Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Great Marshmallow Debate

So, the other day I see this fantastic photo for Strawberry Marshmallows. One of those photos that make you just HAVE to try the recipe. Now, I have a pretty great marshmallow recipe that I have made a bazillion times and always turns out so I was not really enthusiastic at having a go at a new recipe. The tempting sound of strawberry in a marshmallow drew me in though. Funny thing is, the recipes are almost EXACTLY the same. Pretty much the only difference is the amount of time you boil the sugar. (and the fact that one has strawberries of course)
I have never had much luck with the whole boiling sugar thing. I tried once or twice and then gave up because the recipes I attempted never worked out. I was pretty confident I could get it to work this time.
Maybe a little too confident......

Strawberry Marshmallows

2 envelopes (about 2 Tbsp) gelatin
1/3 cup strawberry puree
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Coat this with a very thin layer of vegetable oil.
Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the puree with vanilla extract. Sprinkle with the gelatin and allow to soften.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, salt, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil with the lid on and without stirring. When it is at a boil, remove lid and continue to cook without stirring until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240F)
With the mixer at medium speed, pour tall of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. (Use a splash guard if you have one). When all the syrup is added, bring the mixture up to full speed and whip until mixture is fluffy and stiff about 8-10 minutes.
Pour marshmallow into the parchment lined pan and smooth with an oiled offset spatula if necessary. Allow to sit, uncovered at room temperature for 10-12 hours.
Everything seemed to go pretty well up to the “beating with a mixer” stage. The first 5 minutes were okay and then, instead of going puffy (like I’m used to with my recipe) the mixture turned to something resembling glue. It was sooooooooo sticky. The beaters would hardly turn. After 10 minutes (which was the time recommended by the recipe) I turned off the beaters (I used hand beaters because that is what I use for my recipe) and had THE WORST time trying to scrape it into the prepared pan. I got it everywhere. Seriously, I wish I had gotten photos of it. Thankfully hot water removed it from the counters, bowls, beaters, and me! I don’t know if this was because I did something wrong or if this is how it was supposed to be.... Maybe someone can tell me??
Over all the strawberry flavour was really nice. I don’t think I will be making it again though as my old standby marshmallow recipe is far easier and FAR more marshmallow-y. This strawberry one is more like candy (ie: a really soft laffy taffy) then it is a marshmallow, in my opinion.
Check out the pictures below of the two side by side. (I put them in the same pan and cut the servings sizes to 1 X 1 for both batches so, technically they are the same size. It is only the depth that is different...really, really different!)
If you want a fantastic marshmallow recipe then this next is one the one you want to try.

Marshmallows with Coconut
2 pkgs Gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup water
2 cups white sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 3 cups of toasted coconut
Prepare 8 inch square pan by spraying well with baking spray. Set aside. Mix the 2 packages of gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a saucepan bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add the 2 cups of sugar and bring to rolling boil. Pour boiling sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture. Add pinch of salt and vanilla. Whip with beaters for 20 minutes. Press whip into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or at least 8 hours. When thoroughly chilled, cut into squares with knife dipped in hot water. Roll squares in toasted coconut.
This recipe is really forgiving and always turns out for me. The only hard part is having to stand there beating it for 20 minutes and you can solve that problem if you have a Kitchenaid mixer. (I need to invest in one)
 I you are a brave baker, try both and let us know how you made out. I am going to try and figure out how to turn my coconut recipe into a strawberry recipe. I would like the strawberry flavour with the coconut poofiness. If you have had success with the strawberry recipe, please, please, please let me know. I would love to know where I went wrong!

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