Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Marshmallow Foe

Dear Marshmallow: What did I do to you to make you not like me? Never in my life did I think I would ever ask this but, did I not beat you enough? Did you decide you wanted to take the vacant post of Baking Foe? Now that I finally defeated Cheesecake Foe, I am introduced to Marshmallow Foe. I have no clue what I did wrong, but my mixture separated. I had one really nice layer of marshmallow and then one gross layer of gelatin. I think I know what the culprit was; I think it was that extra 1 tbsp of sugar that wasn't accounted for. I'm sure that sugar was supposed to be added to the eggs. Other possible reasons included Red Sox losing to the Yankees and it being a wet, humid night in the city (no central a/c = wet, humid apartment).

Everything started off great. I had everything ready to go. Once I had everything mixed together I tasted it and it tasted like liquid marshmallow. I was all happy pouring the mixture in the baking pan and setting it in a "cool, dry" place. I let it sit over night and woke up Saturday ready to cut it into pieces. I was convinced it came out great because the top looked so nice. But alas, I cut into it and was disappointed. I stood there in my kitchen trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Did I want to give up on the marshmallows or did I want to make the best of it? I decided to not let the goods go to waste and I took out some of my pretty glasses and made mini smores. Great choice because I was able to use the leftover ganache frosting from my Kahlua Cupcakes. Plus, they looked so cute and pretty :)

Thank you Judy of Judy's Gross Eats for hosting this week.

Marshmallows
Source: Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

I'm giving you the recipe for a basic vanilla marshmallow. See Playing Around (below) for raspberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pumpkin marshmallows.

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 1/4-oz packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tbsp sugar

Getting Ready: Line a rimmed baking sheet -- choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high -- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy -- don't overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Looked good. Boy, was I wrong.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like -- into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they're cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

Can you see the nasty layers?

Serving: Put the marshmallows out and let everyone nibble as they wish. Sometimes I fill a tall glass vase with the marshmallows and put it in the center of the table -- it never fails to make friends smile. You can also top hot chocolate or cold sundaes with the marshmallows.

How pitiful is that? I probably got about 1/2 lb of goodies.

Storing: Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place; don't cover them closely. Stored in this way, they will keep for about 1 week -- they might develop a little crust on the outside or they might get a little firmer on the inside, but they'll still be very good.

Playing Around
Raspberry Marshmallows: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies. For raspberry marshmallows, you'll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango and passion fruit.

Cappuccino Marshmallows: Sift 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.

Light Chocolate Marshmallows: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.
Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows: Whisk together 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.

Layers of white chocolate, ganache, Marshmallow Foe, and graham crackers.


A few hours later that was Red Sox Nation in the background.

16 comments:

Marie said...

When life hands you lemons right! Great save! Looks delicious regardless!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Marshmallows vs. Kahlua cupcakes? No contest! Kahlua! Kahlua!

Rebecca
http://www.ezrapoundcake.com

April said...

Well, I love the parfait!!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

It may not have turned out as you'd hoped, but you deserve props for your creativity under pressure! Well done!

p.s. those glasses are beautiful

Annemarie said...

Nice save!!! Sorry it didn't work out like you hoped...it almost looks like it worked out better!

Dianne's Dishes said...

I'm sorry they didn't turn out very well, but the Kahlua was a great idea! My usual recipe for marshmallows is egg white free and I think that version works out better. Egg whites add a fickleness to the recipe I think.

Nikki57 said...

Well they look delicious and I'm sure you could have fooled all of us :P If you want to play with a friendlier marshmallow foe I have another recipe for them in the candy section of my blog. I battled with this recipe too and have never had marshmallow battles before

Heather said...

I'm sorry you had troubles with this one. The Kahlua cupcakes sound wonderful!

Natalie said...

Very nice job making the most out of it! Great pictures!

cruisingkitty said...

WOW! You should get an award for being so creative with a flop! Great idea to use them this way. I'll bet the parfaits were as delicious as they look!
Donna

Shari said...

Great presentation in the parfait glasses!

LyB said...

Nice save! Looks really cute in those glasses!

Lina said...

Beautiful and delicious looking!

Judy said...

How disappointing for you, but at least you salvaged them. There are recipes that use only gelatin, so you might try one of those.

Dolores said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one scouring the recipe to figure out where that last tablespoon of sugar went!?! And I LOVE how you deployed your wayward marshmallows.

Jeannette said...

i made these marshmallows last night and boy oh boy i think something went wrong with mine too. they are springy but they are goopy to the touch. even after i tossed them in corn starch. oh well, gonna try again!!