Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peppermint Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows... Where have they been all my life??  Oh my goodness, these things are incredible.  I saw them recently on someone's blog, and decided to make them a last minute addition to my Christmas gifts.  These are quite minty (which I love, but my husband's not a mint fan), but you could omit the peppermint extract and make a regular version.

These don't require any special equipment, and the only ingredient probably don't already have on hand is the unflavored gelatin.  The kids and I just devoured a couple marshmallows a piece in hot chocolate (them) and coffee (me).  Now that I know what marshmallows are supposed to taste like... the ones in the store seem even more pitiful than ever!

The blog where I found these (here) adapted the recipe from The America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook.  So that's the original source, I'm just here to tell you how yummy they are! :)  Oh, and one last thing- when I made these, I made a half batch in an 8x8 pan.  I ended up with 64 one-inch marshmallows.  That was plenty for what I needed, but feel free to make the whole batch if that's what you're looking for!

Peppermint Marshmallows
Printable version here

⅔ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 cup cold water, divided
2½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
⅔ cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, enough so that excess foil hangs over the sides of the pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

3. Pour ½ cup of the cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until the gelatin becomes very firm, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining water and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, gently swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, about 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Turn the mixer on low speed and carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, avoiding the side of the bowl as much as possible. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed (my half batch was ready in 8 minutes). Add the vanilla and peppermint extract and mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds.

6. Working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan using a spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Smooth the top into an even layer. (To get it smooth, I sprayed my hands with Pam & pressed on the mixture.) Sift 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar mixture over the pan. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.

7. The next day, turn the marshmallow slab out onto a cutting board and peel off the foil. Sift 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar mixture over the slab. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut into 1-inch strips one way, and then across the other way for square marshmallows. You could also use round cutters to cut them out as well.

8. Place the remaining powdered sugar mixture in a large ziploc bag. Working with 3 or 4 marshmallows at a time, toss the marshmallows in the bag with the powdered sugar mixture, then toss in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess powder. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks.

Why I love it? They aren't that difficult (just a bit messy), are pretty cheap, make a neat gift, but most of all they are DELICIOUS!  Seriously, I was licking the spatula, it was so good!  The texture is unlike anything I've ever made- it's so light, smooth, creamy, and just exactly what a marshmallow should be!  It melted perfectly in our hot drinks, too!

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