When I was a kid, my brother told me that marshmallows were made out of ground up hooves, horns, tails, and bones of cows and pigs. I hardly ever ate marshmallows as a kid, to no surprise. To be honest, I never bothered to actually look up what marshmallows were made of or how they were made until about 6 months ago. Embarrassing.
Once I realized that marshmallows were made up of gelatin and/or egg whites, plus a bunch of sugar, they didn't seem so bad. I know gelatin comes from animal bones, but it's much better than the idea of marshmallows I had when I was a kid.
Marshmallows are pretty darn easy and they make great little gifts. Pop them in some clear bags, tie them up with pretty string and you've got a tasty treat for someone to enjoy with their hot chocolate or s'mores.
Feel free to mess around with the flavours, too! I find the egg-less marshmallows (the chocolate ones in this case) are more versatile, but go ahead and experiment. Use mint chocolate instead of dark, use other natural extracts instead of peppermint, dust them in cinnamon and icing sugar, or spike them with some booze! There are lots of ways to make them into whatever flavour you want.
But what are marshmallows without hot chocolate? My next post will give you three different and delicious flavours that you can enjoy with your new homemade marshmallows.
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
17 g powder or sheet gelatin (2 packets or 8 to 10 sheets)
125 mL water + 80 mL water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/3 cup (100 g) corn syrup
4 large (110 g) egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-2 drops red food colouring (optional)
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup powdered sugar
If using powder gelatin, sprinkle the gelatin over 125 mL of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using sheets, soak them in about 500 mL of cold water.
Combine the cornstarch and icing sugar in a bowl. Dust a baking sheet or brownie pan completely with this mixture, making sure there are no bare spots. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 80 mL of water. Place over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high. When the sugar syrup reaches 100 degrees C (210 F), increase the speed of the mixer to high until the egg whites are thick and fluffy.
When the syrup reaches 118 C (248 F), slowly pour the syrup into the mixer, trying to get it between the bowl and the whip so it does not touch the whip.
Scrape the powdered gelatin and water into the saucepan that you used for your sugar or put the sheets about 2 tablespoons of water into the saucepan. Let the residual heat melt the gelatin, then add to the egg whites.
Whip the mixture for about 5 minutes until it has cooled down, then add the seeds from half of a vanilla bean and the peppermint extract. Whip for a minute to distribute everything.
Put in the food colouring and give it a couple folds to create a swirl pattern. Pour the marshmallows onto the prepared sheet or brownie pan and smooth the surface.
Allow the marshmallows to dry for 4 hours or preferably overnight. When you wish you cut them, dust your knife or scissors with the cornstarch and icing sugar mixture and cut into your desired shapes. Once you have cut them, place them in a bowl with some of the cornstarch and icing sugar and toss to coat them evenly.
Chocolate Swirl Marshmallows
Recipe adapted from Food52
70 g (2.5 oz) dark chocolate
1 cup (250 mL) water, divided
25.5 g powdered gelatin (3 packets)
1 1/2 cup (287 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (350 g) light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Grease your desired pan or sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
Chop your chocolate into very fine pieces with a knife or use a food processor. The pieces should be about the size of cornmeal.
Put half of the water in the bowl of your electric mixer and sprinkle the gelatin over. Pour the other half into a saucepan with the sugar and corn syrup. Dissolve the sugar over low heat, then increase the heat to high. Bring the syrup up to 115 C (240 F). Remove from the heat and let it sit for one minute.
Turn on the mixer to medium and slowly pour the syrup into the mixer, trying to get it between the bowl and the whip so it does not touch the whip. Beat for 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture is very white and thick. Add the seeds from half a vanilla bean and mix for 30 seconds. Add the finely chopped chocolate and give it a few folds to create a swirl pattern. There maybe be some unmelted pieces at this time but they should melt before the marshmallows cool.
Pour the marshmallows into your prepared pan or sheet and smooth the surface. Let the marshmallows dry for 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Cut your marshmallows into desired shapes. Combine the icing sugar and cocoa and toss with the marshmallows.