There are some things in the cooking world that I was convinced I would never cook at home. Some things remain on that list: scallops, anything with truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate), anything deep fried, pasta, marshmallows, and hard candy. Needless to say, I've conquered the pasta. I conquered some non-hard candy when I made the caramels for my mom, but hard candy still eludes me...
Why are most of these things on my list? Well, each has its own reason.
- Scallops: because they're expensive and I don't want to mess them up. I'd rather have someone else cook them for me.
- Truffles: again, expensive, and I don't like them THAT much.
- Deep fried: mostly health reasons, also, that much hot oil freaks me out.
- Pasta: previously on the list because I thought I lacked the right tools. I was wrong.
- Marshmallows: They seemed difficult to make, previously lacked the right tools
- Hard candy: Similar reason as deep frying, that much super-hot anything is scary
I was also wrong about marshmallows. When I first made something with cooked sugar (the Italian meringue buttercream from my hot pink cupcakes) I noticed that, with a thermometer, it wasn't that scary. I have a great non-stick pot, and its all about timing and careful observation of the sugar and thermometer. After I saw my friend Liz from Lazy Cook Crazy Cook make coconut marshmallows MONTHS ago, they've been on my brain. So I went for it.
Yes, I made marshmallows. A full pan of gorgeous, white, sparklingly sweet, delicately vanilla, toasted-coconut-coated marshmallows. Don't believe me? Check this out:
Really. I did it! And, it was super easy and, like Liz said, almost magical. The recipe comes from Ina Garten, who has never let me down:
- 7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 1 recipe Homemade Marshmallow batter, recipe follows
- Confectioners' sugar
Sprinkle half the toasted coconut in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners' sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
I did make a couple of modifications, mostly because I ran out of ingredients I thought I had. I used 2 tsp. vanilla and the scrapings of one vanilla bean instead of 1 Tbsp. vanilla. I also used 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar and only 1/4 c. corn syrup. Next time, I'll make sure to get more corn syrup, though the texture was right on.
Let's drool over these some more, shall we?
Adam was a huge fan of these, as was I...but the biggest fans were my coworkers! I brought the remaining marshmallows to work yesterday to celebrate our last full day with students. I really can't wait to try them again, maybe with different coatings, different flavors, different colors... the possibilities are endless! I'm making them soon, as a matter of fact, and might need to make some of Ashley's homemade graham crackers, and get some wicked good chocolate for some fully homemade s'mores...
Since school is officially out for summer (cue the Alice Cooper), I have a week to relax, create in the kitchen, and enjoy some time before camp starts again. There's an incredibly cool giveaway (or two!) to come, and some exciting cooking projects too.
Happy weekend and...