Friday, June 19, 2009

Homemade Marshmallows

Why make your own marshmallows? Well, I happen to have a few reasons:
  1. Because it's cool to make your own food.
  2. Because you like to learn new things.
  3. Because they're friggin delicious.
  4. Because marshmallows are squishy and fun.
  5. Because you will not even recognize the store-bought chew-fests after you're done here.
  6. Because sometimes you forget that things you can buy at the store don't actually have to be made in a factory somewhere.
  7. Because s'mores will never taste the same.
  8. Because you CAN.
This recipe definitely requires equipment (hand-held or stand mixer and candy thermometer), but in execution it is SO EASY. These mallows come together in about 10 minutes, then you just have to hang out until they set up. I packed them into a 8x4 loaf pan, then sliced them into oversize cubes for fantastical s'mores.

Homemade Marshmallows
c/o Epicurious; takes about 2 hours (including set-up time)

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp + 2 1/2 Tbsp cold water (divided)
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp corn syrup
pinch salt
*1 medium egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar

*About that egg white: there is a real difference in volume between med-large-and-XL eggs. You only want a medium egg's-worth of white, so if all you have is large or XL, just don't use the whole thing.
  • Place 2T cold water in a mixer bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top to soften. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 2 1/2 T water in a small pot and set over medium heat. Bring to 240ยบ (watch carefully! it can happen fast!) and remove from heat. Pour into gelatin mixture and whisk to combine. Then hit it with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 6 minutes (may take longer with hand-held, as many as 10)
  • In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg white on high until it holds stiff peaks. Add beaten white and vanilla, then whisk again until well mixed.
  • Grab a pan that will allow you to make the size marshmallows you want -- i.e. if you want little mallows, spread them thin into a large pan; if you want biggies, go with a smaller receptacle. Grease it well, then scoop mixture in and spread (cooking spray on the spatula goes a long way here). Sprinkle with 2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar and toss in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  • When they're ready, dump them out and have the powdered sugar ready. Cut with a greased knife or pair of shears into desired sizes. Toss in plenty of powdered sugar to coat and store in an airtight container for a couple of weeks--if they last!
P.S. You can, in fact, make s'mores on a gas stove. Despite what the fire department might say. Just be aware: without jet-puffed stabilizers, these guys will cook fast, so keep the heat low and be prepared to catch the melting mallow with your handy graham.

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