Marshmallow Madness!

The last thing I made before I got sick and had my baking plans derailed was a batch of marshmallows to send to family for Christmas (along with batches of ginger snaps). I got this recipe from Alton Brown’s “Good Eats”, which is sadly no longer being broadcast. (I really miss that show; it taught me a lot!) You can find it here. Below is my interpretation, which results in the kind of marshmallows that I like.

THE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

21 grams (three packets) gelatin
1/2 cup ice cold water
12 ounces granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Candy thermometer
9×13 (or so) baking pan
Rubber spatula
Non-stick cooking spray

THE METHOD

Set up your mixer with a whisk attachment. Put the gelatin in the bowl and add the cold water. Let it sit while you make the syrup.

In a large sauce pan, combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup and water. Cover and heat for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove the cover and boil until your candy thermometer reads 240º – about 7-8 minutes. (Whatever you do, DO NOT stir it, or you’ll risk instantly caramelizing the sugar, as I did this afternoon! I don’t know what I was thinking but I knew I was making a mistake the microsecond that spoon hit the syrup. Don’t be like me.)

Remove from syrup from the heat, start the mixer on low, and carefully (you’re dealing with confectionery napalm here) pour the syrup down the side of the bowl. Once you’ve done that, crank the mixer up to high for 14-15 minutes.

While this is going on, prep the roasting pan by spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Coat the pan with the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture, dumping what doesn’t stick back into the the bowl. Also spray the rubber spatula with cooking spray.

One minute before you finish mixing the syrup, pour in the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp if the corn syrup has vanilla in it already, 1 tsp if it doesn’t.) The mixture should be very stiff. Working quickly, turn off the mixer, use the spatula to remove the marshmallow from the whisk attachment, then dump the marshmallow into the prepared pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Once you’ve done that, cover it with tin foil and let it cure for at least 4 hours, preferably over night. (I actually try to let it sit longer than over night for a better consistency.)

After the marshmallow has cured, remove the tin foil, spread some of the remaining cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture over it to cover, use the spatula to remove it from the pan. I use a pizza cutter, dipped in cornstarch/powdered sugar to cut the marshmallow slab into rows then cubes. Coat the cubes with cornstarch/powdered sugar to get rid of the stickiness. Place into an air-tight container, where they’ll keep for about three weeks. Add them to hot cocoa, eat them plain, or even toast them over a campfire, if you’ve got one. If you don’t, then a kitchen blowtorch will do (see below).

And there you have it! Good luck!

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