I am not, by any means, ready for fall.
I'm only divulging this because, if you're like me, marshmallows conjure up images of blustery days with red and saffron-colored leaves blowing through the air, Simon & Garfunkel, and gloved hands clutching mugs of hot cocoa after an afternoon of playing soccer...okay, I'm kind of ready. So fall, call me maybe?
Homemade marshmallows are beyond divine. They're so much softer and sexier than their premade, Stepford wife-like cousins. Once you bite into one, you'll understand. Promise.
yields about 1 pound, which = a lot of marshmallows!
1 cup potato starch [Note: If you can't find potato starch use cornstarch instead.]
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets of unflavored gelatin
3 large, room temperature egg whites
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preparation: Line rimmed baking sheet (make sure the edges are at least 1-inch high) with parchment paper. Generously coat the paper with potato starch (or cornstarch, if using). Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water into a medium saucepan with the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, 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. (This should take about 10 minutes.)
While the syrup is cooking, prepare the gelatin. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons). Let it sit for 5 minutes, until spongy, then heat the mixture in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (If you prefer, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Prepare the egg whites: Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy. [Note: Do not over-beat the whites.]
Back to the syrup: 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 to the egg whites, pouring it between the spinning beater 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. Finally, beat in the vanilla extract.
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. 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 used a few heavy coffee mugs.)
Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They will need at least 3 hours to fully set.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. 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 into squares. As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. Once you have a few marshmallows in the bowl of starch, toss them around until they're evenly coated. Transfer the coated marshmallows to a serving bowl or cup of cocoa. Repeat with the remaining batch.
Storing: If stored in a cool, dry place, the cut and coated marshmallows should last for about a week. (Don't worry if they develop a light crust on the surface...the insides will still be soft and wonderful.)
Recipe source: Baking: From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan