Monday, April 14, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Marshmallows

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I'll admit that I was a little terrified when Judy of Judy's Gross Eats chose marshmallows as this weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe. I've always read that you absolutely must have a stand mixer in order to make them and I just don't. (I've been promised one for Mother's Day though! woo!) But I decided to give them a try anyway.

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Yeah, they aren't pretty. The whole hand mixer thing didn't work out for me. I'm not coordinated enough to pour hot liquid and run the mixer at the same time. So my meringue mixture deflated completely. I also wasn't very happy with how thin they were. In Dorie's book they were big and fluffy and amazing! Ehh. I guess if I had used a smaller pan it would've worked out better for me.

Part of the fun of making these marshmallows was that we could use Dorie's "Playing Around" section and make raspberry, cappuccino, or even pumpkin spice marshmallows. I wanted pumpkin spice but as I was standing in the grocery store looking at canned pumpkin I remembered a jar of chocolate maple peanut butter that my grandmother had brought back from Vermont. I've had it sitting in my fridge for months now not knowing what to do with it (besides eat it with a spoon of course) so I decided to try it out. It's not nearly as thick as regular peanut butter so I wasn't too worried about it weighing the marshmallows down.

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Everything turned out okay. Unfortunately we aren't marshmallow people so Spencer and I each had two and they've been sitting on the counter ever since. But I'm glad to have learned something new and I plan on making marshmallows again when Christmas rolls around.

Marshmallows

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
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.

Put 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 degrees 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 until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees 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 (I use custard cups).

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. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

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.

Playing Around


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.

23 comments:

CB said...

Sadly I feel the same about mine and I have a mixer. Ah well. Live, learn and keep on baking right?
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Anne said...

Chocolate Maple Peanut Butter? I bet those were awesome! I had a hard time with these too though. That's awesome about the mother's day mixer- woohoo!

Sarah said...

At least you see a mixer in your future! I am not a marshmallow person either, but congrats on finishing the recipe!

Mary Ann said...

I made two batches, the first didn't work out and those were in my stand mixer. Anyway, I had an easier time with my hand held mixer. Wierd- I agree with you on this one, but it was fun anyway, right?

Marie said...

I don't have a stand mixer here at home, although I do have one at work. I made mine with the hand mixer here at home and they thankfully turned out well. Your's don't look too bad. I love the idea of chocolate maple peanut butter! Wow, sounds gorgous! I made peanut butter cookie s'mores with mine. Definitely moreish!

LyB said...

I want some of that maple peanut butter, yummy! My marshmallows didn't turn out either and I made them with my stand mixer! I have no excuse at all! :)

Bridget said...

Yum, that sounds like a tasty variation. I used a hand mixer too. I think the trick to getting tall marshmallows was to ebb the flow of the mixture by propping up the sides of the parchment after the goo was poured into the pan.

I hope you do get your stand mixer soon! You'll have so much fun!

April said...

The maple pb sounds very interesting! I bet they tasted great!

Lori said...

Maple mud sounds good.That was a good idea!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy these but your flavor combination sounds wonderful!

Carrie said...

chocolate maple peanut butter?!?
Whoa! ;)
Carrie from
http://bakersbakery.wordpress.com

Mary said...

great job sticking with it...I can only imagine how hard this would be with a hand mixer...feel free to send them to my counter..they'd only last a second!!

Dianne's Dishes said...

Chocolate Maple Peanut Butter sounds heavenly! I'm going to have to look for that! :)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

That chocolate maple peanut butter certainly sounds good, too bad the marshmallows didn't turn out as you'd hoped. Better luck next time!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

a stand mixer will definitely help, with marshmallows and lots of other stuff! i still have 3/4 pan of marshmallows sitting around, too. need to make up some rice krispies treats, i think.

SiHaN said...

marshmallows as xmas gifts.. tts reallie festive! u shld try those peppermint flavored ones over at judy gross eats if u're planning to do them again for christmas.

great effort anyway.. pity you're not a fan of the marsh. I'm now officially a convert!

Annemarie said...

Sorry they didn't work out for you, but a new mixer...YEA!!

Beth G. said...

I had some problems with this one, but that maple butter sounds pretty fantastic!

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo great variation on the marshmallows! Good for you for doing it without a stand mixer though. I imagine that I would've dropped a few things if I had had to do that.

cruisingkitty said...

I have a hand mixer too. Living on a boat has it's limitations. I miss my KA! You're right though. Trying to do 4 things at once, while reading a cookbook isn't easy with a hand-held.
Maple Peanut butter brings me back home to Vermont. Bet they tasted good!
Donna

Natalie said...

Oh! *head smack* I have some jars in my pantry that would have been awesome in marshmallows!

I think they look good even if they don't look like the ones in the book! :)

Cecilia said...

What are you going do with the rest of the marshmallows?

I would have been in the same predicament if I had decided to participate in this week's TWD selection. My parents and I aren't big fan of marshmallows unless they're accompanied by a big mug of hot cocoa. Unfortunately, it's like 70 degrees in Oklahoma now, so I opted to make a pound cake recipe from the book.

Dolores said...

Choclate. Maple. Peanut Butter. Thin and deflated or not, I bet your marshmallows ROCK.