Apr 29, 2012

Home Made Vanilla Marshmallows

Yes it is true.  Once you've tried a home-made marshmallow, the bagged kind will be a forgotten memory.  Well, maybe except during the holidays when Jet-Puffed makes the pumpkin ones.  Those are pretty darn good too.

Now I am not going to lie to you.  These are kind of a pain to make.  They were a bit of a tease actually.  The ingredients came together fairly easily and once you pour the mixture into the pan you are giving yourself lots of pats on the back, yay me!  Then you wait.  6 hours to be exact.  You've got to give them time to cool down and firm up.  6 long hours of staring at that pan thinking 'aren't you done yet?!?'

Then comes the time to cut.  There you stand with your sharp knife, powdered sugar, and goofy grin.  Then, it happens.  You stick the knife in and it doesn't come out.  *uck.  So you saw back and forth a bit to get the knife loose and then the marshmallow really gets fussy and start to stretch like Gumby.  Goofy grin fades, lower lip protrudes.  Not a good time.


I had to make two batches to be honest.  The first batch I rushed through and didn't convert the gelatin properly (the original recipe calls for sheets of gelatin, not the powdered like I was using).  So I ended up with WAY too much gelatin and the m.mallows jiggled like jello.  Icky white jello.

After doing a bit of research I sorted out what the problem was.  You should ALWAYS weigh gelatin.  Forget volume measurements, it's all about the weight here.

The second batch was better but still not puffy and thick like the picture in my cookbook.  By the way this recipe comes from my favorite bakery ever (and I haven't even visited them yet) Baked

Baked is located in Brooklyn and was founded in 2005 by two friends Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. These guys know, understand, and appreciate 'Americana' baking. Every single recipe is something I would love to share with you.  If you live near Brooklyn, go pay their shop a visit. I can guarantee they will not disappoint. If you can't make it out, please pick up their cookbook...I'd love to test all their recipes but damn then I'd give it all away for free. Gotta show these boys some love.

aren't they so stinkin' cute.

Anyway, where were we? Baked & Boys threw me off.  Oh yeh, the puffyness.  They looked a bit deflated, almost like they were in desperate need of a marshmallow viagra...yikes.  I'm really not sure where I went wrong here.  If anyone out there is a marshmallow magician, please email me and let me know what you think?

For sure it's not the recipe so don't let that discourage you from giving these sweet puffs a try.  Although mine were a bit on the flat side they still tasted quite spectacular.  They have that very specific marshmallow sweetness but it's completely intensified compared to the store-bought kind.  I found they were much easier to handle the next day after they had time to rest and harden up a bit.

I'm not sure what one would do with a whole plate full of deflated marshmallows.  These were supposed to be a gift for a very ready-to-pop pregnant friend, but I'd feel a bit silly sharing them with anyone in their sad state.  I might use them in this popcorn cake recipe...makes rice krispy treats look so last season.

Vanilla Marshmallows
for a printable version click here

12 sheets of gelatin (or .75 ounces of powdered gelatin)
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan with vegetable shortening.  I used a sandwich baggie as a glove.  Be sure to coat the pan well and don't miss any of the edges or sides.  Set aside

If you are using the gelatin sheets, place them in a medium or large heatproof bowl.  Fill bowl with very cold water and set aside.  Add a few ice cubes to keep the water cold.

If you are using powdered gelatin, place about 1 cup of ice cold water in a medium sized heatproof bowl.  Lightly sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water.  Do this slowly and don't just dump it in as it could cause the gelatin to clump.

In a medium saucepan, gently stir together the sugar, 1/2 cup of the corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water.  Be careful not to splash the mixture around as it will harden up on the sides of your pan.  Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan.

Fill a medium size saucepan half way with water and place on the stove over medium-high heat (aka a double broiler).

Put the remaining 1/2 cup corn syrup in a bowl of a stand up mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set aside.

Return to the saucepan of water and check the temperature.  When the temperature reaches 220 degrees F drain the water from the bowl of gelatin and gives the sheets of gelatin a quick wringing out.

If you are using the powdered gelatin, pout the entire bowl (ice water and gelatin) through a strainer with very very tiny holes.  Don't use a pasta or vegetable strainer otherwise you'll lose the gelatin down the drain.

Place the bowl of gelatin over the saucepan on simmering water and stir the gelatin with a heat safe spatula until it is completely melted.  Remove the bowl from the pan.

Turn the mixer on  low speed and slowly pour the melted gelatin into the corn syrup.  Keep mixer on low.

Bring the sugar mixture to the soft ball stage on the candy thermometer (235-240 degrees F), then remove from heat.  Remove the thermometer from the pan.  Turn up the mixer to medium for 1 minute, then slowly pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture.  When all of the sugar has been added, turn up the mixer to medium-high and beat for about 5 minutes.

The marshmallow mixture will finally start to look like marshmallow and become white and fluffy. 

Add the vanilla and salt and turn the mixer up to its highest speed for another minute.  This was the first time I've ever used that speed.  I thought the mixer was going to take off.

Working very quickly, pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan.  Use an offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly.  Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar and let sit for about 6 hours. 

Lightly dust your kitchen counter with powdered sugar.  Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan and use your hands to pull the marshmallow (it will come out in one big piece) out of the pan onto your counter.

Place 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar into a bowl.  Use a chef's knife to cut the marshmallows into a 6 x 8 grid.  Roll each marshmallow in the powdered sugar.  I found that the best way to cut was to really chop down hard with a lot of powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  When I say a lot, I mean it.  You can't over-do it with the powdered sugar while you're cutting as it won't absorb into the marshmallow.  If you feel your knife sticking, sprinkle powdered sugar on top of it (even if it's stuck, this will help it loose).

Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Marshmallow recipe from the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

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