Pink Fluffy Marshmallows

Home-made marshmallows are a fun gift from the kitchen. Who doesn’t like marshmallows? Soft, fluffy, and airy, these marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make, and brought back childhood memories of buying a big bag of marshmallows and eating far too many. Gifts from the kitchen show you’ve put thought, time and effort into something, and if you’ve done it well, what you’ve produced can often be better than something store bought. However you feel about marshmallows, they are a lot of fun to make as a weekend cooking activity, to colour and to flavour, and, of course, to eat.

Marshmallow, as a food, is very similar in structure to nougat, and even boiled sweets, but with a couple of key differences. The basic process is the same: you start off with a sugar syrup, heat it up until the water concentration decreases to the level which will give you the texture you want, then cool it. But if you simply used a normal sugar syrup, you’d end up still with a dense nougat-like texture. So how do you get marshmallow nice and fluffy? Firstly, by the addition of gelatin. In nougat, the stabilising agent is the sugar syrup, creating sugar crystals, which also creates the dense texture. But with gelatin added, you get the desirable additional stability without the undesirable extra density. Secondly, the water content of the marshmallow mixture is much much higher. Right before you add the sugar syrup to the egg white, you add more water, a step which doesn’t happen making nougat. Water can absorb air and so become foamy, which is then stabilised with egg white, sugar, and gelatin, as well as reducing the density of the mixture. Overall, a light and very fluffy mix, but one that will still set solid.

Marshmallows are easy to flavour and colour as well. Once the basic mixture is made, you can add fruit purees (the pectin in the fruit will additionally help the marshmallow to set) and different food colourings. You can also split the mixture in half, finish each batch differently, then set them together to make ‘two-tone’ marshmallows. The sky is the limit. A fun morning’s cooking, and then a fun evening eating them.

Pink Fluffy Marshmallows

The recipe here is taken from The Home-Made Sweet Shop. As with nougat, an electric mixer is a must here- you just can’t incorporate the sugar syrup into the egg white quickly enough without one. Similarly, you’ll need a sugar thermometer, but these are inexpensive. This recipe will make a large baking tray’s worth, and should keep in the fridge for a few days.

50g icing sugar
50g cornflour
small amount olive oil for greasing
2 egg whites
400g caster sugar
15ml liquid glucose
375ml cold water
4tbsp powdered/12 sheets gelatin
5ml vanilla extract
12 drops pink food colouring

1. Prepare the baking tray. Grease the tray with some of the olive oil. Then sift together the icing sugar and cornflour, and sprinkle half of it on the greased baking tray. Shake around until evenly covered.
2. Prepare the syrup, eggs, and gelatin. In a heavy based pan, heat up the caster sugar, 185ml of the water, and the liquid glucose until at the hard ball stage (130°C), using a sugar thermometer to measure the temperature. Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in the rest of the cold water, and whip the egg white to firm peaks in an electric mixer.
3. Make the marshmallow. Right as the sugar reaches the hard ball stage, add the vanilla extract and gelatin and water mixture. With the electric mixer on high, slowly pour in the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Continue to beat the mixture once the sugar syrup is incorporated until the mixture becomes stiff (this will take around 10 minutes). Finally, add the food colouring, and mix until homogeneous.
4. Set the marshmallow. Pour the marshmallow onto the tray, and spread evenly. Leave to set (this will take around 6 hours), then dust with the rest of the icing sugar/cornflour mix. Cur up into pieces and serve.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Fourteen-Course Dinner Parties « oxfood
  2. Trackback: Cookbook Recommendations « oxfood

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