Friday, May 28, 2010
Challenge: Vanilla Marshmallows
I was nervous, though.
Boy, was I nervous.
Countless recipes all say that marshmallows are SO easy. But anything involving cooking syrups scares me. That's why this was a challenge. It's something I've been dying to do, and something I was terrified to do...all at the same time.
So, I bought gelatin. I figured I had no excuse to not make them. And it still took me weeks, if not months to get up the courage. But I finally did!
Was I rewarded? Well, kinda. I think they probably take a bit of practice before you can whip them out and call it easy... and I think I overcooked the syrup (it only boiled for like 2 minutes! How was I supposed to know it would turn so fast?! I guess the small quantity of water should have been a giveaway, but still.).
However, I felt the texture was good, although it could have been lighter. And several people have said the texture is right on. Jeff complained about the flavor...which I thought was interesting, since I used the vanilla bean paste he lobbied for me to buy. But you know what? I like them more and more. I keep snagging them when I'm in the kitchen and every time I do, I'm more and more satisfied. So I guess that's a good sign.
They were good. And easy. I shouldn't have been so nervous. And I will make them again.
But, I will not use my vanilla bean paste in them again; all the beans from the paste stuck to the bottom of the mixer bowl. The taste made it into the marshmallows, but not the tell-tale bean specks.
adapted from Brownie Points Blog
2 envelopes gelatin
3/8 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/8 cup water
5/8 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment and spray with non-stick spray.
Pour 3/8 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add vanilla. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and allow to bloom. In a saucepan with a heavy bottom, add the remaining water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Once it boils, remove the lid and allow to boil without stirring until it reaches a soft-ball stage.
Turn the mixer onto medium and pour the syrup slowly and carefully into the gelatin. If you have a splash guard, this would be a good time to use it as syrup is very hot. Also, wear an oven mitt. Once the syrup is all in the bowl, raise the speed to high and whip the marshmallow until it's fluffy and stiff. I think mine might have been done after 5 minutes, but continued to whip because the recipe said 8-10. I was waiting for it to lose its gloss, and it never did, so don't worry about that.
Pour the marshmallow (or spoon, as it happened for me) into the baking dish and use a greased spatula to spread. Allow it to rest, uncovered, for 10-12 hours.
Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar in a bowl. Dust a pair of kitchen shears with the mixture and then dust the top and bottom of the marshmallow slab with the mixture. Cut the marshmallows into strips and squares and toss in the sugar to coat. Store on a covered container.