OK, that's probably a bit of a stretch. But I made two batches of marshmallows for a holiday party I hosted back in December and they were quite festive. I made one batch in a jelly roll pan so they would be thinner and then drizzled them in chocolate and sprinkled bits of candy cane on them. Like this:
The second batch I made in a smaller pan so they would have more puff to them and put bits of candy cane on top before they set. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of my second batch which is a real bummer because I gave them away as favors at the holiday party in little cellophane bags and they were ADORABLE. I really channeled my inner Martha Stewart on that one.
So I don't have photos of those but I do have some fabulous photos (thanks to Paige) of the chocolate drizzled marshmallows. I will also walk you through the marshmallow making process which may sound daunting but totally isn't. Trust me. I used a different recipe than I did last Christmas which I found to be far superior and will now be my go-to for marshmallows. Aren't you lucky that you have me to test drive these recipes for you? This way, only one of us ends up with a kitchen covered in marshmallow goo. Better for everyone, really.
Disclaimer: The "that's what she said" jokes pretty much write themselves in a post about making marshmallows but I'll leave you to fill them in where you deem appropriate.
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
Start out by oiling your pan (size will depend on how thick you want your marshmallows to be but something approximately 13x9 would work well) and dusting with powdered sugar. This is important because your marshmallow goo will be incredibly sticky when you pour it in.
Get your stand mixer set up (OK, I know not all of us have a stand mixer but I would really not recommend trying this with a hand mixer - borrow from a friend/parent/quirky neighborhood blogger if you have to) and beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Carefully spoon this into a bowl and set in the fridge until later.
Clean off the egg white residue and use the mixing bowl to let the gelatin soak in 1/2 cup of the cold water.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt in a saucepan and slowly heat until the sugar is dissolved. Now, you need a candy thermometer for this next step - OK, I know I've lost a few of you here but honestly, spring for a decent candy thermometer and you can thank me later. Most candy thermometers come with a clip so you can attach it to the side of your saucepan. Do that. Make sure the tip of the probe is submerged but not touching the bottom of the pan and heat the mixture until it starts to boil. Let it boil (without stirring) until it heats to 240°F (about 10 minutes, give or take).
Remove the probe and very carefully pour the boiling sugar mixture into the mixing bowl where you've been soaking the gelatin. Whisk briskly (yes, briskly) until the gelatin is dissolved.
At this point you might be wondering what you've gotten yourself into and WHY you listened to me because this bowl of syrup just smells funny and how is this going to turn into something puffy and delicious. Obviously the magic is in your stand mixer. Turn that baby onto high speed and mix until the syrup turns thick, white, and tripled in volume - this could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the mixer you're using.
Once the mixture is where you want it, add the egg whites from earlier and the vanilla extract (you could also use something like peppermint extract but you won't need as much, try 2 teaspoons).
Don't over beat! Once everything is just combined, wrestle the goo into your oiled and powdered pan and try to smooth it out with a spatula.
Sift a thin layer of powered sugar on top (here's where you could add candy cane bits or some other garnish) before putting in the fridge (uncovered) to chill for at least three hours but ideally overnight.
Unmolding is quite easy - just run a thin knife around the edge and gently lift the giant marshmallow out and onto a clean surface for cutting. A pizza cutter works well but you could also use a sharp knife or even poultry shears. As you cut, dip each edge (they'll be sticky) in a bit of powdered sugar.
If you just make the plain marshmallows then you can spice them up a bit with chocolate and some kind of topping. A note about drizzling chocolate: it's messy! Also, it's important that you use baking chocolate - chocolate chips won't melt the way you want them to. To melt the chocolate you'll want to get a few inches of water simmering in a saucepan and put a glass bowl on top of the saucepan (unless you're fancy and have a double boiler). Put the chopped chocolate in the bowl and watch until it's completely melted - stir to make sure it's smooth. The tricky part is the drizzling. If you have a pastry bag, use it! I didn't. I made due with a ziplock bag with a tiny cut in the corner which worked fairly well but be careful! That chocolate is hot, hot, hot.
All in all, a pretty successful effort. Has anyone else attempted marshmallows before? Tell me I'm not the only one crazy enough to do it...