Meet the family (Marshmallows)

Vanilla Marshmallows cut French Style

Hello, and welcome to my family.

Cast of characters:
Dad: A wickedly funny man of indiscriminate age who cares deeply for his children, raises zucchinis the size of  small ponies and rides his bicycle hundreds of miles.
Mom: A sometimes odd but always lovable woman, also of indiscriminate age, who is the best teacher ever put on this earth, rides a tandem bicycle with Dad and despairs at the literal zoo her life has become.
T: The author of this blog.
Brother: The 21 year old brother whose pastimes include pyromania, film making and eating Lucky Charms. Has yet to be kicked out of Yale.
Sister: The 20 year old sister who puts all the other siblings to shame with her work ethic and accomplishments, and who also does the best dog/salmon impersonation of anyone in the family. Undoubtedly the prettiest family member.
Younger Brother: The 16 year old brother who mostly laughs at the rest of the family. Cares for the chickens and writes novels, comic books and movie trailers. Also ends up in the ER regularly.

Brother: T, that’s not funny. It’s just embarrassing when you crack yourself up like that.

T: My eyeball hurts.
Brother: Sorry. I shouldn’t have thrown that eraser in your eyeball.
Mom: What is wrong with you two?

Mom: My children are morons.
Friend: Why is there an alpaca in the chicken coop?

T: I have a donkey face.
Dad: You do not! Your ears are too small.

Brother: Why are you so dumb?
Mom: Because I’m your mom.
Brother: That doesn’t make any sense, because I’m smart. I go to Yale.

Mom: I am a retired mom now. I am going to sing!

Brother: Mom, make T go away. I mean, T, make Mom go away. Please! Make her leave me alone! Mom, I’m going to tickle your knees. Mom, have some decorum, please.

T: I’m going to smack you.
Brother: Don’t!
T: Why not?
Brother: Ok, I’m ready.

Brother: Who let you out of the pantry?
Sister: The gnome who has a crush on me.
Brother: That is just not a believable story. The gnome would never have a crush on you.

Which lead to this scenario:

T: I’m going to make marshmallows.
Brother: Why? You can buy them at the store and I bet the ones you make are terrible. Ew. Yuck. You will never make ones as good as the store-bought kind. They will be a travesty.
T: What if they’re good?
Brother: I win either way. Either I was right, and they were terrible, or they’re good, and I eat them.
Sister: That seems like a lot of work. Why are you doing that? It’ll be all sticky.
Mom: You’re doing what?
Younger Brother: EW!
Dad: Hmm. OK, that sounds interesting. I thought we should do that this Christmas.
T: Seriously, Dad? Where did you come up with that idea?
Dad: Well, you came up with it, too.
T: *stumped*

Fast Forward Three Hours.

Brother: HEY! These marshmallows are great!
T: Yet you doubted me.
Brother: But I still won!
Sister: You actually made marshmallows?
Mom: These marshmallows taste like…marshamallows.
Dad: That was fun. Let’s do it again.
Younger Brother: *no comment. mouth full of marshmallow*
T: Hey, I bet I could use cookie cutters to make round ones to fit perfectly on top of a mug of hot cocoa like a lid.
Brother: Get to it!

Sometimes, they just don’t appreciate me.

Homemade Marshmallows
So, basically, these are marshmallows. Sweet, vanilla-scented, pillowy marshmallows. I cut some of them as long rectangles, French-candy style, and the rest as small squares, like the marshmallows you traditionally buy in the store, and they were all gone in two days.

I’ve made almost no changes to Dorie Greenspan’s recipe – the only thing I did alter was the amount of vanilla. The extract I had at home was particularly pungent, so I cut it back to a teaspoon and that was more than enough. 

Marshmallows
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Makes about a pound. Allow 30 minutes activity, 4 hours total. 

1 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold water
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a baking sheet with a 1 inch rim with parchment paper and dust generously with cornstarch.

Add 1/3 cup of the cold water, the sugar and the corn syrup to a saucepan, attach a candy thermometer and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil without stirring until the syrup reaches 265F, which takes about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining water (7 tablespoons) in a microwave safe bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until spongy. Microwave for 20 or so seconds to liquefy it.

In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks but are still glossy. As soon as the syrup reaches 265F, remove it from the heat and pour it in a slow, steady stream over the egg whites, beating all the while. Add in the gelatin and continue to beat for three minutes, until the mixture is fully mixed. Beat in the vanilla.

Scrape the marshmallow mixture onto the baking sheet, starting at one end, and smoothing it towards the other end, keeping it at the one inch height. There will not be enough to fill the pan; fold up the excess paper and prop it against the marshmallow mixture to keep the batter at a one inch height. Use something to keep the paper in place; mugs or small bowls work well.

Allow the marshmallows to dry for 3 to 12 hours. When they have set, cut them using a long, thin knife or a pair of kitchen shears. Dusting the blades with cornstarch will help keep the marshmallows from sticking to the knife or shears, but it will also need to be rinsed and dried several times during the cutting process.  Drop the cut marshmallows into a bowl of the remaining cornstarch and toss well to coat all sides, then knock off the excess powder.

Cover the marshmallows and keep them in a cool, dry place for up to one week.

You are reading this post on Have Kitchen, Will Feed at http://havekitchenwillfeed.blogspot.com. Excerpts, photos and links may be used with prior written authorization, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and/or owner of Have Kitchen, Will Feed. All rights reserved by Taryn Clark.
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