We had so much fun brainstorming for Issue 3′s party, and we had plenty of inspiration thanks to the beautiful setting of the Lupps’ home in Bristow.
Our theme was an earthy fall feast, complete with the quintessential fireside dessert — S’mores. But we wanted to take the classic dessert up a notch, so I decided to make homemade marshmallows.
To make the S’mores bar, we included the essential ingredients so guests could choose as they make their own custom S’mores: Hershey bars, graham crackers, marshmallows — plus, we added some fresh bananas, dried apple rings, and our favorite ingredient, Nutella. Yum!
Let’s rewind a few days. I’m a pretty consistent amateur baker, so this project seemed like no sweat — or so I thought. But considering the Oklahoma heat wave was lingering on, it was even trickier than I thought because of the lovely humidity. So before the gorgeous above photo, my kitchen looked like this:
Still, ater one epic fail my marshmallows turned out beautifully. And I had a really funny story to tell (hint: It included a burned oven mitt and broken spatula. Not my best moment in the kitchen). But the lesson is to never let a cooking challenge get you down. I’m not going to cry over marshmallow fluff!
I found that the trick for truly fluffy marshmallows is egg whites — I used pasteurized egg whites — otherwise, the mixutre will get so sticky and thick you might not get it out of the mixing bowl. Trust.
I found this wonderful recipe from David Lebovitz: Living the Sweet Life in Paris. Plus, to give it an added touch, I added toasted coconut to the top of the marshmallows while they were still wet. Just take half a bag of sweetened coconut, spread it on a thin layer on baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, checking halfway through.
Delicious! Can’t wait to make these again and again this fall and for the holiday season. I now have a new, impressive homemade treat to add to my repertoire.
Homemade Marshmallows with Toasted Coconut
2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.
2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
8. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.
9. Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.
Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.
Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post.
Storage: The marshmallows can be made up to one week in advance, and stored in an airtight container.