Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows

This year I am giving my coworkers little hot chocolate mugs. They are quick and easy, fairly inexpensive and just about everyone likes hot chocolate. To add a little something extra I made marshmallows. I googled recipes and found several that I liked.

Marshmallows are easy to make though they do take some time to cool. Once you get them in the pan they need to sit for at least 6 hours though preferably over night.

Here are some pictures of the process

The recipe I found called for unflavored gelatin, light corn syrup, granulated sugar, water and vanilla.

To keep the marshmallows white you are supposed to use clear vanilla. I could only find imitation vanilla that was clear. Then we found powered vanilla. It was a natural vanilla product which was white so I took a chance and bought it. I made a batch of marshmallows with each type of vanilla and amazingly there was no difference in taste or color - so either product works for this recipe. When using the powered vanilla you use the same amount you would use in liquid form - easy peasy!

To get started you combine most of the ingredients and cook them to the "soft ball" stage on a candy thermometer. Once that is done you pour this incredibly hot mixture into a metal bowl and beat it with a mixer until it doubles in volume.

Pour into a pan which has been covered with aluminum foil and then coated with butter. Then you cover it and let it sit.

When the marshmallow is ready you can cut it into square blocks or use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Either way you decide to cut them you will need to coat your cutting implement with cooking spray.
These were really sticky when transferring from bowl to pan but the next day they were not as sticky as I thought they would be. I chose a snowman cookie cutter and was really pleased with the results. I'll be bagging these in individual holiday bags and tucking them into the mugs of coco resulting in an easy, inexpensive, yet personal gift.

Since I had such great luck making regular marshmallows I had to step it up a bit. The next batch I made was flavored with Banana Vanilla Rum I  got when I was in the Caribbean last year. The flavor is outstanding though I was too impatient and did not mix them long enough so they were flat. I'll be making a new batch of those later today.

The key to the Rum flavored marshmallows is this: instead of adding water to the gelatin you add rum. My recipe called for 1/2 cup of water to 3 packets of gelatin, I substituted 1/2 cup of rum for the water. Yum.

A couple of tips:

If your home is on the cool side you probably don't need to beat the mix for 15 minutes, I only needed to let it mix for 13 minutes, then my mixer started to protest!

Butter the spatula you use to spread the mixture into the pan

My marshmallows were not sticky enough to hold the toppings like the picture in the recipe, however, I live in a very dry climate, you results may be different.

Try adding different flavors to the gelatin, the rum is good. I've also heard of people making Irish Cream flavored marshmallows.

Keep in mind that you are not cooking off the alcohol when you add it to the mix, while some of it will burn off due tot he high heat of the mix you can not be sure how much is left so I would not recommend serving these to children :)

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