I don’t know why I haven’t made homemade marshmallows until now. I’m a huge marshmallow fan, for one. And for two, I’m a pro at making meringues. (Wink, wink) Actually, I am a marshmallow lover, but making marshmallows has been a little intimidating.
(My work table.)
I had planned on making homemade marshmallows for the neighbors during the holidays. But as it turns out, when you are in the throes of morning sickness, even marshmallows don’t sound appealing.
Needless to say, I was so happy when Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats chose Dorie’s marshmallows for this week’s challenge. Great choice, Judy!
I, along with my whole family (especially my kids), loved these. My first attempt was very successful, if I do say so myself.
From Baking: My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 1 pound marshmallows
About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet — choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high — with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
For the syrup: place 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup — without stirring — until it reaches 265 ° F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites.
In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed. Once the whites start to turn glossy, add the extra 1 tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until firm, but still glossy. Don’t over-beat the whites and have them go dull.
As soon as the syrup reaches 265° F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet.
Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan.
Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place. (Dorie recommends using custard cups or ramekins.)
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife.
Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like — into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.
SERVING: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish or place in a tall vase or another pretty container.
STORING: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don’t cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week — they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they’ll still be very good.
RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies.
For raspberry marshmallows, you’ll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.
CAPPUCCINO MARSHMALLOWS: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.
LIGHT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.
PUMPKIN SPICE MARSHMALLOWS: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.
How To Photos + My Tips
I greased an 8-by-11-inch ceramic baking dish and dusted it liberally with cornstarch.
As the syrup cooks, you can start on the egg whites. You want to pay attention to the temperature of the syrup, though. Once it gets close to the proper temperature, it will go very fast!
The photo above was taken after I added the hot syrup.
At this point I was a bit worried because my meringue seemed thin and pourable.
I spread it to the edges of the pan. (Dorie’s instructions differ from mine because I used a smaller pan not lined with parchment.)
I totally misunderstood Dorie’s instructions for preparing the pan and what to do once the marshmallows were spread into the pan. In any case, what I did ended up working just fine. Placing the parchment on top made it really easy to remove the marshmallows from the pan. So it was kind of backwards of what Dorie suggests in the recipe.
I sprinkled the top of the meringue with cornstarch and then sprayed a piece of parchment with nonstick cooking spray and laid it over the top. I used a small plate to keep it in place. I don’t think I needed to use the plate…but I felt like it may benefit from being weighed down. Ha! I don’t know, but it didn’t hurt things!
Once the marshmallows have cooled, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife.
I slid a cutting board underneath the parchment and used a tip from one of the other TWD bakers and used an oiled pizza cutter instead of a thin knife or kitchen shears. It worked so well! Before I started cutting, I got out my ruler and made markings along the surface of the marshmallows. Then I used the ruler as a guide. You can’t see it in the picture because it was on the other side of the blade.
I ended up with 20 marshmallows. A little uneven. But, I’m okay with that.
(If you look closely, you can see the gooey yumminess between the cuts.)
Because the marshmallows are so sticky, you’ll need to wash and rinse the cutting utensil, whatever you decide to use. Also, be sure to dust them well with the cornstarch or potato starch so they don’t stick together.
Yep. We’re making these again. Maybe every week. I will be making a batch to take with us on our little jaunt to the country next week so we can roast them over an open fire. I’ll let you know how that goes…