Saturday, April 23, 2011


Homemade lavender marshmallows

I love making things that make people say, "you MADE those? I didn't know you could MAKE those!" There are so many things that we just buy, thinking that nobody really makes them, it must be impossible. But people do, and it isn't, and marshmallows made at home are way softer and fluffier and yummier than those rubbery things they sell in a bag.

And yet, I must say, I had a fear of candy-making. Still do, a bit, I must admit. But I was involved in a swap project (sorta like Secret Santa, except not at Christmas), and the person I was sending to had lavender marshmallows on their list, but I wasn't going to be able to fit them in under the spending limit. So I figured I'd take a stab at it myself, once I bought a candy thermometer, of course (which I didn't count toward that spending limit, as I kept it and will use it again).

These came out pretty good (well, it's Alton Brown, of course it would), though I honestly don't like the taste of lavender. But the texture was lovely, and I can see some all-vanilla ones in my future. The trickiest things about making these, I think, were that you must have an electric mixer of some kind, if you don't want your arm to fall off from whisking (and yay, I got to use the whisk attachment on my mixer, which I hadn't tried out yet), and you must not scrape the bowl. Don't do it. I know there's still going to be some left stuck to the bowl once you pour it into the pan, but just let it go, or you're gonna end up covered in marshmallow (and it still won't end up in the pan).

From Alton Brown

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (Knox is the most common brand, if you've never bought this stuff before)
1 c cold water
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp extract -- vanilla or another flavor (I used half vanilla, half lavender for mine)
1/4 c confectioners' sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
Nonstick spray

1. Place 1/2 cup of cold water in a large bowl, pour the gelatin over it and let stand.
2. Combine the rest of the water and the sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, then uncover and clip on the candy thermometer (make sure the bulb doesn't touch the bottom of the pan). Cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, then remove from the heat.
3. Turn on your mixer with the whisk attachment (or use a stand mixer if you've got on) and slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. Turn the mixer up to high and whip, whip, whip, until it's thick and lukewarm -- basically, until it's marshmallow, until it looks like Fluff.
4. Add in the extract(s), and if you want to use food coloring, drip that in, too. Beat in.
5. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
6. Spray a 9-by-13 pan with cooking spray. Dust the pan with some of the sugar/cornstarch mix, pouring the excess back into the bowl.
7. Pour the marshmallow into the pan. A greased spatula may help with this. (Or it may not -- it didn't really help me much.)
8. Once the marshmallow has settled into the pan, dust with the sugar/cornstarch mix.
9. Let sit at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
10. Dump the marshmallow out and cut into pieces using an oiled knife. Roll the sides in the sugar/cornstarch mix.

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