Peppermint marshmallows are a refreshing yet sweet treat and delicious with a cup of hot chocolate. Top them with a sprinkle of crushed candy canes and present them in a box for a cute festive gift.
Makes about 45 x 2.5-cm/1-inch cubed marshmallows
Basic Vanilla Marshmallows (see below)
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
red food coloring (optional)
crushed candy canes, to decorate
Prepare the marshmallows according to the recipe for Basic Vanilla Marshmallows (see below), adding the peppermint extract with the vanilla extract in step 6.
Add 4 or 5 drops of red food coloring to the mixture (if using), before spreading the mixture in the pan. Using a spatula, mix in the red food coloring to create a swirl taking care not to stir the food coloring in completely. Pour the swirled mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Complete step 7 and when the marshmallows are set, top with crushed candy canes to decorate.
Basic Vanilla Marshmallows
Makes about 45 2.5-cm/1-inch cubed marshmallows
Although many cooks are intimidated by the idea of marshmallows, in reality they are incredibly simple to make. This recipe is easy to follow and the base for all the others in this book. Once you have mastered it, you will see just how easy it is to prepare endless delicious variations. However you choose to swirl, coat, dust or float your marshmallow, I promise you will enjoy it and become a regular marshmallow maker.
180 g /1 ½ cups icing/confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 30 g/¼ cup for dusting
60 g/½ cup cornflour/cornstarch
light vegetable oil, for greasing
240 ml/1 cup ice-cold water
3 tablespoons powdered gelatine
400 g/2 cups granulated sugar
120 ml/½ cup golden syrup/light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a 33 x 22 x 5 cm/13 x 9 x 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan
Step 1: In a large bowl, sift 180 g/1½ cups of the icing/confectioners’ sugar together with the cornflour/cornstarch and set aside.
Step 2: Oil the bottom and sides of the pan, wiping it down with the paper towels to remove any excess oil. Dust the bottom and sides of the baking pan liberally with the sifted icing/confectioners’ sugar and cornflour/cornstarch mixture.
Step 3: Pour half the water into a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the water. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Warm the granulated sugar, golden syrup/light corn syrup, remaining water and salt in a large saucepan set over low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and let boil for 10-12 minutes, or until a jam/candy thermometer reaches 116C/240F. (This is known as the soft ball stage.) Remove from the heat and pour in the gelatine mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the gelatine has dissolved.
Step 5: Use a hand-held mixer to beat the mixture on a high setting for 10 minutes, until thick, shiny, and tripled in size.
Step 6: Add the vanilla extract to the marshmallow mixture and mix until just combined, the pour into the greased and sugared pan, working as quickly as possible.
Step 7: Sift the remaining icing/confectioners’ sugar evenly over the top and let the marshmallows set at room temperature for a least 4 hours, and up to 1 day until firm.
Coat, cut, and decorate:
To cut marshmallows:
When the marshmallows are set in the pan, run a thin butter knife around the edges of the set marshmallows. Turn the pan over onto a cutting board. Lift one corner of the pan and ease the marshmallows out using your fingers. Trim the edges and cut into squares using a large knife, scissors or a pizza cutter coated in oil.
Sift the excess icing/confectioners’ sugar and cornflour/cornstarch mixture back into the empty baking pan and roll the individual marshmallows through it to cover. Shake off any excess icing/confectioners’ sugar and cornflour/cornstarch before serving or packaging the marshmallows.
Marshmallows can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. However, if you have a warm kitchen, refrigerating the marshmallows is recommended.
For mini marshmallows:
Use a piping bag to make pretty mini marshmallows. After preparing the marshmallow mixture in your chosen flavor, immediately put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe out your mini marshmallows. Leave to set.
To cover in chocolate:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and is smooth. (Milk chocolate and white chocolate melt quickly and will burn if not watched and stirred often.) Remove from the heat and let cool.
Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, work quickly dipping each marshmallow in the melted chocolate using a fork, to cover each marshmallow.
Excerpted from Mmm…Marshmallows by Carol Hilker
Ryland Peters and Small, $16.95; www.rylandpeters.com
Photo credit: Photography by Steve Painter