A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


With a camping trip on the books, I started thinking about a camp-style menu.  I got as far as S'mores... which was enough menu planning as far as I was concerned.  Campfire s'mores are the quintessential childhood camp memory.  Yet I have a moral battle each time I am faced with purchasing jet-puffed, infinite-shelf-life mallows.  What to do?  Strangely and fitting enough, a homemade marshmallow vendor recently started selling at my local farmers' market.  What a concept.  I started looking around for a recipe for my own.

I found lots of recipes.  The one I settled on has the least amount of gelatin and corn syrup per marshmallow.  In my search I also discovered that there are organic varieties of both corn syrup and gelatin, if that matters to you.  I chose the organic syrup and the regular grocery store variety of gelatin.

This recipe is adapted from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion, by White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and food writer Melissa Clark.  Marshmallows fit for the president and his fam seem good enough for me!

(makes about 40 marshmallows)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 envelope gelatin (1/4 ounces)
4 egg whites at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring -- mint, almond, citrus food oils/extracts are good choices)

1. Line a 9" x 13" pan with tin foil.  Sift together the powdered sugar and corn starch and then sift half of the mixture into the pan, as evenly as possible (get those corners!).

2. In a large, heat-proof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1 Tablespoon of water.  Let it sit while you do steps 3 and 4.

whisked egg whites
3. In a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar.   Continue to whisk at medium speed until they form stiff peaks.

heating the sugar to the 'hard-ball stage'
4. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the sugar with the corn syrup and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring until dissolved.  Continue boiling until it reaches the 'hard-ball stage', 250 - 265 degrees F, about 10 minutes.  Measure the temperature periodically with a candy thermometer so it doesn't get hotter than this (Pay attention here -- a minute can ruin this step).

5. Carefully transfer the syrup to the heat-proof bowl with the gelatin.  Whisk it all together to incorporate the gelatin.

6. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup/gelatin mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg whites.  Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes.  The bowl should feel warm, but no longer hot.

7. Whisk in the flavoring of your choice, tasting after 1/8 teaspoon before adding more.  The flavor will be more subtle once cool.

8. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing to get it into all the corners.  Sift the rest of the confectioners sugar/cornstarch mixture over the top.  If it looks like too much, that's ok -- you'll use the excess to coat the sides when you cut the marshmallows later, and can shake the excess off.

9. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

10. Now it's time to cut your mallows!  I found it helpful to put them in the fridge for 15 minutes first. Using a big kitchen knife or kitchen scissors, cut the marshmallows into 1" squares or to the size you desire (the larger the square, the more difficult it is to roast on a stick over a fire).  They will seem really soft and sticky -- that's perfect!  Toss them with the excess sugar/cornstarch mixture (I found it best to take each one individually and dunk each side, but I'm a little obsessive that way).  These store for about a week in a sealed container.

11. Enjoy fresh and take them with you camping (somewhere beautiful, like Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, below) for toasting over an open fire.  Homemade graham cracker recipe coming soon, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment