I know a little about topsy-turveydom at my house right now, as the wind sweeps through and blows the dust around. But the task at hand was anything but chaotic, in fact, these marshmallows were the simplest specimens of their kind that I've ever made. As I sifted the potato-starch-and-confectioners-sugar coating over them, I felt the quiet satisfaction of the snow globe, the mastering of my tiny universe.
Quirk Books sent me over a copy of Marshmallow Madness, by Shauna Sever, to review over a month ago (thanks). Last night, in a bit of a haze, I finally tried it out. The book is essentially a series of flavor variations on one or two basic recipes. Unlike some marshmallow recipes, there are no egg whites, and the base recipe relies almost entirely on sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. For my 'mallows, I adapted Sever's maple-bacon recipe. Lacking bacon, I substituted cacao nibs for a more austere crunch.
The photo above is one of the first from my new iphone (yay), and while it obviously has room for improvement, I'm very excited to have my own photo apparatus again instead of relying on others for my documentation.
I love marshmallows, but even I found myself a little daunted by possession of a whole tin of home made (and thus more perishable) ones. I feel like, on the whole, this is less of a baking project for a casual Thursday night, and more one for when you have to impress someone or amuse a child (or impress an amused child). I will, however, be making cocoa tonight.
Maple Bacon Marshmallows
from Marshmallow Madness
makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2 inch marshmallows
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grade A dark or Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped candied bacon*
1/2 cup Classic Coating**
(Before anything, check all your equipment, especially your candy thermometer, and make the Candied Bacon and the Classic Coating. Then you can get started.)
Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a bowl and let soften.
Stir together the sugar, ample syrup, corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it hits 240 degrees F. (Be prepared to lower the heat as need -- this syrup has a tendency to bubble up.) Microwave the gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set the mixer to low and keep it running till you're ready to add the syrup.
When the syrup has reached 240 degrees F., slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium high and beat for 3 more minutes. Add the cinnamon, increase to the highest speed. and beat for 1 minute more. Quickly fold in the bacon bits. Pour into the prepared pan. Sift coating over top. Let it set in a cool dry place for 6 hours.
Use a knife to loosed the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a work surface. Cut into piece and dust again with more coating. Eat 'em up!
*To make candied bacon, lay 6 or 7 slices on a wire rack set over a sheet pan lined with foil. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Rub over both sides of bacon. Bake at 350 degrees F until deeply caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before chopping into bits.
**Classic Coating: Sift 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar with 1 cup corn or potato starch. (Store extra tightly covered.)