Saturday, December 8, 2012
This year we decided to make a lot of different kinds of candy for gift giving. Since many of our packages have to be mailed we wanted things that can stand up to the wear and tear of mail handling. Cookies always seem to break, but candy can take a beating and still show up looking good.
I always make English toffee for Christmas, but this year we decided to try something new. I remembered a great recipe for homemade marshmallows in an old issue of Gourmet magazine (have I mentioned how much I miss Gourmet magazine?) and decided to give them a go. Brilliant! The end product far exceeded my expectations and I think I will make these every year from here on out.
These homemade marshmallows are really excellent, both for eating and for shipping. They are ridiculously easy to make once you get yourself organized. While I imagine these can be prepared with a hand mixer, a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment is definitely the way to go with these.
The marshmallows can be flavored in many ways, but we decided on a soft peppermint flavor. I recommend just eating these plain, tossing them into a hot cup of cocoa, or dipping them in chocolate fondue! YUM
makes about 6 dozen
3 1/2 packages unflavored gelatin (this adds up to 3.5 oz.)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
several drops red food coloring
Lightly oil a 9x13 baking pan and dust generously with powdered sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixture sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 10 minutes to hydrate.
While the gelatin is softening, combine the sugar, corn syrup, hot water and salt in a heavy medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.
On the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium high heat until it reaches the "soft ball stage" 240F. This will take about 10 minutes, but watch carefully so as not to overshoot the target temperature.
Once the sugar reaches 240F, immediately remove from heat. Turn the mixer on high and steadily pour the hot syrup into the softened gelatin. Continue to whip this mixture until it triples in volume, about 5 minutes.
While mixture is whipping, in a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they just hold a peak. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract and the food coloring and whisk just to combine.
Add the egg whites to the work bowl containing the marshmallow and whip on high until everything is just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan,spreading to all the corners with a lightly oiled spatula. Sift powdered sugar over top and let it cool, uncovered for at least 3 hours to overnight
Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the pan and with your fingers pick up one edge of the marshmallows. Invert this onto a cutting board.
Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch cubes with a lightly oiled knife or pizza cutter. Toss the cubes in powdered sugar to coat and store in an air-tight container.