I'm not a fan of marshmallows. Well, that is unless they're melted and inside of a s'more...but only if the s'more's made with dark chocolate. Ok, so I'm realizing I'm a bit of a chocolate snob, but really, dark is the only kind of chocolate that's worth eating. Anyway, as I was saying, I'm not a fan of marshmallows. That is, until I discovered homemade marshmallows. Mmmm...these things take marshmallows to a whole new level. They're not dry and hard like the store-bought variety. It's really hard to describe; you'll just have to try them for yourself! I have to thank Alton Brown for this recipe (and you'll want to thank him too after you try these!).
As I was brainstorming what I could give my neighbors for Valentine's Day this year, homemade marshmallows came to mind. I like to do something different than the typical cookie when I have the time. Anyway, I was thinking it might be strange to just give marshmallows, so I was trying to think of a way to make it work. Then it hit me. I could make pink marshmallows, cut them into heart shapes, and give them with hot chocolate mix! If I had a little extra time to plan, I would have gone in search of some cheap Valentine's mugs to put the marshmallows and hot chocolate mix in, but I didn't, so I had to make what I had work.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 oz granulated sugar (this was just over 1 1/2 cups for me)
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the wisk attachment, add the gelatin and 1/2 cup of the cold water. Set aside.
|The gelatin and cold water after it had ben sitting for a couple minutes.|
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees. Once it reaches this temperature, immediately remove it from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all of the sugar mixture has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and lukewarm, about 12-15 minutes. Add vanilla during the last minute of whipping. For my special Valentine's treats, also add red food coloring during this time.
While the mixture is whipping, prepare your pan. Take a metal 9 x 13 pan and spray it with nonstick spray. Mix powdered sugar and corn starch; put some into the greased pan. Shake the pan around to coat the bottom and sides with the powdered sugar mixture. Return the excess powdered sugar to the bowl for later use. I ended up using two pans because my heart cookie cutter was bigger than I would have liked it to be. However, I figured it would still work but because my cookie cutter was on the bigger side, I didn't want them to be too thick. Hence I divided mine between two pans.
Pour marshmallow mixture in prepared pan(s). Use some self control and try not to eat all of the marshmallow creme now. Use a well-oiled rubber spatula to spread it evenly in your pan(s). Dust the top of the marshmallows with your powdered sugar mixture. Allow to sit, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Turn marshmallows out onto a cookie sheet. You may need to use your hands to help pull them out of the pan.
For regular marshmallows, dust a pizza cutter with your powdered sugar mixture and cut into 1-inch marshmallows. For the Valentine's Day marshmallows, take a heart cookie cutter (not too big if you want it to fit into a mug with hot chocolate), dust it with the powdered sugar mixture, and cut out the hearts. When the hearts (or regular marshmallow cubes) have been cut out, make sure all sides are coated with your powdered sugar mixture so that they don't stick together. You can store these in an airtight container for up to three weeks. For instructions on how to make miniature marshmallows, click here.
|Ready to sit for at least 4 hours. (sorry for the lack of white balance on this photo)|
|The gifts we took to our neighbors.|
And if you're in need of a Valentine's breakfast idea, here's a pretty simple one. In October, Sumiko wrote about eggs in a hole and talked about making fun shapes for the hole. This is such an easy breakfast to make on Valentine's Day by using a heart shaped cookie cutter! Also, in order to make the shape a little more distinguishable (Sumiko outlined hers in ketchup), I first cut out the heart, buttered both sides of the outer part of the bread and toasted one side in my frying pan. Once it was nicely toasted, I flipped it over, then added the egg and broke the yolk. Once the egg was cooked well on that side, instead of flipping it over, I stuck it in a preheated 350 degree oven and left it in there until the egg was cooked through. Easy peasy!