So, here it is – my very first Tuesdays with Dorie post. Pretty darn exciting, if you ask me. I’ve really been itching to join for weeks now, but for whatever reason I haven’t until now. I was super nervous about this week’s recipe, being that its my first ‘TWD’ post, and I wanted to “make a good impression”, so to speak, but also because its MARSHMALLOWS! For the love of Pete- marshmallows? For a girl who likes to make cute little cookies, easy-peasy brownies and cakes, and the occasional flan, tart, or other “slightly-more-challenging” dessert, marshmallows are like……….woah.
Now, for those of you who are wondering, “what the heck is Tuesdays with Dorie?!” – its a group of people (mostly women) who love to bake and love Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours. Every week, a member of the group chooses one of Dorie’s (amazing) recipes for the group to make; then everyone makes the recipe and posts it in their cooking blog on Tuesdays. Sorry if I’ve just confused you….just go to the website if you still need more answers. tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/
I’m not sure why I imagined marshmallows were so difficult to make – aside from being slightly tedious, they turned out to be fairly easy. I know a few people had encountered some problems with the marshmallows separating, or the egg whites deflating; I didn’t seem to have either of these issues – I guess I just got lucky this time around. I read a lot of the comments on the Tuesdays with Dorie website, which gave me a few helpful tips (like what to do with the extra tablespoon of sugar). So all-in-all, I’d say my first shot at marshmallows turned out to be a success!
So many people made so many great “tweaks” and personal touches to the recipe – to see everyone’s results, go here. Since I wasn’t totally familiar with this recipe, I decided to keep it simple and not do anything fancy to mine. The only adjustment I made was substituting half of the vanilla with coconut extract – just for a little extra flavor. Just a tip – these are pretty tasty in a s’more!
(any changes I made are in Italics)
Makes about 1 pound marshmallows
About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet — choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high (I used a 9×13 pan so my marshmallows would be nice and tall) — with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup — without stirring — until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. (I didn’t have a candy thermometer and wasn’t interested in buying one – so I just did without. I just let the syrup cook for about 7-10 minutes, and it turned out fine)
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy — don’t overbeat them and have them go dull. (This is where I added the extra tablespoon of sugar that wasn’t ever called for in the original cooking directions)
As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan (unless you use a 9×13 like I did, then you will indeed fill the pan). Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife (I used a pizza cutter – it worked beautifully). Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like — into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.