I've been mystified by the marshmallow basically since I started eating them. There is nothing quite like it, or that reminds me of summertime like a crisped and gooey marshmallow over a hot bon fire, wedged between chocolate and graham crackers. I like to enjoy mine roasted black as coal, and peel the skin off before it is devoured in my s’more. In winter time though, I like to add them to my hot chocolate. Warm chocolately goodness paired with the fluffy pillow marshmallow, and enjoyed as it slowly melts in my mug. There’s something about it that just warms me up this time of year.
I have always wondered though, what IS a marshmallow? How is it made? What in the world transforms all that sugar into a perfect puffed, delightful little pillow? I had to find out, even with my fear of science I found a recipe and decided to try it, I’ve been reading about marshmallow startups everywhere these days, so how hard can it be?
There are a few steps, but generally it was pretty simple, and the only ingredient I didn’t have lying around was the gelatin. So here’s my stab at it, and I think it came out pretty nice, I even was able to give it a little Valentine’s flair, by using a cookie cutter to shape them into hearts – They were so sweet and paired perfectly with steaming hot cocoa.
Vegetable Oil (for Brushing)
3 tablespoons, plus 1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup Water
¾ cup Cold Water
Candy or any Thermometer
Brush a glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, and brush again with oil.
Bring to a boil over high heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt and ¾ cup water into a medium saucepan. Dissolve the sugar, and cook without stirring until it reaches 238 degrees (took my about 10 minutes)
In a separate bowl attached to an electric mixer with whisk attachment, put ¾ cup cold water and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand for 5 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, fold in the hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Slowly increase speed and beat until mixture is very stiff. Mix in the vanilla. Once all is combined pour into a prepared dish and smooth the top. Let it set until firm, for about 3 hours.
Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto counter top or work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto surface and remove parchment. To cut into shapes, I took a heart shaped cookie cutter, brushed the ends with oil and carefully cut into the marshmallow. To help keep their shape, dust the remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar onto the heats.
Add to hot cocoa. Enjoy!