Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tweaking Alton's Recipe for Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows, Hansen style

With both Archer & Jerry allergic to corn, storebought marshmallows have been on the no-can-do list for ages...no matter how many times we re-check the ingredients list on the packages, corn syrup is still on that darned list!

I've gotten pretty good at re-creating tasty bites while avoiding the multiple food allergens in this house, so I decided to take matters into my own hands last year, and found Alton Brown's recipe for Homemade Marshmallows here.

I printed it out, and went to work on the substitutions. First, I substituted brown rice syrup for the light corn syrup, then I used tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. Standard confectioner's sugar is made with corn starch, so I made my own powdered sugar by blending it in my blender. And while I was at it, I tripled the amount of vanilla extract Alton called for. The results? Delicious - and well worth the effort. The taste of a freshly made marshmallow is divine - not at all like the ones you get at the store.

Wanna give it a shot yourself? Here's how I did it:

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided in half
12 ounces granulated sugar (I used evaporated cane juice, which is less processed than white sugar)
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner's/powdered sugar (try making your own - put about 1/2 cup of sugar/evaporated cane juice in your blender and blend until it's powdery. voila!)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (our local Asian grocery stores carry this)
non-stick cooking spray

Place whisk attachment on stand mixer. Place gelatin into bowl of stand mixer with 1/2 cup of the water.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup of water, granulated sugar, brown rice syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover pan, clip candy thermometer onto side of pan and continue to cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees F, about 7-8 minutes. Once mixture reaches 240 degrees, immediately remove from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly pour sugar syrup down the side of the bown into the gelatin mixture. Once you've added all of the syrup, increase mixer speed to high. Continue whipping mixture until it becomes very thick and is lukewarm, about 12-15 minutes. Add vanilla during last minute of whipping. While mixture is whipping, prepare pan as follows:

For miniature marshmallows:
Combine powdered sugar and tapioca starch in a small bowl. Lightly spray bottom and sides of a half-sheet pan/jelly roll pan with the nonstick spray. Add sugar/tapioca starch mixture and move around to coat bottom and sides of pan. Return extra sugar/tapioca starch mixture to small bowl and reserve for later use.

When the whipped mixture is ready, pour it into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading the mixture evenly. Dust the top of the whipped mixture with enough of the powdered sugar/tapioca starch mixture to lightly cover, saving the rest of the powdered sugar/tapioca starch mixture for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch squares using a pizza wheel. Lightly toss cut marshmallows with remaining powdered sugar/tapioca starch mixture. These will keep covered, at room temperature, for about a week. <--they NEVER last that long at our house!

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