Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TWD: Mushy minty freshness

This week, I was the lucky baker who got to choose the recipe for all the TWD bakers. I had several choices in mind, but since we’ve had cakes, cookies, bread, and pies, I wanted to choose something a bit different. Something that would challenge everyone just a wee bit. Marshmallows were that something.

I only recently made marshmallows for the first time. Back in January, I tried out Alton Brown’s recipe. There are no egg whites in that version, just gelatin, so I felt this recipe would be a good comparison.

Everything came together very quickly, I must say. The syrup was ready just a tiny bit before the egg whites and gelatin – my fault entirely – but the marshmallow batter came together beautifully anyway. I used an 11x 7-inch pan, so I didn’t have to support the parchment as the recipe states (the recipe doesn't actually provide a pan size). The mixture filled the pan perfectly. I also oiled and cornstarched the pan before laying in the marshmallow batter. Oh, and I decided to make them peppermint flavor, tinted a pale pink, with a red swirl on the top.



Pay no attention to the missing corner. Good cooks always taste-test their creations.

I also experimented with dipping a few of them in melted chocolate. It’s a great combination!


Several of the bakers reported having a negative reaction to the liquefied gelatin, which I found interesting. I’ve never noticed a weird aroma before, and I’ve worked with gelatin for years. The next time I make these marshmallows, I will have to pay special attention to this side-effect.

As I write this, I’m excited to see what the other Dorie bakers have created. There are some very talented people in this group. Even though it’s growing like Topsy, be sure and take some time to cruise through the other websites. And be prepared to see wonderful marshmallow-y delights.

(They look like tipsy flying geese . . . . )


Marshmallows

(Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 404-405)

About 1 cup potato starch or cornstarch

¾ cup cold water

1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 ¼-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Line a rimmed baking sheet – choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high – with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 ¼ cups sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup – without stirring – until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquify it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy – don’t overbeat the and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like – into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

Raspberry Marshmallows: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies. For raspberry marshmallows, you’ll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango, and passion fruit.

Cappuccino Marshmallows: Sift ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.

Light Chocolate Marshmallows: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows: Whisk together ½ cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.

35 comments:

Madam Chow said...

They're lovely! I almost made peppermint ones this time, but changed my mind. Yours look great, especially with the chocolate. And I'm so glad you picked these instead of another baked good. I needed a break!

Mary Ann said...

the flavor sounds great and they look really pretty. thanks for choosing this recipe!

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, those look awesome, especially the chocolate-dipped ones! Yum! Thanks for the awesome recipe pick this week!

Lauren said...

It was a bit of a challenge. Pretty in pink and I luv the swirl.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for giving the dimensions of the "just right" pan. And peppermint marshmallows dipped in chocolate ... I'm going to make some people soooooo happy this Christmas!

Marie said...

Ohh, I love the pink swirls! Thanks for a good recipe choice this week! I was quite happy with mine and ended up making some peanut butter cookie s'mores with them!

chelley325 said...

Thanks for hosting and for selecting such a fun pick! I love how you dipped yours in chocolate - I might try that next time!

ostwestwind said...

Thanks for chosing this recipe this week. Otherwise I won't have any in my life.

Your's look great!

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

April said...

The peppermint sounds great! and they look very good! Thanks for picking a great recipe this week!

kim said...

yum, nice choice of flavor! they look really great! :) thanks for choosing this recipe, it was fun!

CB said...

I am a sucker for swirls but add in chocolate and OH-MY-GOD you've got a winner! Great job! Thanks for hosting!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Erin said...

Thanks for hosting! Your marshmallows look beautiful! I would love to try peppermint flavored ones!

Hygeian Stew said...

Thanks for picking such an interesting recipe! The chocolate you used is a nice touch.

PheMom said...

Thanks for choosing the marshmallows. This was my first week with TWD and it was fun. I love your "drunken flying geese" comment. I kept seeing things in the pattern on my 'mallows too.

Michelle H said...

Ooo Those look so good. Mine were plain ol' 'mallows. Nothing fancy. Great job and great pick as well. :o)

Carrie said...

What a great combination of flavors!

Dianne said...

Mint and chocolate...Always a great combo! :)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Your marshmallows look fabulous! Very creative!

Annemarie said...

Now we're talking!!! Those look and sound AMAZING! I will definitely be making this version!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

thanks for this week's pick! your swirly marshmallows are beautiful!

SiHaN said...

oh.. so festive!! i lurve those tt u have made. thx for choosing this one!!!

Heather said...

Yum! They look so good! Great pick this week! It was so fun!

Natalie said...

Thank you for picking these. I had a blast! I love the flavor you chose, and the pictures are great! :)

Donna said...

Your marshmallows are beautiful! So colorful. Thanks for choosing such an interesting and fun recipe!

eatme_delicious said...

I love your version of the marshmallows! They look great. And dipped in chocolate, even better.

Shari said...

I love the peppermint swirl, and dipping half in chocolate looks amazing. Thanks for picking a fun recipe to try!

Katy said...

Phenomenal -- I'm not in the TWD baking group (should I say... yet??) but I've been looking for a good marshmallow recipe! Can't wait to try this out!

LyB said...

They look great all swirly like that! Beautiful!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Just lovely! Thanks for picking such a fun new recipe to try!

Jayne said...

Those look so tempting! Really beautiful job!

Sharon said...

Love the peppermint flavoring and the chocolate dip! Very yummy looking!

Cecilia said...

Tasty! Your marshmallow squares look so cute with their red swirls.

annmartina said...

Peppermint and chocolate. Yum! Thanks for challenging us this week, and I don't mean that sarcastically : )

Bridget said...

Wow, yours ended up really pretty.

How was the comparison of egg white and non-egg white containing marshmallows? This is the first time I've made marshmallows, and they were so good that I don't think I'll try another recipe.

Thanks for a fun recipe!

Dolores said...

A belated thank you for a really fun assignment. I love your chocolate-dipped mint-mallows!