16.12.05

Pink Christmas Marshmallows


Here's my third, and final, entry for the Holiday Cookie Exchange, hosted by Dawn at SoCal Foodie. If you haven't yet participated, there's still time to join in throughout the rest of the weekend!

I had trouble choosing what I would make this time, especially because I knew I had only the ingredients already in my kitchen to work with - we leave on Wednesday to drive home to Colorado for Christmas. But I also have a (sometimes annoying) habit that once I see something that I think is great, be it a recipe or a food product in the store, I have to have it, or make it. Right away. This has been the case since I saw an advertisement for homemade marshmallows yesterday.

Homemade marshmallows.
Soaking in a cup of peppermint schnapps-laced hot chocolate.


Mmmm... I looked on the Internet to buy them - "hand-crafted marshmallows." There were several types available, from all over the place. But wait! I'm broke! I don't get paid until the end of the month - after Christmas. And they tend to be a bit pricey for what they are. But wow, are they sure pretty. So, I thought, maybe I can find a recipe for them. Perhaps they aren't too difficult to make myself (home-made is always better, anyway, right?). I found a recipe on www.epicurious.com - and it didn't look too difficult. And it got rave reviews.

I could make these for the Holiday Cookie Exchange! Now, I know these aren't your traditional cookies...but can't you just see little cellophane bags filled with homemade marshmallows, tied together with a Christmas bow? Perhaps alongside a homemade hot chocolate mix to give to the neighbors, or your friends? Doesn't everyone love hot chocolate with marshmallows on top??? I apologize that my pictures are not more Christmas-y...but after scouring the house, I realized that I do not own a single Christmas-y dish! Nor any cute bows or anything fun to make a neat Christmas picture with my marshmallows! I guess that's what you get for still being a student! Loving Boyfriend and I actually tried to make an igloo out of the marshmallows on a red napkin, thinking this would be the coolest picture of Christmas marshmallows out there - but it was quite possibly the ugliest igloo I've ever laid eyes on...so we dismantled it and decided against having photographic evidence of it ever existing.

They taste fabulous. And they're cute (well, I think so). Except that in an effort to make them more Christmas-y, I added red food coloring - hoping if I added just a bit and didn't stir too much, they would come out looking streaky and pinkish red, like these. But no, they just turned out baby girl pink. I should have made them green. I even tried to dab on red food coloring after the fact, but this does NOT look pretty. If I had money and time, I would have also gone to the store and added a bit of peppermint extract, to make them even more like Christmas marshmallows.

Just think of the possibilities! Cinnamon marshmallows over mexican hot chocolate. Coconut marshmallows. Cutting out shapes of pastel-colored marshmallows - perhaps little Peeps for Easter! Smores. Or how about dipped in dark chocolate and covered with graham cracker crumbs for a Smores rendition? I think that these will definitely become part of my repertoir. Apparently, though, you shouldn't make rice crispy treats out of them (I'm not sure why, but one reviewer said definitely not to do this...followed by "EW" in capital letters!).


Marshmallows, from epicurious.com

about 1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites*
1 teaspoon vanilla

*if egg safety is a problem in your area, substitute powdered egg whites reconstituted according to manufacturer's instructions

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners' sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F., about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners' sugar into a large bowl and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat. Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Makes about 96 marshmallows.

My notes: You should either own two bowls for your stand mixture, or use a handmixer for beating the egg whites. I don't own a second bowl, nor a handmixer (I killed it to get the stand mixer...he he he) so I tried holding a separate bowl under the paddle to do the egg whites, and this was quite nearly a disaster...and probably dangerous! I'll be purchasing a second bowl for my mixer right after Christmas to save myself from ever having to do this again!

Wash everything right away - it's really gooey! And transfer the mixture to the pan immediately after you've combined everything - it gets sticky fast. I also took the advice of one of the reviewers and oiled my hands and used them to flatten out the mixture right after I put it in the pan - this worked great! And my last bit of advice is to use either a very hot, large, sharp knife or a very sharp pizza cutter to cut them.

24 comments from you:

Dawn said...

Good job Michelle! I like different stuff like this. Plus, you've got me wondering, how soft is a fresh marshmallow versus a packaged one? Do they melt at the same speed?

michelle said...

Hi Dawn!
Aw, shucks. Thanks! They're pretty soft, but not too soft...that's kind of hard to describe! They're like the big marshmallows but without that crusty outer shell. They do melt in hot chocolate, but I'll have to do some tests about the speed and get back to you!

cookiecrumb said...

Huh. Wow. [Scrapes jaw up off floor.]

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, they are fantastic. They look beautiful---I have always loved home made marshmallows! I have been so stressed today with the typepad problem, that I totally forgot about the cookie exchange. BUT hope to have time tomorrow to work on my post :) HUgs!

ilva said...

Thanks Michelle, now I can try to make these at home because my kids love marshmallows but I rarely buy them any! We'll do them together during their Christmas vacations!

kitchenmage said...

