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"Our lives are a book that has already been written. The brilliance of the plan is that we are only given a chapter at a time..." ~A. Drayton Boylston

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making Marshmallows

I love marshmallows..... whether eaten after keeping them in the freezer for a few hours, or chucking them at co-workers.... nothing beats them in my eyes.  I've pretty much tried every flavor on the market, so I consider myself a connoisseur :) My favorite are the toasted coconut.

I also believe everyone should try to make their own.  They are much better than store bought marshmallows....and super easy to make.  Homemade marshmallows are particularly good with hot chocolate.  The downside of homemade marshmallows though is they don't hold up well if you try to cook with them (such as making rice crispy treats), they are really for eating on their own or putting in hot beverages.

You can be very creative when making your own.... you can add color, roll them in colored sugar, herbs or spices.  They make nifty original gifts, especially as hostess gifts for parties.... everyone will think they (and you) are amazing.

Here is the basic recipe:

Confectioners' sugar (for rolling, coating and cutting)
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites*
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
Additional optional flavor (mint works great so does orange)
and optional food color

Directions

Dust bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan with some confectioners' sugar. Be generous!

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F., about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla, additional colors and flavors if using into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners? sugar evenly over top. Again, be generous here. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.

Powder a pair of kitchen shears with confectioner's sugar (makes it easier to cut the marshmallows).  Trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners' sugar into a large bowl or use colored sanding sugars or a combination of the two and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat. Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week...if they hang around that long and don't get eaten!

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