GETTING LAID WITH FOOD: Seduce Whomever You Damn Well Please with Homemade, Artisanal Marshmallows

We all know by now that the easiest way to wow and seduce is to whip up something people never fathomed one could make.

Jan 23, 2014 at 6:00pm | Leave a comment

Hello everyone and welcome to the next installment of How to Impress the Pants off Someone with Your Domestic Prowess. We all know by now that the easiest way to wow and seduce is to whip up something people never fathomed one could make. Basics. Staples such as decadent cheese and sexy condiments.
 
While today’s subject isn’t a staple per say, it definitely falls into the category of “I would never even think to make that.”
 
Today’s project is marshmallows, fancy marshmallows to be exact. My sources tell me this is the next big food craze, and I've got you covered. Just be careful who you give them to, as the conversation will go like this:
 
You: Here. Have a homemade marshmallow.
 
Target: Wha…I didn’t realize. I didn’t know. How?
 
You: [shoving the plate in their general vicinity] Just take one.
 
Target: Oh. My. They look like marshmallows!
 
You: They are marshmallows.
 
Target: [tentative bite] These taste like marshmallows! 
 
You: That’s because they are marshmallows.
 
Target: Except they’re fluffier!
 
You: Mmhm.
 
Target: Wanna bone?
 
Don’t be terrified. I’d never made them before either, but as long as you are in possession of a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, you’ll have a hard time going wrong, unless you space out and let your sugar boil over, which I may have done. Learn from my mistakes.
 
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A CAUTIONARY TALE

 
But first you need a good basic marshmallow recipe. I was prepared to try out dozens of recipes for you guys, but the very first recipe I found ended up being perfect. If you follow the instructions at theKitchn, you will end up with perfect marshmallows. Seriously. Light and fluffy delicious marshmallows.
 
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So fluffy!

 
Once I realized that marshmallows could be whipped up in under half an hour, my mind started to go wild with possible flavor combinations. I settled with a maple-whiskey marshmallow and a fresh ginger marshmallow and adapted the recipe from theKitchn to fit my needs.
 
I’ll walk you through basic recipe first (I made very slight modifications), but then we’re going to get crazy.
 
Basic Vanilla Marshmallows:
 
For the gelatin bloom:
  • 3 tablespoons (typically 3 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
 
For the marshmallows:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar cane syrup or corn syrup
  • Pinch kosher salt
 
For the marshmallow coating:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
 
Instructions:
 
1. Make your marshmallow coating by combining the powdered sugar and cornstarch with a whisk or fork.
 
2. Combine your vanilla and cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the gelatin on top while gently stirring with a fork. The gelatin will slowly thicken. Continue to stir until it attains the consistency of applesauce.
 
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3. Spray a rectangular (or any other shape, really) metal pan or glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or wipe with an oil soaked paper towel. Sift your marshmallow coating into your pan or dish to fully coat.
 
4. Pour all of your marshmallow ingredients into a saucepan (I used a 2-quart pot, but 4-quart is preferable so as to prevent boil-over). DO NOT STIR. Clip a candy thermometer to the side (or just prop it up somehow so it doesn’t move around) and bring your ingredients to a boil NEVER STIRRING. I partially covered my pot with its lid so the steam would collect and wash the sides of the pot. This prevents crystallization on the sides but it may also lead to everything boiling over. So, pick your battles. Continue to boil (WATCHING CAREFULLY) until the mixture reaches 250F.
 
5. Turn your stand mixer on low and SLOWLY pour your boiling sugar mixture (please be careful) down the sides of the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel or mink stole or whatever (to prevent splashes) and rev it up to 11 (my Kitchenaid only goes to 10).
 
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Protect yourself with a radish towel.

 
6. Let it go for ten minutes. You will notice around five minutes that HEY THIS LOOKS LIKE MARSHMALLOW but keep mixing. You want the mixture to be stiff and shiny.
 
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It should look like this.

 
7. Once 10 minutes is up, you must work very quickly to get the marshmallow into the pan because it will start curing fairly quickly. Don’t try to smooth the top out. This is a mission doomed from its inception. You will end up tangled in a sugary web that you spun with your own hands. Just scrape it out as quick as you can and smear it around the pan.
 
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Is this the life you want for yourself???

