Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Quite a while ago, I really don't remember exactly when, I decided that I really wanted to try to make homemade marshmallows. I looked up a whole bunch of recipes online. The more recipes I looked at, the more apprehensive I became. I cook, I bake, but these recipes were about candy making. Talking about the various stages of melted sugar - soft ball stage, hard ball stage - which stage you want, which stage you want to avoid... It was pretty intimidating. Like boiling sugar isn't scary enough, what with the burning potential, the risk of having to turn away for a moment and ruining the whole thing, well... it kept me away from marshmallow making. Though I did buy myself some unflavored gelatin and a lovely candy thermometer, just in case the moment hit where I had the urge, the nerve and the time to try...

A couple of weeks ago, my wonderful mother in law called me and told me to quick run down and turn on the Martha Stewart show - she was making marshmallows! Go! Watch! Well, heck! How could I NOT?? Little miss and I hurried down the stairs, found the right channel, and watched Martha (and special guest Claire Danes, I might add!) make marshmallows. Oh. My. Gosh. No candy thermometer. No stage-watching. A simple, straightforward recipe yielding, at least in the expert hands of Martha Stewart, light, fluffy, beautiful marshmallows.

Yup. You guessed it. Hurried up the stairs and made them right then. SO worth it. I will never buy marshmallows again.

Fast forward to last week, I had the first ever parent-teacher conference for little miss. For preschool. That's right, she's three and a half, and we had a parent-teacher conference. A little weird. Anyway, in between the teacher telling me how wonderful my child is (woo hoo!), she was telling me about the craft they did that week - they colored in pictures of cups of cocoa while talking about winter and what not. And she told me that on the next school day, they would add cotton-ball marshmallows to the cups. So what do I do? Offer to send in marshmallows for snack time. So snack would match the craft. Because I am a nerd like that.

Little miss was so excited to be bringing in a treat for her class, and even more excited to help make that treat. Her job was to help me roll the cut marshmallows in powdered sugar. Which we did this morning before heading off to school. Which is why she was still in her pajamas. Which was actually a smart thing, as it turns out. Me? I was dressed already. In a black sweater. Which looked kinda... gray, what with the coating of powdered sugar it had on it by the time we were done... But hey, it was all in good fun, and her class loved the special treat. So it's all good.

And while I am here, can I please tell you about the delicious dinner we had last night? I tried the Daring Cooks Challenge recipe from January, despite the fact that my membership to the challenge began the day after that challenge closed. Doesn't mean I can't still make it, right? The recipe was for satay, which is a Thai dish, and which I know my husband really likes. I chose to make it with chicken, rather than pork, and to make a peanut dipping sauce to go with it. I cut the spiciness a little bit, just to make it a little more three-year-old friendly, but otherwise, didn't change anything. Delicious. We will be keeping this one.

Vanilla Marshmallows

3 1/4-ounce pouches unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons, if you buy in bulk)
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup water (separately from the 1/2 cup above)
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Lightly spray a 9" x 9" baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with plastic wrap, leaving a two inch overhant on all sides. Set the pan aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup of cold water and let it stand for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, and allow it to boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove the syrup from the heat and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into the gelatin mixture. Add the salt and continue mixing on high for 12 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds and continue to mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread the marshmallow mixture evenly into the prepared pan using the sprayed spatula (or hands). Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours (or overnight)
Carefully remove the marshmallows from the pan. You can discard all of the plastic wrap. Cut the marshmallows into desired shapes/sizes and roll them in confectioners sugar to coat.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious -- both the satay AND the marshmallows! Maybe I can convince Evan to make marshmallows, even though he doesn't really eat much sugar... :)


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