Makes 96 marshmallows
Hands-On Time: 45 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 4 hours
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar – combined with seeds of 1 – 2 vanilla bean pods
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites (at room temp)*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Variations: Add cinnamon, ginger or pumpkin pie spice to confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
*Note: if egg safety is a problem in your area, substitute powdered egg whites reconstituted according to manufacturer’s instructions (a good brand that you can find in most supermarkets is Just Whites).
NOTE: PLEASE USE A VERY LARGE BOWL TO BEAT THE GELATIN MIXTURE IN; IT REALLY EXPANDS WHEN YOU BEAT IT.
Lightly oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and sift bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar. In bowl of a standing electric mixer sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot 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 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using handheld mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or
reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan, smooth the top, and sift 1/4 cup confectioners― sugar evenly over the mixture. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.
Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat. Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.
Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes 1 gift, (4 cups total, 16 servings)
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c sugar
8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
In a bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar and chocolate. Package in an airtight container. Keeps at room temperature for up to 4 months.
For packaging: Include these directions on a gift tag:
In a small saucepan, whisk 1/4 cup cocoa mix with 3/4 cup milk. Bring to a slow simmer. Makes 1 serving.
The first marshmallows were made by boiling pieces of the marsh mallow root pulp with sugar until it thickened. After is had thickened, the mixture was strained and cooled. As far back as 2000BC, Egyptians combined the marsh mallow root with honey. The candy was reserved for gods and royalty.
Modern marshmallow confections were first made in France around 1850. This first method of manufacture was expensive and slow because it involved the casting and molding of each marshmallow. French candy makers used the mallow root sap as a binding agent for the egg whites, corn syrup, and water.
By 1900, marshmallows were available for mass consumption, and they were sold in tins as penny candy.
The fresher the eggs the better. Fresh egg whites will increase in volume more than older egg whites. Also, separate eggs into whites and yolks while the eggs are cold (my favorite tool to do this is my hands since there are no sharp edges on that tool). If you separate them when they are warm the yolk has a tendency to break easily. After separating them let the egg whites come to room temperature before beating them. A quick way to do that is to put the egg whites into a metal bowl and set that bowl into another bowl of hot water. Room temperature whites are beat up better.
When working with sticky ingredients such as corn syrup, molasses, honey and marshmallows, spray the tools with flavorless vegetable oil spray so that the ingredients slide out and/or cut without sticking.
Why did I use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch process? Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. It has a very delicate chocolate flavor and is the powder to reach for when you are looking for a delicate chocolate taste. Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder has a bitter edge from its high acid content but gives a deep intense chocolate flavor to any recipe you add it to. I was looking for deep chocolate flavor in my cocoa mix.
Where can you find the cellophane bags we packaged our marshmallows and cocoa mix in? We ordered them from www.nycake.com.
Where can you buy the giant cake lifter I used to move the chocolate? www.kingarthurflour.com