Friday, October 26, 2012

Peppermint Marshmallows

It never fails that when I go to the grocery store in search of marshmallows, I have to stroll down multiple isles - each with a greater sense of frustration - before I finally find them! But now that I've made them, I think that I will have more success on my future trips. And why is this, you ask? Well, because now that I understand how to make a marshmallow, I understand why they are found on the candy isle. Marshmallow-making is candy-making. When you heat the simple syrup to a specific temperature, you are doing the exact same thing you do when you make hard candies or caramels: Heating the sugars to a certain temperature so that they chemically change and act the way you want them to act.

This was my "ah ha!" moment yesterday.

I haven't had one today but then the day is still young.

Peppermint Marshmallows
adapted from Betty Crocker

Grease a 9x13" glass baking dish with:
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Dust with:
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

In an electric mixing bowl, add:
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin [3 packets]

Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Use candy thermometer to gauge temperature. Remove from heat when temperature reaches 240°. This took a little under 10 minutes on my stovetop, though I will note that the original recipe says it will take 30 minutes, so stovetops may vary. At any rate, the important thing is reaching the temperature, not how much time it takes.
Remove syrup from heat and pour immediately into the electric mixing bowl. Use the paddle attachment to slowly beat for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat for 8 minutes so that the mixture is white and tripled in volume.

1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Beat for one minute more.

Reduce the speed to low and add here and there:
8 drops of red food coloring
Beat for 5 seconds.

Now comes the really fun part (insert sarcasm here).

Rant: Marshmallow fluff, so to speak, is very sticky stuff! More power to anyone who is able to get all of it out of the bowl. I preface the directions with this information because if you read the original recipe, you'd have no idea how tough the next steps are on your patience. If anyone has tips on how to make this easier, I'd certainly welcome them!

Okay...back to the recipe.

Use a damp spatula to help pour the mixture into the baking dish, knowing that it is okay if you can't get all of the fluff into the dish. Once you've gotten out all that you can, wet your hands and use your palms to help spread the marshmallow evenly into the pan. Be careful not to touch the glass dish, as you don't want to disturb the butter/powdered sugar layer.

Set the baking dish aside, uncovered, for 8 hours.
In a small bowl, place:
1/3-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place two large pieces of waxed paper onto the counter. Dust with powdered sugar. Use butter knife to loosen the edges of the marshmallow from the dish. With dry hands also dusted with powdered sugar, remove the marshmallow from the baking dish in one piece. Use a very sharp butcher knife that you've greased with butter to cut marshmallows into small squares.

A few at a time, place the marshmallows into the bowl and coat all over with powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container, up to 3 weeks.

Use in hot chocolate and/or give as treats to those you love.

Eat up!

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