bits and pieces

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Homemade Marshmallows! Just in time for Spring.

It's the moooooost wonderful tiiime of the year!

No not Christmas - IT'S SPRING! SPRING I TELL YOU! Ignore the flurries and the minus temperatures. It's almost here, I promise! 

And spring for some of us brings Easter, and for others Passover, and for others we just get a sweet long weekend to do laundry and go out on a Thursday night and sleep in on a Monday. Wahoo! 

Well this spring brought me back to Global after a season long hiatus, and the lovely folks there asked me to do something for Easter. I decided early on that I wanted to make my own marshmallows and make DIY Peeps. Well, it turns out I couldn't find the appropriate cookie cutter to make my own Peeps, but what I could do is make something for the Chosen People - and make something I did. Instead of doing something for Easter I took that suggestion and did something for Passover! Sort of. 

Now coming from Montreal, Regina seems like the Gentile-est city in the world. However - with the help of a couple pals (Hi Peter and Kamara!) I found matza. What's matza you ask? Matza is a dry boring, cardboard-y tasting flat cracker type thing. Passover is generally marked by an abstinence from leavened goods. No baking soda, powder, no yeast. So yeah - yeast-less bread is not super delicious when compared to challah or baguettes. However, with my mazta in hand I knew what I had to do - I would make Passover S'mores. HOWEVER - as I realized belatedly - gelatin is decidedly not kosher. Sooo, that's a bust. But if you don't keep kosher or you're not part of the tribe and you want to try some tasty home-made candy, give this a whirl! 

I've posted that recipe separately as I also took this opportunity to make fancy, pastel coloured, Easter-themed marshmallows. What you'll find below is a standard recipe for your very own, actually not that hard and kind of fun DIY Marshmallows. They are 1000% better than the store bought ones, reasonably affordable to make, and people seem to be irrationally impressed by them. Mallow on my friends, mallow on.

2/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup cold water
2 1/2 tbsp unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp vanilla 

other things you will need:

a medium sized sauce pot - err on the bigger size. 
a stand mixer - I think you could do this with egg beaters, but be very very careful as the sugar mixture is very very hot and you haven't burned yourself until you've done it with 200 degree sugar. 
parchment paper, heavily greased - the heavier your greasing, the less challenging it will be to remove your marshmallows!
a sharp knife - also greased
a baking tin  - I used a brownie tin - I have no idea what the dimensions are but one of those square ones. You can use any size really, but the thickness of your marshmallows will depend on your pan size (larger pan = more spreading distance = thinner marshmallows)
a spatula to spread your marshmallows

recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

  1. Anytime you're making candy it's a great idea to have all your ingredients measured out in front of you. I'm normally a fly by the seat of my pants cook, but not with candy. 
  2. In your sauce pan, combine your water, corn syrup, and pour your sugar and salt into the middle of the pot. Apparently you're not supposed to let it touch the sides but I have no idea how to accomplish that. Don't turn your element on! 
  3. In the bowl of your standmixer (OR INCREDIBLY LARGE BOWL IF YOU AREN'T USING A STAND MIXER). Combine your water and gelatin. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Go! 
  4. Now turn your pot-mixture on medium, and without stirring, watch it and let it come to 240 degrees. DO NOT - I repeat - DO NOT - use too small a pot and let it boil over all across your stove. This is a terrible idea and results in a horrible smell and an incredibly frustrating clean up. 
  5. Once your mixture has hit 240 degrees, remove from heat. Once the timer goes off (they're at about the same time), get ready. 
  6. Start the stand-mixer.
  7. Slowly and incredibly carefully (remember what I said about burns?) pour the sugar mixture into the bowl to combine with the water and gelatin. 
  8. Set your timer for 12 minutes and over the next 12 minutes, gradually increase the speed of the mixer until it's at high. With one minute left to go, add your vanilla. 
  9. Once the 12 minutes are up it's go time. QUICKLY remove your bowl and pour and spatula the mixture all over your greased parchment paper. 
  10. Dust lightly with the combined icing sugar and cornstarch, and leave it alone overnight/for several hours. Don't let your cats lick it. 
  11. Come back in several hours/the next morning, shoo away the cats, and with your greased knife cut it into marshmallow sized pieces. 
  12. Toss with remaining icing sugar-cornstarch mixture and try adding food colouring for spring-timey fun! 

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