Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid, Use It To Flavor Marshmallows, Instead

It's been almost exactly a year, since I experimented with marshmallow making. Apparently, the end of January is a good time for them, because I found myself pulling out the blender, and corn starch, yesterday, with heart shaped, Valentine, marshmallows in mind.

Last year, I tested an extremely easy, honey marshmallow recipe.

This year, I decided to try a more traditional approach, using corn syrup, sugar, and a candy thermometer. After a quick look through the online recipes, I settled on Alton Brown's (click here, to see it).

Inspired by some heart shaped, strawberry, Jet-Puffs at the store, I wanted to give my marshmallows a Valentine's twist. Unfortunately, I had used all my strawberry extract on the popcorn, the other day, so I needed to find a substitute to add to the sugary fluff - and thus, the Kool-Aid.

So, I dumped three packages of unflavored gelatin, and 1/2 cup of ice water into the blender (Mr. Brown's recipe calls for a stand mixer, but I don't have one, so I substituted, again).

Then, I brought a 1/2 cup of ice water, 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of corn syrup to a soft ball stage, on the thermometer, over medium heat.

The recipe called for adding the boiling, sugary syrup, slowly, while mixing it with the gelatin. The blender did not really allow for that option, so I added it all at once, and then blended the ingredients for 12 minutes.

I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a small packet of unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid (minus a teaspoon worth, I removed to use later).

The mixture was suppose to become thick, and lukewarm, but in the blender, it remained in a liquid state, and was extremely hot.

I tried pouring it into a 9x13 inch pan, sprayed with cooking spray, and powdered with a mixture of corn starch, and powdered sugar, with a pinch of the extra Kool-Aid, but it spread out into an extremely thin layer, so I transferred it to a smaller container, also greased, and powdered.

I could tell it was not as air filled as it should be (I'm still blaming the blender), but it had the sticky-but-solid-and-won't-stick-to-the-pan quality of homemade marshmallows, so I continued.

I let it sit for an hour, uncovered. Then, I sprinkled it with more of the powdered sugar/corn starch mix, covered it with wax paper, and left it to sit overnight.

This afternoon, I removed it from the container. Again, even though it was sticky to the touch, it came right out of the pan, without any problems.

C, helped me cut heart shapes, and mini-marshmallows...

...and toss them in more powdered sugar, and corn starch.

They aren't quite marshmallows. They came out more as a cross between a marshmallow, and a gummy candy, but they are very good. D, gave them an A+, and T, said they are the best candies I've made yet.

Unlike, the honey marshmallows, I tried last year...

...they lack the light, air-filled, fluffiness, of good, hot-chocolate, marshmallows. In fact, they sink to the bottom of the cup like rocks, where they melt into puddles of cherry goo.

So, for a more traditional marshmallow, either use a stand mixer, or another recipe. But, for a yummy, marshmallow-like, Valentine's candy, the blender works just fine. And either way, unsweetened, cherry flavored, Kool-Aid is a good addition.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Phyllis said...

We love making marshmallows, too, although we have a mixer, so I never used a blender. Making them for Valentine's Day sounds like a good idea.

Unknown said...

our home mamde marshmallows never look that good. I'll have to try the recipe you used.. thanks for the link!

Becky said...

I LOVE the Alton Brown recipe and as soon as I read you were trying to do it in a blender I thought there might be trouble. In my stand mixer it started overflowing because there was so much and it was so fluffy. Do you have a regular mixer? I am sure it would do if you had the patience to wait it out ... which by the way, mine didn't take 12 minutes. You really should try his recipe again because they were such yummy marshmallows.
Also, we have done a Martha Stewart version to make homemade peeps and it worked very well and was tastey as well.

Debbie said...

I've never even thought of making homemade marshmallows. These look yummy but something tells me that Selena and I would be the only ones eating them.

Anonymous said...

Those sound and look really good. We made marshmallows over Christmas break and I wish I had more time to make them more often. They were so much better than store bought.

Ticia said...

I have a few friends that swear by homemade marshmallows.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

This so sounds like a chemistry experiment to me, but the end result looks yummy. I wish you were living closer, so I could send daughter over for these candy making experiments :)

Christy Killoran said...

We have yet to make homemade marshmallows, but I hope to try it someday. I don't have a stand mixer either; I would love one though!