Or: Because apparently I like filling my children with sugar
Berry has been begging me for marshmallows. I’m fine with kids having treats. But I do object to them eating ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and food colorings (also artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils and MSG – my list of nos is fairly short).
It’s surprisingly hard to find marshmallows without those first two ingredients. We did, for a while, at Market of Choice. But then they stopped carrying them. The best I could find are Dandies, which list corn syrup (at least not high fructose) as the first ingredient.
So I decided to make my own.
Rather than go the no-refined-sugar approach (by making them out of $20 worth of maple syrup or agave nectar), I went with plain, organic, somewhat brown sugar.
I’m finally found a recipe that called for only sugar (not light corn syrup which contains HFCS) at Marshmallow Chef Sticks (#6). I decided to use this one as, when I went to look for the candy thermometers other recipes called for, I found them both cracked. Adding mercury and/or little bits of broken glass seemed like a bad idea, so out they went.
2 envelopes Knox gelatin (o.5 oz/14 g)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1. Boil sugar and hot water together until thread stage (which I think is around 450-480F if you do have a candy thermometer). Note: I didn’t actually look up what “thread stage” means, but I decided it’s the point at which you can see the sugar mixture visibly change and thicken and a thread of stickiness hang from the spoon. This takes a while — a good 10 minutes at least.
2. Mix gelatin and cold water together to dissolve (do this while boiling hot water and sugar). It will swell up.
3. Add gelatin/cold water mixture to the hot mixture. Stir.
4. Add salt and vanilla.
5. Beat until thick, white and fluffy. Mixture will have cooled down at this point.
6. Cover baking pans with powdered sugar. Pour mixture into pans 1/2″ to 1″ deep. Allow to cool.
7. Loosen edges with a wet knife. Turn out onto a sheet of waxed paper covered in powdered sugar. Cut into cubes and roll in powdered sugar. Store in an air tight container.
Note: My experience with step 7 didn’t quite go as prescribed. The marshmallows didn’t gracefully slip out of the pan ready to be cut up. Marshmallows are sticky. I cut them into cubes, then pried them out of the pan with a spoon, then rolled them in powdered sugar. It ended up working out fine, if not exactly according to directions.
This is what the mixture looks like when it’s done (and a little girl is helping you clean up and do quality assurance testing).
I used half the mixture to make marshmallows and half to make rice krispie treats.
Rice Krispie Treats
Melt butter (about 1 TBSP). Mix in gooey marshmallow. Add rice crispies and mix until well coated. Note: Use fresh cereal, not stale cereal. The end result will be much better.
I didn’t use exact or measured amounts, as I simply emptied the box of cereal into the marshmallow. I added some natural red food coloring to make them pink (the color Duncan picked).
Empty bowl into greased pan and spread. Allow to cool. Cut into pieces and feed to children.
The cooling concoctions: