It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter

And the snow is tumbling down. And down. And down.  It’s a downpour of snow.  Reality is just as cold as that wind chill, am I right?

It snowed all night, it snowed all morning, it snowed most of the afternoon.  A white blanket covered the earth. The traffic was terrible. A typical Minnesota day.

Luckily for me, Robert loves me.  He let me use the underground heated parking this winter, for the second year in a row! This means that I get leave for work only slightly earlier than normal, whereas R has to shovel his car out and scrape his windshield. He has to bundle up and brave the arctic tundra that is Minnesota.20151230_125847

This man deserves some damn hot chocolate!  Lucky for him, I am not frozen to the core and am able to make him a delicious homemade version, none of the store bought powder crap that most Americans know so well.  R actually quite likes the store bought crap, but I think that’s just because it’s all he knows.  It’s funny how some not very good flavors become nostalgic.

And nothing goes better with rich, dark, homemade hot chocolate than fluffy, creamy, sweet homemade marshmallows. MARSHMALLOWS.

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Marshmallows officially fall into the category of food that I KNEW you could make from scratch, but never understood why one would want to.  I understand now. I was wrong.  They taste nothing like the store bought versions. Those pale imitations are nothing compared to the joy home made ones will bring.

The homemade marshmallows were surprisingly easy as well. I had almost all the ingredients at the house already, so all I had to pick up at the store was gelatin. Nice!

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A word of caution before you dive into this recipe on your own. If you have never used unflavored gelatin before, you do not know it’s horrors.  Gelatin is an animal byproduct. When you let it bloom (put it in water), it releases a smell unlike anything else in the world.  It’s not a stretch of the imagination that it came from a cow/horse/pig.  If you have any dietary restrictions about what kind of animal products you can use, make sure you check that out when you’re buying your gelatin. And don’t be discouraged by the rank odor that comes from the blooming gelatin. Once you throw a bunch of sugar and vanilla in it you can’t even tell. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need for the marshmallows:

  • .75 ounce gelatin
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

First, bloom your gelatin in a large bowl with a whip attachment for a stand mixer.  A hand mixer would also work for this, but it’ll behoove you to drag out the big clunker for this project, I promise. All you have to do is put the gelatin in the bowl with 1/2 Cup COOL water.  It’s important that it’s cool water. Hot water does crazy things to gelatin.  Just set that aside. You’ve done good work, you.

Pro tip. At this point pull out a sheet of parchment to place your utensils & what not on.  It’s about to get sticky and this makes clean up so much easier.

Next get a deep, but small, saucepan. The deep part is important.  Throw in there the remaining 1/2 Cup water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt.  Give it a nice stir and place over medium heat.  Be patient and keep it over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  It turns a milky color fairly quick, so I let some of the mixture run down the inside of my saucepan to more easily see how the sugar was melting.

After your sugar is melted, turn the heat to high. Bring your mixture to a boil. This part is nerve wracking, I won’t lie.  I kept waiting for the bottom to burn, or boil over.  Don’t touch the pot, and let it boil for one minute. Do not disturb during this time.  At first the mix will boil up really high, that’s why it’s so important to have a nice deep sauce pan. After it raises up, it will immediately fall down. Do not fret. This is exactly what you want.

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You can see near the top how high it boils up.  Make sure that sauce pan is deep!

Get your mixer going on a low setting, and slowly pour your boiled sugar mixture into the bowl.  After all of the mix is in, slowly work your way up to the mixer’s highest setting. At first a lot of steam will emit from the mix, but it’ll cool rapidly as you add air to the marshmallow. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away.  The urge to mess with it is real at this point, but just let it go.  Fold some laundry, cuddle with your cat, whatever.

When your mixture is ready, the bottom of the bowl should be just slightly warm to the touch, and the mix should be just a tisch above room temperature.

Add your vanilla, and mix it in on a low speed.  Go ahead and buy the fancy stuff next time your at the grocery.  It really does make a huge difference, and, honestly, you deserve it.

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After the 10 minutes is up, your mix should be fluffy, shiny, and look all around delicious.  Grease a 9×13* pan & a spatula well. Turn your mix into the pan, and do your best to spread it out evenly. Sprinkle some sugar over your sugar! With a sieve, dust powdered sugar all over the pan.  The 1/4 cup looks like a lot at first, but some will soak into the marshmallow.

Resist (and fail) temptation to lick the bowl, whisk, and spoon. Rice crispies will never be the same.  Nor will home made hot chocolate.

Notes:  Just like there are fun flavored marshmallows at the store, you could easily flavor the ones you make to your liking.

Make sure you grease the pan RIGHT before you turn the mixture into it.  Let it sit to long and it’ll pool in the corners. Blech!

I used a 9×13 pan this time, but the marshmallows are quite big. I think I might like to try two jelly roll pans next time.

I hear there’s versions of this that are made without using corn syrup.  Ever made one? Pros & cons?  Maybe I’ll get to it eventually and we can have a mallow party!

Vanilla Marshmallows

Ingredients:

  • .75 ounce gelatin
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Gather your ingredients.
  2. Put gelatin & 1/2 Cup of cool water into large bowl attachment of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer on standby. Set aside.
  3. In a small, but quite deep, stockpot add the remaining 1/2 cup water, 1/2 Cups granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Put stockpot over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Keep at medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Turn heat to high, and allow mixture to come to  boil.  Let it boil, without touching it, for one minute.
  6. Take the sugar mixture off the heat, and slowly pour into the gelatin you had set aside.  Whip as you slowly pour, at a low speed.
  7. Once all the sugar mixture is added to the gelatin whip on high for about 10 minutes, or until the marshmallow mix is light and fluffy.  The bottom of the bowl should be just slightly warm to touch, the mixture just a hair above room temperature.
  8. Add vanilla to the mixture, and slowly beat to incorporate.
  9. Grease a 9×13 glass or ceramic pan well. Turn mixture into the glass pan with a greased spatula.
  10. Sift powdered sugar to the top of the marshmallow mixture.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, uncovered.
  12. Cut with greased cookie cutters, or a greased knife.
  13. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

I got this recipe from Very Culinary.  She did a fantastic job with the recipe, I just added a few tips and tricks to this version.  Check it out here.

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