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Monday, May 30, 2011
One struggle that I continue to have living here in London is trying to find replacements for my favorite American food items. I should clarify "favorite" - by that I mean things that I didn't think twice about when living in the US but are now rare/coveted/must-have items as finding a leprechaun is easier than finding them in London.
Example - graham crackers.
Nutty Buddy Bars.
You get the point.
What I wouldn't do for a bag of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows. The marshmallows that are sold here (at least the ones in the grocery store) are almost always light pink and have a weird, strange consistency and taste. I have seen quite a few recipes online for marshmallows and was instantly intrigued. Must.make.marshmallows.
But I was scared. Scared because I had to use a candy thermometer and boil hot sugar water until it started to do strange things. Scared because I can barely walk without hurting myself and god only knows what would happen if I had to handle hot, boiling sugar water.
Turns out - nothing would happen! (this time at least)
I probably shouldn't tell you this but this recipe is ridiculously easy. Like, easier-than-going-to-the-grocery-store-to-buy-them easy. Although, I guess that depends on how close you live to a grocery store.
Now all I need is a recipe for graham crackers and truly homemade smores are all mine...Marshmallows
Adapted from Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons powdered gelatine
400 grams sugar
50 grams golden syrup (I used light Karo syrup and it worked just fine)
250ml + 6 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff, its the only flavoring in the marshmallows. Or, substitute with other flavorings - lemon would work really nicely)
- Mix corn flour and icing sugar in a small bowl. Lightly grease a 8" square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving enough hanging over the edge so you can easily remove from the pan later. Lightly grease the parchment paper and dust it with the corn flour and icing sugar mixture.
- Measure out 6 tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine powder over the water and set aside.
- In a medium size pan combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and place over medium heat with a candy thermometer attached. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves and the mixture turns clear, then boil the mixture until water evaporates and the syrup reaches 120C/250F on the candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatine mixture until fully dissolved.
- In another bowl place the egg whites and a pinch of salt and beat with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla and then slowly pour in the hot gelatine sugar syrup in a steady stream. This works best if you have a stand mixer but can be done if you only have a hand mixer - be prepared for for lots of hand/eye coordination. Continue to whisk for another couple of minutes until the mixture holds a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, gently tap out any large air bubbles and leave to set for a few hours.
- Once the marshmallows are set (at least 3 hours), dust some more corn flour/icing sugar mixture onto a cutting board. Tip out the marshmallows and remove parchment paper. Take a clean, sharp knife and cut in to squares (I initially cut 16 squares but found them a bit overwhelming, so I cut them in half to make 32 rectangles). Dredge all sides of the marshmallow in the corn flour/icing sugar mixture so that they are lightly coated, tapping off any excess.
I found that my marshmallows were better the day after cooking and after they had been left out, uncovered, for several hours. This helps dry them out a bit and gives them a more "authentic" store-bought marshmallow flavor and texture.