Recipe: Marshmallows

I am very excited about the impending arrival of the first niece/nephew.  Recently, we threw a shower for my sister-in-law and I decided to make some green and yellows marshmallows for the occasion.  I started making fresh marshmallows last year, after seeing this recipe on epicurious.com (you can even sort recipes by allergy).

I searched high and low for super fine colored sugar.  While I found a lot of large grained sugars, I couldn’t find something superfine.  So I decided to try dying superfine sugar.  Surprisingly easy.

To dye the sugar you will need:

Latex glove

Dying the sugar. Left: applying the food coloring to the glove. Right: rubbing it on the sugar.

Food coloring (I used green and then yellow, you can use whatever strikes your fancy)

1 ½ cups super fine sugar

Small ceramic or glass bowl

1. Place the sugar in the bowl.

2. Put on the latex glove and drip a few drops of food coloring on the glove fingers.

3. Massage the sugar with your gloved hand.  You should start to see the color spreading.  Keep going, about 1 minute or until the sugar is evenly dyed.

My marshmallow recipe is almost the same as the epicurious recipe.  However, I am going to try to make the instructions more detailed and include some pictures.  Marshmallows are easy to make, but the recipe is really vague.  I think the pictures help!

Equipment:

small saucepan

mixer with whisk attachment

basting or pastry brush

candy thermometer

9-inch square pan

Ingredients:

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (total ¾ oz)

1 cup water, divided into two ½ cups + plus another ½ cup of cold water by the stove

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup corn syrup (or corn sugar for those of you associated with the corn lobby)

¼  tsp salt

2 tsps vanilla extract

PAM or canola oil for the pan

Superfine sugar (see above)

1. Start by setting up your mixer with the whisk attachment.  Add ½ cup water to the bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water.

2. Set the candy thermometer on the side of the saucepan.  Next to the pan, set a pastry or basting brush and a bowl of cold water, about ½ cup.

3. Set your burner to low.  Add the corn syrup, salt, sugar and ½ cup water to the saucepan.  Stir to combine.  The sugar will start to dissolve and go from sludge to syrup.  Stop stirring.  Turn the heat to medium.

  • If you are using a stovetop with settings from 1-10, do not go over 8 for this recipe.  You will burn the sugar and end up with a hot, sticky mess.  I start with 6 and add heat towards the end.

4. The mixture needs to reach the soft ball stage (240˚F / 115˚C).  It will take a few minutes for things to happen. Resist the temptation to up the heat or stir it, just keep an eye on it.  Start really paying attention to the mixture when you see small, clear bubbles.

Left & middle: washing the crystals down the side of the pan. Right: This is what the syrup looks like when ready.

5. Dip the brush in the cold water and start washing the crystals off the side of the pan as they bubble up.  Again, do not stir the mixture; it is not necessary.  You may see a film form on top of the syrup.  Normal.  Keep going.

6. Keep brushing the sides of the pan with the cold water and watching the thermometer.  The bubbles will become more vigorous and turn a cloudy brown.  That is normal; just keep at it. After 1-2 minutes, the cloudy residue starts to dissipate and the bubbles become clear.

  • Make sure you haven’t turned your heat up too high: leave it around 6 or 7.  Otherwise, the bubbles may flow over the edge of the pan and create a sticky mess on the stove.

7. Once you start to see clear bubbles again (temp should be around 220˚F / 105˚C), turn the heat up a little, to 7 and eventually, if needed, 8.  Once it hits the right temperature (240˚F / 115˚C), remove from the heat.

8. Meanwhile (cut to the mixer), the gelatin should look rather chunky and unappetizing, like aspic.  Turn the mixer to a low setting.  Check that the syrup has stopped bubbling.  When it has, start slowly pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl.

Left: the bubbles subsiding. Right: streaming into the mixer.

  • After you have poured the syrup, immediately dump the thermometer, saucepan and brush into some hot, soapy water.  Hardened sugar is a beast to scrub off once it sets.  If you clean as you go with this recipe, clean up is a snap.  If you wait until the marshmallows are set, you will be cursing profusely.

    Left: the mixture a minute or two into the whipping. Right: Ready to pour into the bowl, note the soft peaks.

9. Let the mixture come together on a medium-low setting (increasing the speed right away, guarantees a hot syrup splashing on the counter).  You will start to see the mixture coagulate, become lighter and more opaque after about 1-2 minutes.  Hit it up to high speed for about 10-15 minutes, until soft peaks form, like whipped cream.  Turn the mixer to low and add the vanilla.

10. While the marshmallow is becoming marshmallow-y, grab the

Left: greasing the pan. Middle: dusting the pan with sugar. Right: adding the marshmallow batter.

9-inch square pan and pour in a tiny bit of canola oil (if you use pan spray, just spray the pan).  Spread around with a pastry brush to lightly coat the bottom and sides.  Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the colored, superfine sugar on the bottom of the pan and spread around: like lining a cake pan with flour.

11. When the marshmallow batter is ready, pour into the pan and top with more sugar.  Set at room temperature for 2 hours.

12. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn over so the marshmallows slide onto the counter.  If you are worried about a mess, line the counter with a little wax paper.

Left: sugaring the tops of the marshmallows. Right: coming out of the pan.

Cutting up the marshmallows

13. Cut into squares.

14. Roll in sugar.

Left: Rolling in sugar. Right: square peeps!

15. Eat.

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