feasible. Will have to try that and see what happens, to be sure.
Nov 2011: Using two egg whites instead of one, the marshmallows were noticeably
fluffier. However, they had a more "meringue-y" texture, and tended to "sweat"
after they were dusted with the powdered sugar. This made them tacky to the
touch, which may be fine if you intend to dip them in chocolate or use them
quickly.
-------------
THINGS TO TRY
-------------
I'm continually testing and evolving this recipe, trying to find the perfect
marshmallow. Some things I'd like to test:
* Peanut butter is a difficult flavor to use here. I've tried freezing the PB to
try and shatter it into tiny pieces (couldn't get it cold enough). I've tried
baking the PB to "dry it out", so it could be added as a powder (oil doesn't
evaporate, obviously). I've tried baking it to intensify it's flavor, so that
less PB is needed (all you get is a bitter-tasting peanut butter). I've tried
some artificial peanut butter flavor powder (which did not taste anything like
peanut butter). What's the answer? How can you make a peanut butter flavored
marshmallow with the same full fluffiness as the other flavors?
* How can the fluffiness be increased in general? The idea marshmallow would be
light and airy, and although adding an egg white definitely improved it, I have
to wonder if it can be taken even further. Adding a second egg white did make
them fluffier (see above, under "Things I've Tried"), but had unpleasant side-
effects. Adding more gelatin only made the marshmallows firmer. Would they need
to be whipped at a higher speed than my mixer can manage?
* Is it possible to make a "plain" (unflavored) marshmallow that doesn't taste like
gelatin? Perhaps using xanthan gum instead of gelatin?
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