like clouds from heaven

Last week when I made marshmallow brownies I got lots of comments from people saying how easy it is to make marshmallows at home so I decided to try it, and boy were they right!  Why hadn’t I tried this sooner?

I’m very glad I read about smitten kitchen’s early experiments making marshmallows and so followed her advice about how sticky the process is and how one should not try to get every last drop of batter out of the bowl at the risk of knitting their fingers and spatula to the bowl, cause otherwise I totally would have done that.  I don’t like to waste food.  It pained me afterwards to have some batter still stuck in the bowl that I had to rinse out with hot water and watch go down the drain but let me tell you, this stuff is stick-y.  No joke.

The batter was light and fluffy and smelled and tasted like marshmallow cream (of course I had to have a sample before the batter set, just to make sure it tasted okay, and it sure did.)

A few hours later I turned the marshmallow block out onto my cutting board and used an oiled pizza slicer to cut up the marshmallows into lovely little blocks.  I strongly recomment putting some confectioner’s sugar down on the cutting board prior to this step.  It was incredibly sticky and cleaning up my cutting board countertop was not the easiest.

Now, I will admit that my marshmallows are not as pretty as City Bakery’s and not quite as tasty but they are pretty darn close.  And since Wisconsin is not so close to 18th St and 5th Ave in NYC, I’ll take it.

Marshmallows (recipe found at www.smittenkitchen.com, adapted from recipe from Gourmet magazine, December 1998)

  • About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
  • 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 confectioners’ 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 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated 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.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

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