By Caroline King
Today’s Sweet: Homemade Marshmallows
Recipe From: Alton Brown via Food Network
Turns out, around here, we like marshmallows. The team has tried and shared before, but I’ve been wanting to put some recipes to the test for a while now. I’ve been holding off because I thought it would be hard and intensive. As it turns out, it’s easy—just incredibly messy. And I’m a messy cook to begin with. Let’s just say that my kitchen might be covered in a thin layer of cornstarch and powdered sugar.
Since this is the season for cozying up with a blanket (Snuggie, anyone?) and a hot beverage, homemade marshmallows made the perfect kitchen experiment. They make darling gifts, and you can take it up a notch by adding some to a jarred hot chocolate mix.
I searched high and low for the right recipe, and by George, I think we’ve found it. Alton Brown’s does it just right. It’s simple and he explained everything so well. Just don’t forget a candy thermometer or a clean-up crew.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat. Turn the mixer on low speed and while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the mixer speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very think and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pans as follows:
For regular marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly-oiled spatula for spreading evenly. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in airtight container for up to three weeks.
For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half-sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners sugar mixture. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with confectioners sugar. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
And while we’re at it, here’s a recipe for a hot chocolate mix:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
You can also add crushed candy canes, or for spice, throw in a pinch of cayenne pepper. My personal favorite is a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon.