Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Basics: Homemade Marshmallows & Marshmallow Fluff

Homemade Marshmallows
(Adapted from a recipe in Disney's A Merry Christmas Cookbook)
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Cold Water
1 pkt. Plain Gelatin Powder
1 Cup Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of cold water with the gelatin powder & let sit for about 10 minutes.
2. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of water together and heat until the sugar dissolves. Plop the solidified gelatin in and bring to a boil until the gelatin dissolves.
3. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl & add in the salt & vanilla extract. Beat on medium high speed for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is creamy & smooth & doubled in volume.
4. Line a tray or flat bottomed dish with plastic wrap & spray with non-stick spray. Pour the marshmallow mixture onto the plastic wrap & spread out evenly, taking into consideration the thickness you want your marshmallows to be. Spray another large sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray & place it, spray-side down, over the marshmallow. Let sit at room temperature for about 3 hours.
5. Remove the plastic wrap from the top & cut the marshmallow into whatever shapes you'd like. Toss them with powdered sugar or a mixture of powdered sugar & cornstarch, try colored sugar, or coat them in chocolate or candy melts. You can also use the marshmallow to create moon pies or sandwich cookies! Use your imagination! Feel free to straight-up double or triple the recipe if you need more 'mallow.

          Here are two homemade marshmallow fluff recipes which can be used for frosting or fluffernutters or whatever other marshmallowy uses you can think of! Both recipes have pros and cons, the first one is fluffier and holds its shape better, but develops a crust after a little while leading to a thicker crust as time progresses, almost like freeze-dried marshmallows! The second one takes less time and effort to make and stays soft longer, but flattens out a little bit after a while (doesn't hold shape as well as the other one) and gets a little chewy. Once marshmallow fluff is put on something it should be eaten immediately though so the hardening and flattening shouldn't be an issue. To store, put the fluff into an airtight container in the fridge.

Marshmallow Fluff #1

Ingredients:
3 Egg Whites
1/4 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. In a medium pot heat about an inch or so of water to a steady, low simmer. Whisk the 1st 4 ingredients in a medium metal or glass mixing bowl until white(ish) & foamy. Sit the bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bowl bottom is not touching the water, & beat the egg mixture on high speed until it is white, thick, & smooth & stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted (about 10-12 mins beating time).
2. Remove the bowl from over the pot & place it on the counter. Add the vanilla extract & beat for about another 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Marshmallow Fluff #2

Ingredients:
4 Egg Whites, room temperature
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
Pinch Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. In a medium pot heat about an inch or so of water to a steady, low simmer. Combine the 1st 4 ingredients in a medium metal or glass mixing bowl. Sit the bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bowl bottom is not touching the water, & whisk the egg mixture constantly until it is hot & the sugar granules are dissolved (about 5-6 mins).
2. Remove the bowl from the heat & beat the egg mixture on medium speed for about a minute & then on high speed for about 5 mins more, until the mixture is thick, glossy, & has stiff peaks. Add the vanilla extract & beat for another minute. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.


Suggestion: If you spread or pipe homemade marshmallow fluff onto a cake or cupcakes, how about toasting it a little bit with either a few puffs from your kitchen torch or a couple of minutes under your oven's broiler? It'll smell & taste just like campfire roasted marshmallows!

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