Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Call Me Martha

I have to admit, I felt a little like the home making queen herself after making these delectable goodies over the weekend.

I made homemade marshmallows!!! And they were amazing! I am a self professed marshmallow lover. I can eat them straight out of the bag until my stomach hurts (which I don't know from experience or anything...). However, after tasting homemade marshmallows, I don't think I'll ever be able to look at store bought marshmallows the same. These were just so light and sweet and real tasting. To make it even better, they were very easy to make.

After looking at several different recipes, I decided to go with one from Alton Brown. Mainly because the man is a genuis and I knew he wouldn't steer me wrong. I did try one variation with a small batch of the fluffy goodness, but you'll have to read on to find out what it was!

Homemade Marshmallows courtesy of Alton Brown.

What You'll Need:

* 3 packages unflavored gelatin (found with the jell-o and pudding boxes)
* 1 cup ice cold water, divided
* 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* Non-stick cooking spray
* Candy thermometer (I promise it's worth the purchase if you don't already have one!)

What You'll Do:

1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of an electric mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining half cup of water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. This took about 10 minutes for me. Once it has reached this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all the syrup, increase the speed to high. If you have one of the basic Kitchenaid mixers (ie-not one of the big mega size ones), watch out, because some of the contents might shoot out at you! Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and the outside of the bowl is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes.

During the final minute of whipping, add the vanilla. While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pans.

To prepare the pans:

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with the non-stick spray and then coat with the cornstarch and sugar mixture.

~This is the point where Alton would have you pour the whole marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Which would be fine and you'd have lovely thick marshmallows to show off. However, there is a slight variation I think you might like.~

4. Fill the pan about 1 inch up the side with the marshmallows, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Fit your bowl back on the mixer and break out some peppermint extract. Start with about 1/4 teaspoon and add while mixing on medium-high speed. Stop and taste and add more if necessary. The amount left in your bowl should easily fill an 8x8 prepared pan. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

5. Once they have set, turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

And voilĂ , you have homemade marshmallows! Now, I didn't simply serve up plain marshmallows to my guests this weekend. Instead, I served a twist on a classic that used these fluffy goodies as the star. You'll have to make sure to check back later to catch that recipe.

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