Homemade Marshmallows

A couple of summers ago I made a batch of homemade marshmallows that were really quite tasty, but the texture wasn't what I had been hoping for. They had been incredibly soft, delicious but soft. I had been hoping to be able to roast them over the campfire for a s'more, but there was not way they were going to not immediately melt off the stick and into the fire. But recently I've been wanting to try them again. Not because I'm a marshmallow fanatic, but just because I thought it would be kind of fun to try again. Since it was Christmas I thought that they would also make a fun gift, alongside my favorite homemade hot chocolate mix. A couple of soft and creamy homemade marshmallows floating on top of a mug of rich, decadent hot chocolate sounded divine. 

I searched around for a recipe that sounded good to me and settled on this one from King Arthur Flour. The recipe stated that these marshmallows were more on the 'stiffer' side which was exactly what I was looking for. So I whipped a batch together and was extremely pleased as to how they turned out, stiff, yet still creamy and soft, just not oozingly soft which I did not want. They were exactly what I was looking for. And I have to admit, I did try some of the leftovers in a mug of hot chocolate, for quality control of course, and it was an outstanding combination. With a recipe like this, I may have to make marshmallows more often. 

This recipe really couldn't be easier. It does require a candy thermometer and an electric mixer, but all the steps are very simple. I'm definitely not a candy maker, and they still turned out great. You will also need a package of unflavored gelatin, not something I normally have lying around, but easy enough to get your hands on. Other than that all you need is some sugars; granulated sugar and light corn syrup. Throw in whatever flavor you want after that (I stuck with straight vanilla for a classic taste, but I think some peppermint extract would be wonderful). That's it. Heat it up, mix it together and let it cool. Then you can cut it into whatever size or shape you want. A fun project for the holidays, or really any time of year!

Homemade Marshmallows 

From 

King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 3 packages (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, to sprinkle on top

Directions

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 3 to 10 minutes (depending on the mixer and attachment you use; a stand mixer using the whisk attachment will work more quickly than a hand mixer equipped with beaters). The mixture should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers, about 95°F. Add vanilla towards the end of the mixing time.

Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Yield: about 100 1" squares.

Oven S'mores

It's been a little while since I've posted, but that is because I've been having fun vacationing. After spending some time up in Traverse City, I had a week off and then it was off to Grand Haven for a week of camping. My family and I have been doing this for about 15 years now, and it has been a great tradition. I love having nothing to do for a week except read a good book, lay on the beach, and eat good food over a campfire. With camping still on my mind, I thought I'd share these homemade oven s'mores. They're more of an idea than an actual recipe, but regardless, they are delicious. If you don't have the ability, or the time, or the inclination to start a fire, but you are still craving a good ole s'more, these will definitely hit the spot.

I've always liked eating s'mores while camping, but I have to admit that they have never been my favorite. The only reason I would make them is because they are fun to make and eat, and it's just what you do when camping. After discovering the joy that is a homemade graham crackers however, my thoughts about s'mores changed. I knew that they would make the absolute best s'mores ever, and I was sure right. Even when just using an oven instead of a campfire, these s'mores were lightyears ahead of their store-bought counterparts.

All you have to do for these mind blowing s'mores is to lay out 2 graham crackers upside down on a cookie sheet. Top one of them with a bit of marshmallow, and the other with some chocolate chips. Stick them under the broiler for a few minutes until the marshmallows poof up and turn a beautiful caramel color. Make sure to keep an eye on them when they are in the oven, because marshmallows can go up in flames rather quickly.

As soon as they come out of the oven, take both graham crackers and smoosh them together nice and tightly. Then just set them back on the cookie sheet and let them cool a bit. As they cool they will stick together nicely and make it easy to transport and eat these little yummies. At this point the s'mores are ready to eat. But I went a step further of course and decided to add a bit more chocolate. I just melted down some chocolate chips and dipped one end of each s'more in the chocolate. This extra bit of chocolate was probably my favorite part of the whole thing, I would highly recommend this extra step.

This is all there is too it, nothing too difficult. If you don't have any homemade graham crackers, store bought would also work fine. These little desserts are just a fun way to make sure you get your sugar for the day. Cute and also delicious.

And don't worry, when camping this week I got to make a s'more over the campfire on a homemade graham cracker. It was... To. Die. For. I want to go back to Grand Haven just for the s'mores!

Lay everything out

Ready for the oven

Mmmm...

Toasty!

Squeeze it all together 

And top it all off with some extra chocolate

Grab a napkin and dig in!