Monday, December 3, 2012

Marshmallows, anyone?

Marshmallows are a big part of the holidays it seems. My hubby makes a sweet yam dish with marshmallows that is to die for. He also likes to eat them right out of the bag, which I think I am the only one who doesn't. He even roasts them over the electric burner for me. He gets them a golden brown, yummy! When I used to "roast" marshmallows over a campfire, I would stick it in the flames, let it catch on fire, pull it out and blow out the flame. Repeat 1-2 times.

Oldest daughter has an interesting marshmallow story. Everyone has noises that just cause them to cringe, the old "fingers on a blackboard" thing. Do kids even know what blackboards are anymore? Back on track: The sound that drove my daughter nuts was rubbing marshmallows together! I didn't even think the made a sound, but apparently they do. As she was growing up, we had great times finding her and terrorizing her with a handful of marshmallows. Just the site of them was enough to make her run away screaming!

Now how do marshmallows fit into the scheme of things? I found this recipe for marshmallows online today in a blog of a blogger that I read. I'm going to have to make some for my hubby real soon!

This is the video tutorial from You Tube posted by DenverBargains. The recipe from the same page is below. If you want to go to the webpage yourself, click here

Homemade Marshmallows

You will never want Jet-Puff in your hot chocolate again!
.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
3/4 cup water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
red food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T cornstarch
Lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. If you have a flexible silicon pan, use it! If not, you can use any metal or glass pan.  It’s just easier to remove the marshmallows from the silicon pan.
In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer if you have one), sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and allow it to dissolve for about 5-10 minutes.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a very  hard boil and cook for one minute (no need for a candy thermometer).  Make sure you stir it frequently, and be careful – this mixture is very hot!
Pour the boiling syrup on top of the gelatin and begin whisking on high.  A stand mixer will make this job much easier, though I’ve used a hand mixer with no problem.  Just be aware it’s possible that you could burn up your mixer using it on high for this long!
Add the salt and whisk on high for about 10 minutes.  At about 8 minutes in, I begin dipping my finger into the mixture and dropping a small dollop on the counter to test how close it is to “done”.  If you drop a dollop on the counter and within 30-60 seconds, it starts to firm up like you would imagine a marshmallow would, you can probably stop whipping.  Ten minutes is usually enough; you can go as long as 12 if you’re unsure.

The only marshmallows my husband will eat plain!
At the end of the mixing, add the vanilla and peppermint extract (if using).  Pour half of the marshmallow mixture into the pan, then swirl around a few drops of red food coloring (if making peppermint marshmallows).  Pour the rest of the mixture on top, then swirl in a little more food coloring.
Allow the marshmallows to set until firm – usually about 4-5 hours.
Once firm, combine 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 T cornstarch in a bowl.  Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the marshmallows into cubes.  It helps prevent sticking if you dip your scissors in the powdered sugar mixture between each cut.
Toss each marshmallow in the powdered sugar mixture and that’s it – you’re done!  Store in a semi-airtight container.  I’ve found that if they are in a completely airtight container, they tend to get a little soggy; so we usually leave the lid just barely cracked.

Even More Variations To Try

There are endless customization possibilities for these homemade marshmallow! Continuing with the peppermint theme, you could crush candy canes and spread them on the bottom of the pan and then on top of the marshmallows before they set.
Chocolate-dipped marshmallows would be yummy, or could you try tossing them in cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar!
How about coconut extract, or maple?  The possibilities are endless.
Note: I found this recipe online somewhere and have adapted the instructions to be a little bit more beginner-friendly, but have no idea where the original recipe came from!
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