Ever since I wrote about S’mores, a few weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about marshmallows.
We seem to have them in the house all the time. My younger daughter likes to freeze them and change the texture. I’ve been known to walk by the pantry and pop one in my mouth. And of course, they are standard fare for hot cocoa. We accept any excuse to put them into a recipe. I mean what would Thanksgiving be without sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow.
I was curious where these delicious little puffs come from. They were actually plant-based and used as medicine, by Egyptian royalty, to help with coughs, sore throats and wounds. If children these days knew that, can you imagine the illnesses they could come up with. In the 1800’s they discovered they could use gelatin to get the same fluffy gesture and it would cost less and use less manpower.
There are so many ways we use marshmallows all the time; s’mores, rice crisp treats, fluffernutter sandwiches, toppings for ice cream and yogurt and lots of holiday treats. A couple of years ago I shared with you how to make your own graham crackers and that was a big success. So today I thought we’d make our own marshmallows! I love that you can make a good old-fashioned white (vanilla) marshmallow or with a little creativity you can flavor them with so many fun flavors. I love chocolate or coffee flavoring but you can go to town with whatever your treat calls for or wherever your mind go.
They are actually very easy to make, but because of the setting time, you have to plan ahead. You need at least 8 hours for them to set, and you really need a good candy thermometer. The recipe given is for vanilla marshmallows, and I used two tablespoons of vanilla. If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup. I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.
If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that’s okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes – 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.
The best part is you can use a kitchen torch and make these toasty just on top or you can skewer them and make traditional scores. Just remember because they are coated in powdered sugar they will caramelize really fat and there is really no way of avoiding the almost burnt marshmallow look.