If you’re a semi-competent human being, this is probably the way that you make marshmallows. If you’re me, it goes something like this:
- Wait to do this until you’re at your parents’ house, because the 600 Series KitchenAid that you found for a super-awesome price won’t be yours until Christmas. (And because it’s more fun to make a giant mess in their kitchen.)
- Since this is your first time working with gelatin, stick your face in the bowl of gelatin and water to see if it smells anything like jell-o. Recoil in horror at the disgusting scent that assaults your olfactory system.
- After a few minutes of the mixer running on high speed, start milling around nervously because the motor sounds like it’s begging you to put it out of its misery. Consider that you might just be paranoid because your mother’s KitchenAid is near the top of the list of Things You Don’t Want to Break (second only to her Vitamix). Also consider that you could tell her to keep your new mixer, but that just makes the thought of breaking hers even more upsetting. Hover over the mixer with your hand inches from the off switch for the next ten minutes.
- After you’ve poured everything into the pan, smack yourself in the head because you were so worried about destroying the mixer, you forgot to add the vanilla extract.
Despite the missing vanilla and my concern that nothing delicious could come from a substance as vile-smelling as gelatin, these things turned out awesome. (Although I was a bit disappointed that I spent all that time tempering chocolate just to wind up with a speckled coating, thanks to the excess powdered sugar on the marshmallows.) When I set out to make these, I had s’mores in mind. But as soon as I took a bite, I said, “oh, duh—mallomars!” (How did I forget about mallomars?!) Next time, 1×1 marshmallow squares are totally being affixed to 1×1 crackers, and the whole thing is getting dipped in chocolate. Considering how many of these things I ate, bite-size mallomars might be the end of me.
(adapted from Good Eats)
yield: approximately 3 dozen 2×2½-inch marshmallows (I used a pan that was 11½x14)
- 3 packages of unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup of ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces of granulated sugar (approximately 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup of light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup of cornstarch
- nonstick spray
Combine the gelatin and half a cup of the water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Ready the whisk attachment.
Combine the remaining half cup of water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, cover, and let cook for 3–4 minutes. Uncover, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and continue to cook the mixture until it reaches 240° (around 7–8 minutes) then immediately remove from heat.
Attach the whisk to your mixer and turn on to low speed. Slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Once all of the syrup is added, turn the mixer to high. Whip until the mixture becomes very thick—around 12–15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. (The longer you whip the mixture, the stiffer the marshmallows will be. I stopped mine at 12 because of the whole mixer-destruction paranoia, and they were noticeably softer than store-bought.)
While the mixer is handling the whipping, prep a metal pan to pour the mixture into. (Alton Brown recommends a 9×13, but the closest I had was 11½x14.) Combine the confectionery sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Spray your pan with cooking spray, then dust the bottom and sides with some of the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Reserve what is left for later.
When the mixture has finished whipping, pour it into your pan, using a lightly-oiled spatula to scrape it from the bowl and spread it evenly in the pan. Dust the top with some of the remaining sugar/cornstarch mixture (still reserving some for later). Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Turn the marshmallow block out onto a large cutting board. Using a pizza wheel lightly-dusted with the sugar/cornstarch mixture, cut the marshmallows into 2×2½-inch rectangles. Dust sides with the remaining sugar/cornstarch mixture. (If you neurotically trim off the edges of the entire block to make sure you have perfectly-even rectangles, cut the trimmed edges into mini marshmallows.)
Note: If you want to avoid a speckled chocolate coating, remove as much of the sugar/cornstarch mixture from the outside of your marshmallows as you possibly can.
Prepare several sheets of wax paper on your counter.
Roughly chop around 15 oz. of high-quality dark chocolate. Transfer ⅔ of it to a double boiler. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 115°. Immediately remove from heat and add the remaining ⅓ of the chocolate. Stir until all of the chocolate has melted. Continue stirring until the mixture is between 91–88°.
Dip each marshmallow in the chocolate, then set (chocolate side-up) on the wax paper. Continue until all of the marshmallows have been coated. Let sit until chocolate has cooled and hardened. You may get some speckling in the chocolate, and you will probably get some unsightly drips down the sides of some mallows. Not to worry—the deliciousness will overshadow all of this!
Homemade Graham Crackers
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp of unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of graham (or whole wheat) flour
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp kosher or coarse sea salt
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
- ⅓ cup of honey
- 5 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer (if using the latter, affix the paddle attachment). Pulse or mix on low to incorporate, then add the butter and pulse/mix on low, until the mixture is crumbly.
Whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and pulse/mix on low until the dough just comes together (it will be soft and sticky). Lay out two pieces of plastic wrap and lightly dust with flour. Divide dough in two and place each half in plastic wrap. Pat into a 1″-thick rectangle and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On a well-floured surface, roll dough out into a rectangle approximately ⅛” thick. Using a pasta wheel or a sharp knife, trim the edges then cut the crackers into 2½x3-inch rectangles. Transfer to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Poke holes in the crackers using a bamboo skewer (or whatever other device you might have handy) and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar topping. Refrigerate for another 30–40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Continue rolling and cutting with the second half of the dough. When the oven is at the right temperature, put the first batch of crackers in the oven. Bake for 12–15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Keep an eye on the crackers, as the baking time can be a bit finicky. (I burnt the first batch because I let them go for about 17 minutes.) If you see any browning around the edges, remove them from the oven.
Top with chocolate-covered marshmallows and enjoy! If you’d like a s’mores-like treat, hit them with a crème brûlée torch. :)