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Vanilla-Mint Marshmallows


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By Life Pastry - September 29, 2020

 


Vanilla-Mint Marshmallows


Makes about 25 jumbo marshmallows

Marshmallows belong to that group of foods we typically purchase but that are really gratifying to make from scratch. If you’ve never made homemade mayonnaise, butter, ricotta cheese, or puff pastry, give them a whirl and show off your skills to your friends and family. These marshmallows will earn you the crown of DIY Wizard. They are fluffy and airy and have cleaner, purer flavors than any marshmallow you’ll find on the grocery shelves. Once you get the hang of making marshmallows, play around with different fruits and extracts and come up with your own signature flavors. They take about a day to dry before you can start eating them, so plan ahead.


6¾ teaspoons/21 grams unflavored powdered gelatin (three ¼-ounce packets)

1⅔ cups/335 grams superfine sugar

1 cup/320 grams light corn syrup

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

½ cup/65 grams cornstarch

½ cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar

 

Pour ½ cup/120 grams cold water into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the water and set it aside to bloom (i.e., absorb the water and soften).

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the superfine sugar, corn syrup, ½ cup/120 grams water, and salt and stir together to moisten the sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar syrup to 240°F, soft ball stage (see “Cooking Sugar,” recipe).

As soon as it reaches 240°F, remove the syrup from the heat and slowly stream it into the softened gelatin with the mixer on high speed. Drizzle the syrup down the side of the bowl; be careful not to drizzle it in the middle of the bowl or it will hit the whisk and be flung all around.

Once all the syrup has been whipped in, add the vanilla seeds and peppermint extract. Whip on high until cool to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes. It will go from a milky white mixture to a fluffy, voluminous marshmallow.

While the marshmallow is whipping, sift the cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar together into a small container or bowl.

Line the bottom of a 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray the sides generously with cooking spray or rub them with a little vegetable oil. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the cornstarch–confectioners’ sugar mixture evenly across the parchment.

When the marshmallow has thickened and cooled, scrape it into the prepared baking pan and smooth it out with a spatula dipped in water. It is EXTREMELY sticky. Dust the top with a few more tablespoons of the cornstarch–confectioners’ sugar mixture (don’t use it all). Make sure all parts of the marshmallow are covered. Let the marshmallow cool completely, then wrap the pan with plastic wrap. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day, run a paring knife along the sides of the baking pan and invert the marshmallow onto a cutting board. Peel off the parchment and use a sharp knife, dipped in hot water and then dried off, to cut the marshmallow into cubes about 1½ inches square (five rows by five). Dip the knife in hot water and dry it off before every slice for easiest slicing. Toss each cube in the remaining cornstarch–confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat.

Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.


Christopher’s Honeycomb





Makes enough honeycomb for 5 or 6 gift bags

Christopher’s sweet tooth knows no bounds. If it has sugar in it, he loves it. But when he REALLY loves something I know it must be super special. He came home from a business trip one day and plopped a candy bar in front of me. “Can you make this?!” he wondered. Challenge accepted, Myers! Making honeycomb reminds me a bit of that experiment you tried as a kid when you stir baking soda into vinegar and watch the whole mixture bubble up and fuel a rocket. Except instead of mixing the soda into vinegar, here it gets whisked vigorously into hot caramel, which causes the same reaction. The caramel foams up immediately; when it cools the resulting candy is full of holes like a honeycomb (hence the name). I top it with tempered chocolate to make it even more decadent.


1 cup/200 grams sugar

1 cup/320 grams light corn syrup

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 ounces/170 grams milk chocolate

 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and about ½ cup/120 grams water; stir to entirely moisten the sugar. Add the corn syrup and place the saucepan on the stove. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Don’t stir or jostle the pan while the syrup is coming up to a boil or as it boils; this could trigger the sugar to crystallize and you’ll have to throw it out. As long as you leave it alone while it’s boiling, it will be okay.

As it comes to a boil, place the measured-out baking soda and vanilla nearby. Have a whisk handy and make sure the prepared baking sheet is next to the stove as well.

Watch the sugar syrup as it boils; after 6 to 8 minutes you’ll see it start to caramelize. As soon as you see a hint of color in the syrup, it is safe to start swirling it around. Swirl the syrup to even out the caramelization. After about 1 minute more, as soon as the syrup is a pale barely-tan with just a hint of golden color, take it off the stove.

Sprinkle the baking soda evenly across the syrup and add the vanilla. Immediately start whisking vigorously to combine the soda and vanilla into the syrup. The soda will cause the syrup to bubble and foam up immediately; it will turn darker as well. Whisk very quickly and vigorously for a few seconds to ensure all the baking soda gets mixed in completely.

 

While it is still foamy and light, quickly pour the honeycomb mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. It will be bubbly and airy and you’ll be tempted to spread it evenly on the sheet. Don’t! You want to keep all of those bubbles that the baking soda has created. Just pour it onto the sheet and let gravity take its course to spread the mixture out.

Let the honeycomb sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes as it cools and hardens.

While the honeycomb is cooling, chop the milk chocolate fine. Place about two-thirds of the chocolate in a metal or heatproof glass bowl and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate from time to time to melt it, until it is hot to the touch. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring it every 20 seconds or so to melt it evenly.

Once the chocolate is entirely melted and hot, add the rest of the unmelted chopped chocolate to it. Stir slowly and carefully until this chocolate is melted by the heat of the already-melted chocolate. When all the chocolate is completely melted, the temperature of the chocolate should be just under body temperature. The best way to test is to place a little bit of chocolate right underneath your lip. If you can’t feel it or it is a bit cool, it is perfect. If it feels warm, you need to add a bit more unmelted chocolate and keep stirring to cool it down. (By introducing the unmelted chocolate to the melted chocolate you are encouraging the melted chocolate to become tempered. This means that when you spread it on the honeycomb it will cool into a snappy, firm, shiny coating for the candy instead of a streaked, soft, unattractive coating.)

Spread the tempered chocolate evenly across the surface of the honeycomb. Let the chocolate set for about 1 hour at room temperature.

Once the chocolate is fully set, break the honeycomb up into irregularly shaped 2-inch pieces.

Honeycomb can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

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