Tuesday, January 24, 2012

12 Resolutions Project - Marshmallows

so first up in my 12 resolutions for 2012 is homemade marshmallows. i have been wanting to make these for a while now. after some research, i decided to follow alton brown's recipe for the first time (okay so i kind of followed his recipe and some suggestions from reviewers) and then play around with the recipe a bit.

they seem relatively easy but honestly, i didn't have a candy thermometer. i figured this was a great excuse to buy one. turns out, after one over-cooked batch of sugar that resulted in a completely ruined batch,

i realize the candy themometer isn't working correctly. luckily, a meat thermometer works in a pinch and i was back in business for the second batch.

the pros of homemade marshmallows - they are super easy to make and come without crazy ingredients i can't pronounce!

the cons of homemade marshmallows - powdered sugar everywhere!

homemade marshmallows are super sticky so you will need lots of powdered sugar to dust the pan they set in, the cutting board and the knife used to cut them. the good news is it's totally worth it. they were super easy to make and you can flavor them any way you want.

i went the purist route the first time and just used vanilla extract, but i can't wait to make marshmallows flavored with baileys, almond, and maybe even cake batter.

i hosted a dessert and drinks party for my mom's milestone birthday (happy bday momma!) and i decided to take the homemade marshmallows one step further and use them to make dipped smores. i simply sandwiched marshmallows between two graham crackers and dipped them into melted chocolate. they flew off the platter!

Vanilla Marshmallows
slightly adapted from alton brown @ foodnetwork.com

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tbs vanilla extract
powdered sugar
Nonstick spray

pour the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment along with 1/2 cup of the water. 

prepare a 9x13" pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and them cover it completely with powdered sugar.

in a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt over medium high heat. cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.  once the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, immediately remove from the heat.

turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

immediately pour mixture into powdered sugar covered pan and spread evenly with a greased spatula. let sit overnight. when set, dump onto powdered sugar dusted cutting board and cut into desired size (i cut mine into the size of 1/4 of a graham cracker sheet) with a serrated knife. store in an airtight container.

Dipped Smores

vanilla marshmallows
graham crackers
melting chocolate
dark chocolate chips

combine 1 part melting chocolate with 1 part dark chocolate chips and melt in the microwave in a microwave safe container. stir well to combine. i like to use a deep glass for ease of dipping.

break each graham cracker sheet into four pieces. sandwich marshmallow in between 2 graham cracker pieces and dip into melted chocolate halfway. set onto parchment lined baking sheets and let chocolate harden. serve immediately (graham crackers will get a little soggy once dipped in chocolate if left out too long.

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