Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Marshmallows: a new obsession

Number 38 on my 101 Things list is to cook every recipe in one book. That book is Home Cooking by Rachel Allen. It's a great book and everything I have tried has been great. One of the recipes in it is marshmallows.

Here is my first attempt. Just some plain ol' vanilla marshmallows.

Marshmallow attempt 1
I wasn't really sure what I expected, but they were much easier to make than I thought. You do need a sugar thermometer to be sure, but they were pretty straightforward.

The first batch I made were a little soft-set for what I wanted, more 'Tunnock's tea cake' than your shop bought marshmallow. I'm not sure if this is down to not using enough gelatine or not enough beating. They did taste great though!

Then I found this recipe for Coconut Ice marshmallows by Sarah Cook in the BBC Good Food magazine. And it was amazing. A touch of Malibu in the mallow and tossed in toasted coconut - delish. This recipe used leaf gelatine rather than powdered (though I have no idea if this makes a difference), and the texture was just perfect.

Coconut Ice Marshmallows
I do make a fair bit of cake, but have become quite used to not eating it when it's in the house. These marshmallows were a completely different story - I couldn't stop eating them. I only made half a batch of the coconut ones and I was a little sad when I finished them. (Really!) So I HAD to make another batch (or two) pretty soon.

So, with a bit of googling and pinning and inspiration I opted for some vanilla marshmallows coated in My Secret Kitchen Secret Vanilla Pudding Spices which I had been desperate to try and some Armaretto marshmallows coated in crumbed armaretti biscuits I was given for christmas.

Vanilla Marshmallows with MSK Secret Vanilla Pudding Spices
Armaretto Marshmallows with crushed armaretti biscuits
Here is how I made them, adapting the Coconut Ice Marshmallow recipe above. I made the full recipe and split it to make the 2 different flavours, but you can just use half the recipe if you wish.

For the Vanilla coating:
  • 40g icing sugar 
  • 40g corn flour
  • 5g (1tsp) MSK Secret Vanilla Pudding Spice
For the armaretti coating:
  • 100g crushed armaretti biscuits
For the marshmallows:
  • 10 sheets gelatine
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 4 tsp liquid glucose
  • 200ml cold water
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Armaretto
First you need to line two 8" square tins. There are a few ways to do this, the one that worked for me was lightly brushing with vegetable oil and lining with clingfilm.

Make up your coatings and put half of the vanilla coating in one tin and half of the armaretti biscuits in the other tin. Put to one side.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until ready to use.

Next put the sugar, liquid glucose and cold water into a saucepan - the smaller the pan the better, so you have a good depth of liquid to get a decent reading on your sugar thermometer. Leave over a low heat while the sugar dissolves, stirring gently, then bring it to the boil. Stop stirring and put in your sugar thermometer. Leave it to bubble until the temperature reaches the 'Firm Ball' stage. This can take about 10-15 minutes.

While the syrup is boiling whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

When the sugar syrup is ready pour gently, in a steady stream into the egg whites, beating all the time. A stand mixer (or helping hand) is very handy at this point!

Once the syrup has been added, remove the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze out any excess water, then add one at a time to the marshmallow mix - still beating the whole time. Add the vanilla extract and leave the whole mixture to keep beating for about 10 minutes until thick and shiny.

Tip half of the mixture into the tin you put the VANILLA coating in, smooth the top with a palette knife dipped in just boiled water, then top with the remaining vanilla coating.

Add the Armaretto to the other half of the marshmallow and mix in (I put it back on the mixer for a minute or so) then tip it into the tin containing the armaretti biscuits, smooth the top as before, top with the rest of the crushed biscuits, and put both tins to one side, somewhere cool (but not the fridge) and dry, for a good few hours. Mine were set after about 2 hours.

When ready tip the marshmallows out onto a chopping board & peel away the cling film. There should be enough of the coating on the top so they won't stick and cut up. Dust your knife with a little icing sugar or corn flour if they are sticky to cut. Gently roll them in the right coating to prevent them all sticking together and store in an air tight container.

I'd love to know if you do try these out. Happy marshmallowing! 


Ali Bunn said...

My hubby doesn't eat pork so the gelatine is a no-no for my cooking - I wonder if this would work with vegetarian gelatine? I doubt it, nothing else does! Might just have to make them for myself. They look (and sound) amazing though!

Rhian said...

I am planning to try out some veggie versions, so I'll let you know how I get on.