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Friday, 22 November 2013

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows are wonderfully delicious.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile. You can make big fat marshmallows, or smaller marshmallows, or cut marshmallows into festive shapes.  You can decorate the tops with colored swirls or sprinkles.  And, you can even flavor the marshmallows!  My favorite part is ending up with scraps of marshmallows, which are fun to eat, pop in hot chocolate, AND work perfectly in recipes calling for marshmallows, like my amazing marshmallow brownies.  Yum!  You will need a mixer with a whisk attachment and a candy thermometer for this recipe.  Enjoy!

Marshmallows cut in shapes in hot chocolate. You can just make square marshmallows, too.

Homemade Marshmallows
Butter 9x13 glass pan for larger square marshmallows OR butter cookie sheet for thinner marshmallows to cut into fancier shapes OR butter 9x13 pan and an 8x8 pan to make half thick, half thin marshmallows.
Combine in a mixer with whisk attachment:
½ cup cool water
3 pkg. (1/4 oz each) unflavored gelatin
In a small, deep saucepan, combine the following over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until syrup reaches 240F on a candy thermometer:
½ cup cool water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
I find heating to 240F takes ~20-30 minutes, and will go in phases of seeming not to increase in temperature to suddenly jump up 5-10 degrees.  So, make sure you’re paying attention, particularly at the end.
Showing the progression of sugar boiling.  It does bubble up a bit, but not too much.  Even so, I recommend using a pot that it the liquid will fill no more than halfway.
Remove from heat.  With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin.  Increase speed to high and whip until closer to room temperature, about 8-10 minutes. 
This is how the gelatin and boil-sugar mixture will look initially.
Keep whisking and it will fluff up and look like delicious marshmallow fluff.
Towards the end, add flavorings, such as:
1 tsp vanilla
Or (other options):
Peppermint candies, a few drops peppermint oil or peppermint extract, a few drops other flavoring, food coloring (if you want a different color), a few drops fruit-flavored oils (the kind used to flavor candy) or flavored extracts
Use wet hands to smooth and flatten marshmallow into greased pan or pans.  You can use food coloring (optional) on wet top, swirling around for decoration.  If you want to add decorative sprinkles (optional), add them at this point.  Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.  Let sit several hours before cutting with a greased knife or cookie cutter.  I find I need to re-butter the cookie cutters every 3-4 cuts or they start to stick. 

You’ll want to toss your marshmallows in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together. You can either: 1. Place cut marshmallows aside on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with powdered sugar, then toss in a large Ziploc with some powdered sugar; or 2. Place directly into a large Ziploc with powdered sugar once cut, and toss occasionally while you're cutting so marshmallows don’t stick together.    

In this batch, I made one 9x13 pan and one 8x8 pan, so I could cut thinner, shaped marshmallows (pictured below) and cut some larger square marshmallows (which I later dipped in chocolate).
Using a buttered cookie cutter, it's easy to cut marshmallows into fun shapes.
I cut stars, gingerbread men, and candy-cane shapes and packaged them up for the school's Christmas bake sale.  There is, of course, some extra marshmallow in the pan after cutting out the shapes.  I chopped it up into hap-hazardly shaped pieces and used it in one of our favorite recipes - my amazing marshmallow brownies!
These are some square-cut marshmallows I made at a different time.  I put on a bit of red food coloring after flattening the marshmallows with wet hands, and swirled it around.  I then put on colored sprinkles.  Finally, I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar and let sit a few hours before cutting, tossing in a bit more powdered sugar, and popping into bags.
Another picture of our hot chocolate fun!


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