Entire kitchen tops covered with a sticky gooey mess, people ended up looking like Frodo after that spider got to him in Lord of the Rings. Remember? You can always take a peek here if you cannot remember.
But then, when I read about how good a home-made marshmallow is compared to those strange lumps you can get at the shops, curiosity got the better of me. I figured if I were to indeed end up like Frodo, my helper could possibly rescue me.
To make marshmallows, you need to have a candy thermometer. There are mixed reviews about whether a meat thermometer can be used, and should you wish to try using your meat thermometer to make marshmallow, well, I would suggest a ton of research first.
You would also need gelatin. The gelatin helps the marshmallow to set. Without it, you will have a sticky, gooey mess.
*image of Frodo again*
OK, let us move on.
So, if you do have a candy thermometer, and you have gelatin, then I will say to you, "MAKE MARSHMALLOWS!" It is so so so much better than those strange lumps you get in bags in the shops that are labelled as "MARSHMALLOWS".
And they are really easy to make.
Start by spraying a 13x9-inch baking pan with oil. Then dust the bottom and the sides with icing sugar. Just sift the icing sugar directly into the pan. And set this aside.
In a bowl of a mixer, add the gelatin powder. Pour 1/2 cup of cold water onto the gelatin, give it a stir, and set it aside. The gelatin will look like this:
In a small pot, I added sugar, corn syrup, the remaining cold water and salt. I stirred this with a wooden spoon over low heat until all the sugar had dissolved.
Once that happened, I attached the candy thermometer onto the pot, turned the heat to medium and boiled the mixture, WITHOUT STIRRING, until the candy thermometer reaches 240F. You can change that to Celsius if you like, but there is no need, really.
You will need patience. This will take about 10-12 minutes.
Once the required temperature of 240F has been reached, turn off the heat, remove the thermometer, then very carefully lift the pot and pour all its contents into the gelatin. Make sure you are really careful. You don't want to get scalded.
Stir with the wooden spoon until all the gelatin has dissolved. Then using the whisk, beat this mixture on your mixer until it has roughly tripled in volume.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks.
Add the egg whites to the gelatin mixture, add the vanilla extract (or any flavourings you like), and whisk until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Then place the pan in the fridge, uncovered, for at least three hours. I left mine to chill in the fridge over-night.
The next day, I ran a knife around the edges of the pan, and inverted the pan over a cutting board. Using my fingers, I sort of grabbed a corner of the marshmallow block and pulled gently until the entire thing fell out of the pan.
I sifted more icing sugar over the marshmallow and using a sharp knife slightly greased with a little oil, I cut the marshmallow into cubes.
I took each cube and rolled it in the pan so all 6 sides were coated with icing sugar.
That is it!!
Store the marshmallow in an air tight box in a cool and dry place and they should keep for up to a week.
Chuck them into hot chocolate.
Use them to make marshmallow frosting.
Toast them over a fire.
NOM! NOM! NOM!
Vanilla Marshmallows (Makes about 48 medium rectangles, or 96 bite-sized pieces)
Adapted from recipe by smittenkitchen.com
About 1 cup icing sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)
Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some icing sugar.
In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.
In a 1 litre saucepan cook caster sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold 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 six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)
In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.