Nope, not snow. Ok, snow, too. Marshmallows!
This past weekend my husband told me maybe I need to make candy for a living. I’d be making a pitiful living … but it would sure be fun!
Just days after discussing how to make marshmallows with my fellow Good Not Perfect ladies, it seems like marshmallows are everywhere I look.
So is snow. Coincidence? I think not. ‘Tis the season!
Anyway, just as we were dreaming about the puhr-fect marshmallow to complement hot chocolate (peppermint? caramel? coconut?), our friend Kristin at Live Simply posted a version of homemade chocolate milk and homemade marshmallows made with brown rice syrup and arrowroot powder. Kristin, we like the way you think!
So in honor of my not-so-lucrative (but fun) candy making career, I’d like to share with you my classic version of fluffy, gooey, homemade marshmallows (without the blue dye (?!) and other “natural flavors” in the Kraft kind). This time around, I made the marshmallows caramel flavored (and then afterward I upped the ante and made caramel covered marshmallows). I really love candy making, so a caramel post is in the works for another day … but today, let’s stay focused on caramel flavored marshmallows!
Caramel Flavored Marshmallows
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A stand mixer with whisk attachment. (I’ve tried using a hand mixer to make these, it was disastrous.)
- Candy thermometer.
- Saucepan, at least 2 qt. (bigger than you think you’ll need!)
- Parchment paper or tin foil.
In a microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle 2 envelopes of gelatin over the water and allow to soften.
Add one egg white to the stand mixer’s bowl. Let it be for now. Be sure your whisk and bowl are spotlessly clean. Any small amount of fat can prevent the egg white from stiffening. If you want to be extra sure, give ’em a rinse with white vinegar.
In the saucepan, add 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup corn syrup and 1/3 cup water. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to get rid of any straggling sugar crystals. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved. (*Now is the time to start beating the egg white. Beat until stiff peaks form.) Attach your candy thermometer to the saucepan so that the bulb is submerged but not touching the bottom of the pan. Heat the mixture until it reaches 245 F. Remove from heat.
Warm gelatin in the microwave until it is warm to the touch (for me this was about 1 minute at power level 3). Stir in 1 Tbsp. malted milk powder and then add to egg white, mixing on low.
Keep your mixer on low speed. Slowly, carefully add the sugar mixture. Use both hands. You want the syrup to hit the side of the bowl and drip down, not to hit the whisk. This is actually easier than it sounds. Both hands – that’s the key. (Can you see why the stand mixer is so vital?)
Once all the syrup is added to the egg white, add the butter and vanilla, then turn up the juice! High speed whisking will turn this soup into fluff.
You are going to look at the mess you’ve made in the mixer bowl and think I am Crazy, with a capital C. I am not. Do not give up. Whisk, whisk, whisk!
What’s that? You’re wondering if you can stop whisking now?
No. Keep whisking. Catch up on a DVR’d sitcom. That’s how long you need to whisk (-ish).
Ten to twenty minutes later, stop whisking. You should have a fluffy, very sticky, glossy and thick white bowl of marshmallow fluff. If it looks too thin, whisk it some more. (When it’s ready the bowl – which was initially too hot to touch – will be cool.)
Line a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with the parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray oil all over the pan. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and coat the sides of the dish. Pour the marshmallow mix into the dish. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top.
Now wait for it to dry a bit – I left mine overnight – and cut into desired size with a pizza cutter. Try not to eat them all at once.
The very first time I made marshmallows, I thought they were kind of odd. Remember Crystal Pepsi? Remember how your taste buds rebelled when you drank a clear soda -expecting Sprite – and tasted Pepsi instead? It was an experience like that. Store bought marshmallows are dry, kind of hard, and nearly tasteless. Fresh, homemade marshmallows are tender, delicate and fluffy bites of flavor. They aren’t good for you, but they are really good!
- The milk powder and butter give it a subtle caramel flavor. If you have milk allergies or just want plain and simple marshmallows, cook the sugar to 240 F and only add vanilla, no malted milk or butter. (I turned up the heat a bit to try and counteract the softening effect of butter. I’m not a pro, but it seemed to work.)
- Candy making is a science. Read through all the steps so that you know what you are doing and when you are doing it. You don’t want to be reading the recipe as the sugar is boiling past the right temperature!
- Humidity can ruin your candy even if you do everything correctly. Most candy-makers seem to agree that rainy days are not a good time to make candy. (However, I made this recipe in a downpour because I really, really wanted them. Sometimes you get lucky.)
- Have fun! Candy making intimidates people. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect- aim for tasty and fun!
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 plus 1/3 cup water, separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbsp. malted milk powder
- 1 Tsbp. butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup water in a separate bowl.
- Add egg white to stand mixer bowl, start whisking once sugar has dissolved in the next step.
- Add sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup water to a saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Brush down sides of saucepan with water. Stop stirring after sugar dissolves and attach candy thermometer. Heat to 245 F. Remove from heat.
- Warm gelatin in the microwave until slightly warm to the touch. Mix in milk powder. Mix into egg white.
- Slowly poor sugar mixture into the egg white mixture while beating slowly. Once it is all added, add butter and vanilla. Beat on high for 10-20 minutes until mixture is thick and glossy.
- Pour into a lined, greased and powdered sugar coated dish (9×13). Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top. Let sit overnight and then cut into desired size. Store in airtight container.
We’d love to hear about your holiday baking and candy making! What do you like to make? Do you have a preferred flavor of marshmallow? Next time – how to make caramel (and then make caramel-covered marshmallows!)
P.S. Technically, the egg is not cooked. However, if you pour 240 degree syrup over eggs, wouldn’t you agree they get heated through? I would. I measured the temperature of the egg + sugar mix and it was 160 degrees minutes after the hot sugar was added. Any icky bacteria should be neutralized. But, in the name of modern America, I hereby warn you that eating raw eggs is potentially harmful, and should definitely be avoided by anyone with a compromised immune system, the young, the old and the pregnant.