Friday, February 12, 2010

Lessons from the Marshmallow Kitchen

Sometime mid- December I began to dream of a White Christmas.  Now, living in Texas I was not envisioning the cold, white stuff that falls from the sky.  No, this white Christmas would be white and fluffy, and very sweet and sticky.  I was ready to embark on the amazingly awesome task of homemade marshmallows.  The recipe looked simple enough, there are not that many ingredients so I gathered them up - cranked up the Bing Crosby- and began.

I was so excited; I am a big fan of the marshmallow.  I followed the instructions, I turned on my Kitchen-Aide mixer and I watched, with much anticipation.  Then it happened, the clear sticky mass began to change color - it went from clear to white.  The mass then began to grow like Mt. Everest rising out of the ground.  It was glorious, it was spectacular, it was .........marshmallow heaven.  

Oh, visions of marshmallows danced in my head.  Unfortunately, I would have to wait 6 hours or overnight, before I could indulge.  The next day I jumped from my bed, grabbed my children and we danced through the kitchen.  I broke out the knife and began to cut. We tasted. These little nuggets of sugar were amazing!  As amazing as they were, they were sticky, so we decided to roll them in chocolate, sprinkles and candy canes.  Oh what joy, oh what delight, to be so thrilled with sugar of white.

Well, I was very proud of my little endeavor and began to think of ways to use this white fluffy cream, even before it had time to become a marshmallow.  I could sandwich it between two mint chocolate cookies, I could frost a cake, I could decorate a gingerbread house.  The options were limitless.

I thought how great these would taste if I added peppermint to the marshmallow and dipped them in chocolate.  Oh my, I could just taste them now.   Not so fast my little pretty.   Homemade marshmallows lack the substance of those found in your local grocery aisle.  Adding the peppermint worked out okay, but the dipping of the chocolate - another story altogether.  As I began to dip these little morsels - the heat overtook their fragile state and they began to melt. No, not melt, disappear.  

It was a sad, sad day in the marshmallow kitchen, one that we do not want to repeat too soon.  Because yes, you can take a good thing too far and yes, some things are just better left alone. Which brings me to the moral of my tale.........

Experiment if you must, but leave the marshmallow alone.

***Health disclaimer*** Marshmallows should be eaten sparingly and only if consumption is to be followed with vigorous exercise.

Recipe for homemade marshmallows
2 tsp butter
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 c light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1tsp. clear vanilla extract

Line 9 x 13 pan with foil and grease foil w/ butter - set aside
In large metal bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water; set aside
In large heavey saucepan, combine sugar,corn syrup, salt and remaining water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer reads 240 degrees.
Remove from heat and gradually add gelatin. Beat on high speed until mixture is thick and the volume is doubled, about 15 minutes. Beat in vanilla (or other favorite flavors). Spread into prepared pan. cover and let stand for 6 hours or overnight.
Using foil, lift marshmallows out of pan.  With a pizza cutter coated with cooking spray, cut into 1 inch squares.  Dip, Drizzle or roll in your favorite toppings.  
Store in airtight container in a cool dry place.

Cook's note - the ingredients in this recipe go against all that I know to be true for a healthy diet - and sometimes you just have to step outside the rules.

1 comment:

  1. Yumm! I got to enjoy one at your little shin dig after school. Definitely want to try and make them....this is saying a lot since I don't cook a lot from scratch! Oh, and thanks for the disclaimer :)


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