Back in July, I had a truly awful marshmallow experience. I was working on a Smore’s ice cream cake for the Washington Post Express, which was due at 8:00 am Friday morning. It was Thursday night, I had gotten off work at midnight, and I still hadn’t made the marshmallows for the top of the cake. From midnight to the wee hours of morning, I tried batch after batch of marshmallows – and each one failed spectacularly. One time I curdled whipped egg whites with boiling sugar syrup, another time I burnt my sugar, a third time I poured the sugar syrup all over my mixer’s whisk attachment and it immediately cooled to a rock-hard web that took a good half an hour to scrub off. When I finally found a working recipe around 3:00 am, I vowed to never make marshmallows again.
So, fast forward to last Thursday. I was invited to a Smore’s party (which I ended up skipping out on due to the rain and not feeling well) and I decided it was time to face marshmallows again. Since July, I’ve successfully faced all of the techniques that I bumbled during my first marshmallow attempt, and I was much more confident that I could conquer the recipe. And, most importantly, Theresa gave me a marshmallow recipe from her pastry school that was much easier to handle, with no boiling sugar syrup and no pouring anything into a running mixer.
This marshmallow recipe is extremely easy – just combine egg whites, sugar and little corn syrup and water, cook over steam until the sugar dissolves, add some bloomed gelatin, and then whisk until it cools and fluffs up. I added a little cinnamon after trying some of the cinnamon marshmallows at Northside Social at last week’s food blogger happy hour, and I loved it. The marshmallows are fluffy and soft, and the cinnamon helps balance the sweetness. I think they’d be excellent on top of a mug of hot chocolate – or even on top of a Smore’s Ice Cream Cake.
Recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education
Makes 64 1 inch marshmallows
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup + 2 tbs (3 fluid oz) cold water
2 packets (1/2 oz) powdered gelatin
1 cup + 2 tbs + 1 tsp (8 oz) sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs (1 fluid oz) light corn syrup
2 tbs (1 fluid oz) water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking pan and line with plastic wrap. Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch and sift over the pan until the bottom and sides are covered in a thin layer of the mixture. Set aside.
Place the 3 oz of water in a small bowl and the sprinkle gelatin over. Let the gelatin soak for 5 minutes, until bloomed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cinnamon and sugar until the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Add the corn syrup, 1 oz of water, vanilla extract, and egg whites and mix until combined. Place bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water directly) and gently whisk by hand until the mixture is slightly warmer than body temperature and the sugar has dissolved (test this by dipping your finger into the bottom of the bowl and rubbing the mixture between your fingers – when you can no longer feel sugar granulates, then it has dissolved). Remove the mixture from the heat and add the gelatin – stir until the gelatin dissolves.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer and beat with a whisk attachment until the mixture has risen in volume, is beginning to thicken, and feels cool to the touch.
Pour into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Sift some more of the powdered sugar mixture over the top of the marshmallows. Place marshmallows in the freezer or refrigerator to set.
To cut marshmallows, dip a pastry wheel or cookie cutter in the powdered sugar mixture and then cut into shapes as desired. Store in an airtight container.