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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Making Marshmallows!

marshmallows 009Thing #2 on my list of What To Do Now That I Have Kosher Gelatin was making marshmallows. 

Aren’t they pretty?

I have been reading about Shoshana’s over at Couldn’t be Pareve for a while now and she makes it sound both easy and richly rewarding.

Without a candy thermometer, it isn’t easy, exactly, but after a lot of googling, I think I got the hang of it, and it sure is bizarre – in a fun kind of way – to be sitting snacking (as I type this) on marshmallows I have made myself.

I used this Pesach recipe, only with corn starch instead of potato starch.  These are very plain marshmallows, with just a hint of real vanilla.

On the Scale of Potchkedik, I’d say – especially without a candy thermometer, so I was dropping blobs of molten sugar into ice water every 30 seconds – the process was about an 11 out of 10.  Definitely one I’d save for a day with absolutely NOTHING else going on.

Luckily, today we had almost nothing else going on, so I was able to give this 120% of my brainpower.  Downside is it’s 8:00 pm and I’m still in my jammies.  Okay, that’s not entirely the fault of the marshmallows.

These use a TON of gelatin – 3 tbsp, which when I was measuring, came to more than three packets.  The good news, however, is that my newish pareve Dutch Oven – which I still haven’t baked in, because I suspect it’s just too small – is just the perfect size and weight for boiling sugar.  It is so heavy – I just feel confident, like nothing can go wrong.

I have to thank Shoshana a hundred times over for the admonition not to stir the sugar syrup – something I have only become aware of lately.  Whenever I tried to make candy before, I stood at the pot obsessively stirring and naturally, nothing ever happened.  Today, I just covered the pot for 2 minutes like she suggests, and never had a moment’s difficulty.

Shoshana usually slices the marshmallows, but I was particularly inspired by a picture on her site of Chanukah marshmallows, and even some Xmas ones, coated in coloured sugar and lined up in a box for gift-giving. 

Hers are definitely beautiful, and would make an awesome gift, however, my question seemed to be what to do with the “outtakes”?  I used my star cutter as efficiently as possible, but still ended up with a ton of weird un-beautiful shapes in between and around the edges.  I think my marshmallows turned out a bit softer than  hers – hers always look almost crisp in the pictures, like meringues.  But they mostly cut fine – the narrow tips of the star were a bit tricky and I did have to occasionally clean the cutter out and re-spray with oil.

Here are all the leftover bits, shaken free of their corn starch and sugar, tossing about in my cheap plastic sieve.

   marshmallows 012

If I make these again – which I suspect is contingent on the purchase or gifting of a candy thermometer – I would probably not do vanilla again (I don’t love the flavour; maybe mint, or almond? lemon?  I love the idea of choosing my own flavours!), and I would probably simply slice them into squares the way Shoshana usually does.

Elisheva’s comment kind of sums it up, “these taste like marshmallows!” 

They certainly do.  The flavour does linger, but I was pleasantly surprised that there doesn’t seem to be any kind of unpleasantness going on from all that gelatin.  I was worried there might be an aftertaste.  They do leave a very sticky sweet sensation, more cloyingly sweet than storebought marshmallows.  That might improve if I  used corn syrup instead of sugar next time (just happened to be out of corn syrup – drat!).

All in all, more of a success than I thought the experiment would be!

1 comment:

Shoshana said...

I'm glad you were able to try making marshmallows. Yours look great! I agree that the vanilla ones are on the plain side, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. (I am trying a moscato flavored marshmallow this week to use up some leftover wine from last shabbos). What I usually do with the scraps from cutting shapes (if don't eat them all myself) is freeze them and use them later in a recipe that calls for melted marshmallows, like rice krispe treats. They are also great melted in hot cocoa now that winter has arrived.