Riding out the storm

Hurricane Sandy didn’t really hit the Upper West Side too severely (one of the benefits of living so far from all the downtown excitement), so we still have hot water and electricity. And over in the Bite Sizes apartment, we even picked up a downtown-er for the next few days until ConEd works its magic and gets the power back up 🙂 If you’re around the area and want a hot shower, internet, warm food and some company, please don’t be shy, drop by any time!

Also… we may or may not have hot chocolate and homemade peppermint marshmallows….

Hurricane-Induced Marshmallows

Yep, true to form, I decided to embark on a marshmallow making adventure this weekend instead of properly preparing for the storm (remember last year’s storm? I guess this really shouldn’t have come as a surprise…). On the plus side, it’s gotten really chilly outside post Sandy, and there’s really no better way to while away an evening than a cup of homemade hot chocolate (post to come soon) topped with peppermint marshmallows.*

I’m not sure how I became obsessed with making my own marshmallows. …actually I take that back, I totally know why. Thank you Pinterest for ruining my productivity and making me want to bake and eat buttery, sugary, delicious things all day.

*Yeah, yeah I know, this is totally a Christmas / winter thing, and I’m jumping the gun a little. But I just bought some peppermint extract, and these offered the chance to play with red food coloring!

So yes, I caved and bought a candy thermometer, and set about learning how to make marshmallows. Turns out, it’s super easy:

Peppermint Marshmallows (From Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

Butter (for the pan)

1 Cup Cold Water (divided)

2 1/2 Tablespoons Unflavored Gelatine

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1 Cup Corn Syrup (I used light corn syrup, though I think this made the marshmallows more squishy)

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract

1/3 – 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar (+ more for dusting the pan)

Red Food Coloring (optional)

Equipment

Candy Thermometer, preferably one that can clip to the pan, like this one*

Sauce pot (or other small pot)

11″ x 7″ pan (I used an 8in circular pie pan, using half the recipe).

Mixer (standing mixer is easier, a hand held one is okay but more tiring since you’ll be mixing for awhile)

*Note: a meat thermometer will not work, since you need a thermometer that will give reliable readings above 200°F.

Instructions

Get out your candy thermometer (make sure it has batteries), and liberally butter and dust a pan with powdered sugar and set aside.

My new candy thermometer next to a ready to go buttered and floured pan.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine 1/2 cup of cold water with the gelatin, and set aside so that it can soften up.

In the sauce pan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water with sugar, corn syrup and salt, and heat on high while stirring constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Once it starts to boil, bring the heat down to low, attach the candy thermometer (make sure the tip doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan, else it’ll throw off the measurement), and let the mixture cook undisturbed until it reaches 240°F (~20-30 minutes).

Boiling sugar mixture

Take the sugar mixture off heat, and slow poor into the gelatin mixture while beating on a low speed. Once all of the mixture is in the bowl, slowly increase the speed to medium / high, until the mixture turns a glossy, opaque white, and has tripled in volume (~8-10 minutes). Add in the peppermint extract, and beat for a minute or two more until it’s been incorporated.

Slowly pour in the sugar mixture…

Watch it turn white…

…and turn super glossy and thick

Poor the glossy mixture into your buttered and dusted pan. If you want to add in the swirls, add 6-8 drops of red food coloring to the mix, and use a toothpick or knife to drag through the drops and create swirl patterns.

I may have gotten a little too excited with the swirling…

Let sit at room temp, uncovered, for 8 hours. When it’s set, liberally sprinkle powdered sugar on your work surface (I did this on a silpat to keep the mess contained, which totally would’ve worked if I hadn’t knocked over the box of powder sugar shortly after. Sigh.), and keep a small bowl with the remaining powdered sugar on hand. Use a dull butter knife to loosen up the edges, and flip the pan over onto the work surface. Dust the sides / top with more powdered sugar (At this point I flipped it over again so I could see the red designs on top, but that’s definitely not necessary).

With a well buttered, SHARP knife, gently cut the marshmallows into your desired shapes, dunking the cut pieces into the bowl of powdered sugar as you go so they don’t stick.

Yum….

You can store these in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. They’re wonderful alone, but even better in a steaming hot mug of homemade hot chocolate. I have my favorite recipe, which I’ll share soon 🙂

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