Those look wonderful! I made marshmallows for the first time (and several more) this year, with berries in them, some coated with bittersweet or white chocolate. The recipe I used doesn't use the egg whites so it seems a bit simpler. We toasted them over campfires and they melt nicely, even those with chocolate on one side.

michelle said...

Hi Cookiecrumb! Aw, thanks :) I don't think I've made anyone drop their jaw to the floor before...

Hi Melissa!
I know, I tried to post to you yesterday and saw that things still weren't working properly. Well, I'm still thinking of you anyway! Good luck, my dear!

Hi Ilva!
They're great - we had them on hot chocolate yesterday too - and they're quite fun to make because they're so gooey.

Hi Kitchenmage!
Ah! I should have checked everyone's archives - I'll have to try yours next - it sounds like you have lots of good ideas for variations too! I can't wait to try them in smores!

michelle said...

PS to Kitchenmage - thanks for the suggestion on the '2nd batch phenom'...you know, I've never tried waiting 15 minutes before putting the first batch in because I get too excited and never remember the phenomenon until I see what the second batch looks like! Must be the planets!

Shauna said...

Michelle:

These look fantastic. I've been wanting to make homemade marshmallows for months now, after I saw a post on Oswego Tea. Then, my French friend Francoise told me that she had only eaten these kinds of marshmallows, before she came to the US. And some brands of US marshmallows have gluten in them, so even more reason to make them.

After the holidays, maybe?

vlb5757 said...

Michelle, making marshmallows from scratch is on my list of things to do. I saw this thing on FoodNetwork about a guy that has a business making gourmet "mallows". It made me want to make some but I have flat run out of time. Yours look great and who cares if they are baby girl pink. They were a success and you will try another kind later, I am sure. I will try it later after the holidays! You are very brave! I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!

michelle said...

Hi Shauna!
After having two in my hot chocolate on Friday, with a tiny splace of peppermint schnapps, I think I can safely say: You should definitely make them - they'll warm you up after all this freezing rain the west coast is getting!

Hi Vickie!
Thank you, sweetie. I will try more flavors for sure! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Years too - drive safe!

vlb5757 said...

Hey, Michelle, I just had an idea. How about a few of us try the same recipe and publish on the same weekend and see if they all look alike? Boy, do I have too much time on my hands...just thinking. I have Joy of Cooking too. Let's see if Dawn has it and maybe we can pick a recipe and the all of use make it and see how three different folks make the same recipe. Let me know.

You have a safe drive home and try not to kill LB in the car. I know three days with hubby will make me want to kill someone!!

Michèle said...

I am so shocked and impressed that you made your own marshmallows. What an accomplishment! Ive heard other people say they are quite difficult to do. You sure showed them huh! They look fantastic!

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Vickie, that's a great idea!!! Let's do that sometime soon :)

Michelle, who's going to pick up your mail?

michelle said...

Vickie and Melissa - Let's do it! Sounds like fun. Vickie, You don't kill hubby in the car either - your drive is a full day longer than mine, and remember, he got you all those nice books! Melissa, we have friends who will be picking up our mail and keeping an eye on the house so that the pipes don't freeze while we're gone!

Michele, well this is nothing compared to coq au vin(!), and they are actually quite easy. Just incredibly gooey! Getting them from the mixer bowl to the pan was definitely the most difficult part!

LisaSD said...

Michelle--They are--dare I say it?--precious! And, yes, perfect for Xmas-y stuff. Very nice.

Happy Holidays--I'm going to be signing off for a week or so. Hope your trip is safe and fun!

Cheryl said...

Hi Michelle
Wow! Yours look just like the Housemade marshmallows we make & sell at the bakery! It sounds like your hooked on them too. By the way thanks for your note and I would recommend Martha's Baking Handbook as well as Donna Hays Classics 2. Have fun exploring baking.

J said...

hi michelle, i'm totally blown away...WOW! homemade marshmallows...the possibilities, like you say, are boggling...

Nerissa said...

Gosh Michelle... I kept wandering back and looking at those beauties you made. They look amazingly scrumptious! I think I saw some in my Bon Appetit magazine that were all marbled and swirled in red and white but they didn't look as edible as yours. I wouldn't mind taking a nap amongst those pretty pink pillows. Except I'd probably wake out without the pillows and dusting around my mouth... ;-)

farmgirl said...

Wow. Yum. (And they are cute!)

Wishing you a wonderfully delicious holiday! And thanks for helping to make Farmgirl Fare one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done. All the best to you and yours. : )

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, hope you had a great trip to visit your family. Can´t wait to learn about your holiday cooking stories :)
Happy New Year from sunny Panama!

McAuliflower said...

What wonderful inspiration you are!
Hope your break is giving you just that- a break :)


off to make rice krispee treats!

michelle said...

Hi everyone!
Thank you so much for all of your comments! Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Years. I just returned from my trip home to Colorado (where I didn't have internet access all week, both a curse and a blessing) and I'll be back to normal posting on Monday. I can't wait to see what you've all been up to!

vlb5757 said...

Michelle-I am home today too. I will catch up with you and everyone else when I have some time to wade through the mail and E mails! Hope that you had a great trip!