 
8. Let them set for 8-24 hrs and then carefully turn them out onto a surface that you have coated with your cornstarch/powder sugar mixture. Cut into squares with kitchen shears. Drag these squares through your coating mixture and MAGIC! YOU MADE MARSHMALLOWS, YOU CULINARY GODDESS (OR GOD)!
 
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Impressive. Most impressive.

 
Just in time for Valentine’s Day (actually you’re kind of early, but you’re PREPARED. No drugstore heart-shaped box of Hershey Pot-O-Gold for your Valentine!)
 
Let’s get spicy.
 
Fresh Ginger Marshmallows
 
I’m going to tell you a not entirely topical story about Claire and ginger.
 
Several New Year’s Eves ago, I found myself in St. Augustine, extremely drunk and inside a historical graveyard. I was quickly coaxed out of the graveyard, but on the carriage ride back to the B&B I stole the poor driver’s hat and threw up rock hands at every single passerby I laid eyes on.
 
My point is: I was very hungover New Year’s Day.
 
The innkeeper woke us by BANGING out a tune on the baby grand outside our room, and as he sat the gingerbread pancake in front of me he whispered “Ginger has medicinal properties.” His face was super smug, too.
 
I would like to tell you that those pancakes and the magical ginger contained within them soothed my stomach and cured my hangover, but they didn’t (I think I threw them up and watched a "Star Trek" marathon). They were, however, quite delicious, and I have been in love with ginger ever since.
 
Ginger marshmallows are super easy to make because all you have to do is add grated ginger (I used a two-inch piece, peeled first) to your marshmallow ingredients before you start boiling.
 
A WORD OF CAUTION: The ginger causes your sugar mixture to foam like crazy. I had to transfer mine to a bigger pot because it kept trying to boil over on the simmer setting of my stove. THE SIMMER SETTING. So yeah, use a 4-quart pot at least.
 
The only other thing I tweaked here is the vanilla. I only used a tablespoon as I wanted ginger to be the dominant flavor.
 
Other than those two details, I proceeded exactly the same as above until it came time to spread the mixture in the pan. 
 
I could not find my glass baking dish. I knew I had just seen it. Where the eff was my glass baking dish? Oh. It was in the fridge. With baked ziti in it.
 
NO MATTER. You can also just scoop marshmallow blobs onto a cookie sheet (that has been lined with parchment paper, oiled, and coated with your marshmallow coating). This may sound easier than spreading it in a pan, but it is not. As I mentioned earlier, this stuff is very sticky and you just end up with marshmallow strings everywhere. I eventually got frustrated and just made one giant blob in a glass pie pan.
 
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Looks easier than it is.

 
These were really good. A good amount of ginger flavor which really tempers all that sugar, though the ginger pieces weren't exactly evenly distributed. I don't think that matters.
 
Let's get saucy.
 
Maple Whiskey Marshmallows
 
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AM I A FOOD BLOGGER YET?

 
You will need:
 
 For the gelatin bloom:
  • 3 tablespoons (typically 3 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
 
For the marshmallows:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sugar cane syrup or corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used Grade B)
  • A shot of whiskey (I like bourbon or rye)
  • Pinch kosher salt
 
For the marshmallow coating:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

The instructions are basically the same as the first recipe. The only difference is that five minutes into whipping your marshmallow batter, you dump a shot of whiskey in. I recommend taking a shot as well. No one likes to drink alone. Not even kitchen appliances.

You will notice that your marshmallow batter will not be as stiff as it was in the other two recipes. This really freaked me out. Even after ten minutes of hardcore whipping, the batter was still liquidy. I thought all was lost but decided to pour it into my baking dish anyway, and I'm really glad I did, because DAYUM.

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This one pours really well.

These marshmallows were super excellent. They were a little denser than the first two, but the whiskey flavor was PRESENT and ready for action. I would love to try these in spiked hot chocolate. If you're not planning to share, you could just leave it as one big marshmallow.

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It's basically an edible pillow.

If you do decide to share, I think they would make excellent gifts.

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Who wouldn't want this?

I'm really excited about marshmallows now. Think of all the flavor combinations! You could use cold coffee instead of water when you make your syrup! You could grate a little citrus zest in there! TEQUILA LIME MARSHMALLOWS.

Hit Claire up on Twitter to talk about marshmallows (@clairelizzie) or follow her on Instagram (@clairelizlower) for pics of marshmallows and other things.