Sunday, April 13, 2008

TWD - Marshmallows!

When I heard the weather report for the weekend, I was sure I wouldn't be TWD-ing this week. You see, Mother Nature got her months mixed up. She thought this was August, not April and decided we needed a 95 degree weekend.

Now, I love a hot summer day. We really only get a few each year. The rest of the calendar, we are treated to mild weather between 58 and 78 in my lovely town.

Needless to say, I was dang happy when I realized this week's recipe was a no bake. MARSHMALLOWS! However, I was a little freaked out because gelatin is grody and I cannot stand the way it smells. But, I did it. I made the chocolate marshmallows.

A few things I did differently - I used an 8x8 pan and a TON of cornstarch. I also made the chocolate one but mine were more choc chunk since I never could get the chocolate to be 'runny' melted.

They turned out OK but I'm not a huge marshmallow fan, at least when eaten alone. But, my coworkers thought they were good and that I was a genius for making them, which I am, of course. :D

Thanks to Judy for choosing this week's recipe. Now head over to TWD to see what the other baking geniuses created this week.

PS Gelatin stinks to high heaven. Ew.

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plus

1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.

Playing Around

CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.


April said...

I really like the chocolate chunk!

Rebecca said...

Ah, your marshmallows are so nice and fat and fluffy. I've got to use a smaller pan next time.

Anne said...

The chocolate looks wonderful! My gelatin smelled too though... ugh.

Anonymous said...

I love the look!

And yes, my gelatin made me gag :(

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Don't you love it when people who don't bake or cook are impressed by your genius? ;-)

Your marshmallows look great and I'm just as impressed!

Engineer Baker said...

It's nice to be appreciated :) And chocolate chunk marshmallows sound amazing - toss in some pieces of graham cracker and you have an all-in-one s'more!

kelly g said...

Gelatin is ick but chocolate makes everything better.

Mary said...

it is funny when people outside of the baking/blogging world think our creations are truly inconceivable! great job on your marshmallows...I think gelatin stinks too!

Annemarie said...

Gelatin does stink! You have lucky co workers!

Dianne said...

Gelatin definitely does have a weird smell. Your marshmallows look fabulous though! :)

Carrie said...

If you hadn't mentioned it, I would have thought the chocolate chunks were intentional. They look good to me!
... and I agree, gelatin is grody!

Nikki57 said...

mmmm chunkity chocolaty goodness

Heather said...

Oh.. chocolate chunk marshmallows...sounds sooo yummy!

Tammy said...

the chocolate chunks look great!

Natalie said...

The gelatin was really disgusting smelling, wasn't it? I like the chocolate chunks!

Donna said...

Ditto on the gelatin! I thought something died in my drain until I saw all the other comments!
I love the speckled chocolaty look of your marshies. Makes them look exotic.

Shari said...

Your marshmallows look great!

LyB said...

They look so cute with the little chocolate chunks!

Zakia / The Frosted Bake Shop said...

chocolate chunk marshmallows- sounds like a keeper to me! i love the way the chocolate is studded thru the marshmallows.

Judy said...

Wouldn't you know that last weekend would have to be hot? It was difficult to find a dry, cool place, so I kept my fingers crossed on that one. Your marshmallows turned out great!