02 September 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

So, we're going camping this weekend...I'm totally looking forward to it.  I haven't been camping in a long time, so I'm a little rusty.  But we're going camping in Switzerland, and I can't imagine anything better.  OK, I can imagine one thing that could make the trip even better...s'mores with homemade marshmallows.
I saw an Alton Brown episode where he made marshmallows from scratch.  At first, I thought he was totally crazy (I mean he is, but even more so that he thinks marshmallows can be made at home), but then I decided I was also crazy and I gave it a try.  Much to my surprise, it wasn't as difficult as I thought.  I will say, though, now that I have a stand mixer it is a whole lot easier, but even without one it isn't as complicated as you might think.  The only necessities are some sort of electric mixer and a candy thermometer.  If you've got those two, you're good to go.

Once you've tried these little babies, you'll never want to eat store-bought marshmallows again. They are light and fluffy, not plastic-y stiff on the outside (and they puff up HUGE in the microwave, if you like that sort of thing).  You can even cut them up smaller and make mini-marshmallows for your hot chocolate (I know for some of you, hot chocolate is not 1st on your mind--it's still hot outside--but last night here in Germany, it got down to like 40F, so I'm thinking hot chocolate).

Homemade marshmallows
From Alton Brown's Good Eats

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray

  • Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  • In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  • Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

  • Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  • When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  • Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For miniature marshmallows: 

  • Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners' sugar mixture.
  • Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip (or a zip-lock bag and cut off one corner). Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
  • Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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