When you think about marshmallows the last thing you think about is "all natural" especially if tiny artificially dyed lucky charms come to mind. Dear reader, what if I told you beautiful, vibrant homemade marshmallows are possible using natural flavourings and its not that hard to do?
I was craving a taste of summer so I whipped up a batch of these strawberry marshmallows to remind me of warmer sunnier days spent eating the fruit picked sun-warm from the garden. I found the inspiration in Shauna Sever's Marshmallow Book but I've made some tweaks.
Real Strawberry Marshmallows
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
1 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
Pulse the strawberries into a powder in a food process.
Sift the ingredients together in a large bowl.
I tend to make several cups’ worth at a time and store it in an airtight container; it keeps forever.
1/2 cup strawberry pureed in a food processor
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin (2 packets of Knox)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of homemade strawberry vanilla jam (optional)
The Hot Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup strawberry puree
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries, chopped up.
Lightly coat a 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Prepare the Bloom.
Whisk together the strawberry puree, jam, and water in a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in the gelatin and let it soften for 10 minutes. We call this allowing the gelatin to bloom.
Prepare the hot syrup
Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, strawberry puree, water, and salt in a large saucepan over high heat.
Boil until it reaches 240°F on your candy thermometer; while the syrup is cooking, use a rigid heatproof spatula to stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the syrup from burning.
This syrup has a tendency to boil up high in the pan, so be prepared to reduce the heat to prevent it from bubbling over.
Meanwhile, pour 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Microwave the gelatin (the bloom) on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the cold corn syrup in the mixer. Set the mixer to low and keep it running so it stays combined.
Back to the stove! When the hot syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl.
If any syrup has burned on the bottom of the pan, don’t fret—just don’t scrape any into the batter.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 to 7 more minutes, adding the vanilla in the last minute.
The finished marshmallow will be tripled in volume and should have stiff peaks.
Pour it into the prepared pan, using a lightly greased offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. I like to use olive oil because of it's neutral taste. Sift the coating generously over top. Let it set for at least 8 hours at room temperature.
Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut it into pieces and dip the sticky edges in more coating, patting off the excess.
Allow to absorb the coating for 4 hours, then package in cellophane bags and impress friends... coz who makes marshmallows? Well, you do... you rockstar ;)