Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Forget Peeps... Make Easter Marshmallows!

Easter Marshmallows

These are not the marshmallows of Jet-Puffed fame.  Those styrofoamy things taste OK if you've never had the  homemade, creamy variety.  And they're a really appropriate treat this Easter weekend if you cut them in the shapes of bunnies and chicks.  Then coat them in sparkling pastel sugars and fun sprinkles.

Easter Marshmallow

They were a bit hit at book club, where I passed out cellophane bags filled bunny and chick marshmallows nestled into Easter basket grass.  The crowd favorite was the Easter egg sprinkles.

Marshmallow Syrup

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this recipe, unlike many others, had no egg whites.  The list of ingredients is smaller than usual as well, but the end product is still perfect.  Interestingly, my first batch using Domino brand sugar produced this honey-colored syrup, while a later batch of generic sugar produced a champagne-colored syrup; the marshmallows from both batches tasted and looked identical.  I had the usual fears of crystallization when cooking with sugar, but after a few batches I had not produced a single crystal.  So, what are you still afraid of?


Beating Marshmallow

Maybe a wonderfully sticky mess.  Because it is sticky.  And stringy.  Don't try to scrape the bowl and beater clean, because it's futile.  Not to fret... you'll still have plenty of marshmallows.

Marshmallow Syrup
From Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats by Eileen Talanian

2 cups water
5⅓ cups granulated cane sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Place the ingredients in a heavy 4-quart pan, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula until the sugar is moistened.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cover the pan for 2 minutes to allow steam to wash any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.  Then uncover the pan, insert a candy thermometer, and increase the heat to high.  Do not stir it at all once you have removed the lid or the syrup will crystallize as it cools. Continue cooking until it reaches 240 degrees F (this can take up to 25 minutes).  Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool for 15 minutes.  Ladle it into clean jars (I used empty spaghetti sauce jars) and attach the lids.

Store it at room temperature for up to 2 months.  If the syrup begins to form crystals at the bottom of the jar, don't be alarmed; pour out the remaining amount of syrup you need when you use it, without scraping the jar. Discard any crystallized part that is left in the jar.  (I find the syrup solidifies, but you can microwave it for 2 minutes before making your marshmallows.)


Vanilla Marshmallows
From Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats by Eileen Talanian

For the bloom:
½ cup + 2 tbs cold water
1½ tbs pure vanilla extract
3 tbs unflavored gelatin

For the base:
¾ cup water
1¼ cups Marshmallow Syrup
Pinch of salt
1½ cups granulated cane sugar

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13x2-inch or 11x15x1-inch pan or another mold you will be using for the marshmallow batter with a pan coating such as Pam, and wipe it lightly with a paper towel, leaving only a thin film of oil.

Make the bloom.  Measure the cold water into a measuring cup and add the vanilla.  Place the gelatin into a small bowl and pour the water and vanilla over it, stirring with a whisk or fork until there are no lumps.  Set the bowl near the stove.

Make the base.  Place the water, Marshmallow Syrup, salt, and sugar, in that order, into a 4-quart pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Then place a lid on the pan and boil it, covered, for 2 minutes.  This step is essential in order to eliminate sugar crystals on the sides of the pan that may cause the marshmallows to crystallize.

Remove the lid, insert a candy thermometer, and continue boiling until the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F.  Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed.  Remove the thermometer and gently stir in the bloomed gelatin.

Pour the batter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Beat it on high speed for 10 to 12 minutes, using the wire whisk attachment or the paddle beater.  It will take a little longer to beat with the paddle.  You can cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 or 4 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid on yourself.

At first, the marshmallow batter will look very watery; as it beats, it will become thick, white, and glossy, and will increase in volume by two- to threefold.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and spread the marshmallow batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula, or wet your hand and smooth the marshmallow with your palm.  Let the pan set out at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to cut the marshmallows, prepare the cutting surface.  (If you will be coating with sugar or sprinkles, I recommend using a surface of waxed paper lightly sprayed with oil; otherwise, a surface covered with a confectioners sugar/cornstarch mixture is used).  Ease the marshmallows away from the sides of the pan and flip the pan over, gently releasing the marshmallow slab onto the cutting surface.  Cut into squares, or other shapes, or use cookie cutters to cut the marshmallow into fancy shapes.  Toss the cut marshmallows in your coating mix (sparkling sugar or cornstarch/sugar), shaking off any excess coating.

Place the coated marshmallows in an airtight container, with wax paper between the layers, and leave a corner of the lid slightly ajar.  The marshmallows will keep this way for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

5 comments:

  1. You made your own peeps? I mean, Easter marshmallows? Amazing! Love the one with the sprinkles. Looks hard to do, so kudos.

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  2. Great job!! They look fantastic!

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  3. This great! I am having a special sunday Easter Linky buffet Any Easter recipe accepted no limit to what you like to submit. I am taking submissions till saturday, your welcome to post this! http://deedeesdelights.blogspot.com/p/special-easter-sunday-buffet.html

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  4. Adorable! I wish I could have a taste.

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  5. oooh so cute. I'll have to bookmark these for next Easter.

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