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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Recipe: Marshmallows


Peppermint Marshmallows

Recipe: Marshmallows



In Culinary School, one of the Chef Instructors shared that when he had been a student, it was on the day that he made Marshmallows that he knew he had truly found his calling. 

That feeling is easy to understand. Something about a Marshmallow, though so simple, seems as though it must require the mechanical precision of a modern factory. But with little more than an electric mixer and a whisk attachment (or a balloon whisk, a well-toned forearm and significant determination), homemade Marshmallows are dangerously easy to make.

The premise is simple. As with a Meringue, Sugar and Egg Whites are whipped together to create a light and airy mixture. But with Marshmallow, Gelatin is added. When the Gelatin cools, it sets to create that characteristic Marshmallow texture.

While plain Marshmallows are a sweet, textural treat on their own, the ability to make them in a variety of flavors is another plus for these puffs. By adding a few drops of Flavored Extract (Vanilla, Almond, Orange, Lemon, Mint, etc.), the Marshmallows can assume a flavor profile to complement a multitude of other ingredients. Moreover, the Water used to make the Sugar mixture in this recipe can be infused to enhance the Marshmallow's flavor. I recently made a batch using Coffee. Who wouldn't love a caffeinated Marshmallow?  



Bowl of Sugar and Corn Syrup for Marshmallows
Marshmallow is remarkably similar to Meringue in that it starts with whipping Egg Whites and Sugar. It is the addition for Gelatin that results in the characteristic Marshmallow texture.

Before you do anything else, bloom Gelatin Sheets in a bowl of ice cold water. Blooming Gelatin Sheets only takes a few minutes, but the Gelatin must be ready to use at the right time.

With your Gelatin blooming in ice water, begin whipping Egg Whites on medium speed in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. As the Egg Whites whip and become frothy, heat the Sugar, Corn Syrup (or Glucose) and Water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Continue heating the Sugar mixture until it reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit (116 degrees Celsius), which is the Softball Stage for Sugar. 

Once the Sugar reaches temperature and the Egg Whites are frothy and opaque, increase the mixer speed and stream the hot Sugar mixture down the side of the mixer bowl into the Egg Whites, effectively making an Italian Meringue.

In order to add the Gelatin to the mixture, you must melt the bloomed Sheets. Remove the Gelatin from the ice water and squeeze out any excess water. Place the Gelatin Sheets in the still-warm pot used to heat the Sugar mixture so that they melt. If the pot is too cool, place it over low heat for a few seconds while stirring to melt the remaining Gelatin.

Pour the melted Gelatin into the mixer bowl and increase the speed to high. If you want to flavor the Marshmallow using an Extract, now would be the time to add it.

Whip the Marshmallow until it cools, thickens and increases in volume.

Mixture of Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar for Dusting Marshmallows
As the Marshmallow whips up light and airy, make a mixture of one part Corn Starch and one Part Powdered Sugar. This mixture is used to dust the work surface for the Marshmallows.

Dust a parchment lined sheet tray with a layer of the mixture.

Sheet tray of Coffee Infused Marshmallows
When the Marshmallow is cool, thick and airy, stop the mixer and fill a pastry bag fitted with a larger-sized star or round tip (~ #5). Pipe quarter-sized Marshmallows onto the dusted parchment lined sheet tray.

Alternatively, the entire batch of Marshmallow can be poured out onto the duster sheet tray and spread with a non-stick spray prepared spatula.

Peppermint Marshmallow with Red Highlights
For some additional visual appeal, the inside of the pastry bag can be brushed with several lines of food coloring. When the individual Marshmallows are piped, they will be streaked with the color.

Sheet Tray of Peppermint Marshmallows
Dust the tops of the Marshmallows with a layer of the Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar mixture, and let the Marshmallows set overnight (at least four hours).

If the Marshmallow was spread as a single sheet, it can be cut into individual portions with a sharp knife prepared with non-stick spray. Toss the individual pieces in the Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar mixture.

The Marshmallows will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.




- The Recipe -




Marshmallows:


Yield: About 50 Bite-Sized Marshmallows


Ingredients:
  • Gelatin Sheets: 15g (6x - Silver)


  • Sugar: 200g (1 Cup)
  • Corn Syrup / Glucose: 60g (1/4 Cup)
  • Water: 60g (1/4 Cup)


  • Egg Whites: 60g (2x)


  • Flavored Extract: 5g (1 Tsp)


  • Corn Starch: For Dusting
  • Powdered Sugar: For Dusting


Directions:

1. Place the Gelatin Sheets, one by one, in a large bowl of ice water to bloom. Set the bowl aside.

2. Combine the Sugar, Corn Syrup (or Glucose) and Water in a medium pot over high heat. Begin to heat the Sugar mixture to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (116 degree Celsius), which is the Soft Ball Stage for Sugar.

3. As the Sugar mixture is heated to the Soft Ball Stage, place the Egg Whites in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the Egg Whites at medium speed until they become frothy and opaque, as if making a Meringue.

4. When the Sugar mixture reaches temperature and the Egg Whites are frothy, increase the mixer to medium-high speed and stream the hot Sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the whipping Egg Whites. 

5. Remove the Gelatin Sheets from the bowl of ice water and squeeze out any excess water. Place the Gelatin Sheets in the still-warm pot from the Sugar mixture to melt. Pour the melted Gelatin into the whipping Egg Whites and Sugar mixture. If using any Flavored Extract, add it at this time.

6. Increase the mixer speed to high and whip the Marshmallow mixture until it cools, thickens and increases in volume. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes. 

7. As the Marshmallow whips and cools, make a mixture of equal parts Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar for dusting. Using a fine mesh sieve, dust a parchment lined sheet tray with the mixture.

8. Stop the mixer when the Marshmallow has cooled, thickened, and is light and fluffy. Scoop the Marshmallow into a piping bag fitted with a larger-sized star or round tip (~ #5). Pipe individual, quarter-sized Marshmallows onto the dusted parchment lined sheet tray. Alternatively, the Marshmallow mixture can be poured out onto the parchment paper and spread evenly with a non-stick spray prepared spatula.

9. Dust the tops of the Marshmallows with more of the Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar mixture. Allow the Marshmallows to set overnight (at least four hours). If the Marshmallow has been spread as a single sheet, cut it into portions using a sharp knife prepared with non-stick spray. Toss the individual Marshmallow pieces in the Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar mixture.


Storage:
- Store the Marshmallows in an airtight container for several weeks.



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