i'd had a recipe for homemade marshmallows bookmarked for ages, and thought christmas would be a great time to give it a shot. "why bother?" you're probably thinking. "the ones in the bag are just fine."
true enough, but after those chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies i made earlier this year, i knew there was a difference. a HUGE difference. and so after perusing the instructions a few times, i got my pan ready by spraying it with a little nonstick spray and sifting some powdered sugar to cover the sides and bottom.
except that i pulled out my box of unflavored gelatine and realized i only had enough to make half a batch. wah waaaah.
i sprinkled the gelatine over some ice water and let it sit while i prepared the rest of the recipe.
i carefully measured sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt into my saucepan and stirred it over low heat till the sugar dissolved.
and then a second "d-oh!" moment came as i realized that the pot i'd used was too big for my candy thermometer to register the temperature. dammit. so i scraped the mixture into a smaller pot and just resigned myself to having to do a shitload of dishes later.
the mixture came up to 240 degrees quickly, and i poured it into the bowl with the dissolved gelatine.
using my trusty pink kitchenaid hand mixer, i whipped that concoction into quite a frenzy.
next, i washed off the beaters and got to work beating my egg white into oblivion. since it was just one sad, lonely little egg white, it reached stiff-peak stage pretty quickly.
i had half of a vanilla bean left over from my last batch of almond-vanilla rice pudding. it'd been a while, and although it was safely nestled in the jar i'd bought it in, time had left it quite brittle. it broke into pieces when i split it with my paring knife, but that was okay. it was still usable (and really fragrant).
i scraped the beaten egg white and the vanilla bean into the sticky mixture and whipped it with the mixer until everything was nicely mixed together.
i poured the whole thing into my prepared pan and then sprinkled the top with more powdered sugar.
like others who have made this recipe, i'm rather an obsessive bowl-scraper. i like getting every last bit out of a bowl whenever possible. this was most definitely not one of those times - the mixture was so sticky and messy. every time i tried to scrape the sides to add to the pan, i ended up with long marshmallowy strings that threatened to cover me from head to toe, and so i gave up.
after a few hours of chillin' in the fridge, my marshmallows were ready to come out and play. i pulled the pan out, slid a knife around the edges, and turned it upside down. it was pretty stuck in there, and i had visions of yanking big, jagged, ugly chunks out. but i was pleasantly surprised to find that it just took a little prying to get the whole sheet of mallows out in one piece. yay for me!
(i'd started slicing it with an oiled pizza cutter before i remembered to take this picture, oops)
see how nice and clean it left the pan? the leftover sugar and nonstick spray washed out quite easily, with no mallow residue to be found anywhere.
the recipe says to place the cut pieces back in the pan and toss with more powdered sugar, but i figured i had enough cleaning to do and just threw it all into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. it worked perfectly.
look! springy and fluffy, just like the recipe promises. and such a lovely texture! they're so good. the bean and i are addicted. the hub's not a huge mallow fan, and the teen liked them but not as much as the two of us.
next time, if i halve the recipe again, i'll probably use an 8" square pan instead, so that they're thicker and bouncier. and maybe i'll try using different flavors, too.
SO much better than store-bought. really! not that i'll quit buying those, though. we all know my ass is far too lazy to make these whenever i have a recipe that calls for marshmallows. heh.