Marshmallow Treats

Marshmallow Treats

Marshmallow Treats

For years I’ve thought about buying a candy thermometer but never quite got around to it. Sort of like joining a gym… a good idea in theory that just never seemed convenient. And now, somehow, I’m talking about gyms and candy at the same time, which probably is an analysis best left for another time.

Regardless, a few weeks ago I finally bought a candy thermometer so I could make English toffee and ever since it’s like a new world has opened up to me. I generally don’t like to make pastries because they’re too fussy, but candy is a different story.

The most difficult part is patience because the goal (usually) is to slowly heat the sugar mixture to a specific temperature. And the second hardest part is remembering not to touch it! It’s so tempting, but I always think back to my baking and pastry class where another student burnt her fingers really badly by touching hot sugar. {shiver}

Now that you’ve been adequately warned, it’s time to make these incredibly delectable, light and fluffy, ooey and gooey marshmallow treats.

I made the marshmallow treats for a New Years Eve party and had so much fun experimenting that I wound up with two different toppings: semisweet chocolate with crushed candy canes and peanut butter milk chocolate! The candy cane topping was the easiest because it only required one round of dipping, whereas the peanut butter milk chocolate was more time-consuming by first dipping the marshmallows in melted peanut butter, freezing, then dipping in melted milk chocolate.

Either way, both types of marshmallow treats were a huge hit, although I slightly favored the peanut butter version because it reminded me of a gooey Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. But you don’t have to dip them at all. These marshmallows would be fantastic toasted on their own or as s’mores, or even with hot chocolate.

Please make these, I beg you. It’s for your own good! You’ll be loved and worshipped by everyone who tastes them. And let me know how you top your marshmallow treats!

Here’s the recipe:

Marshmallow Treats, from Alton Brown, makes 45 to 50 pieces

Note: The marshmallows need at least a few hours to set and chill before slicing, so be sure to plan ahead and allow yourself enough time.

1 cup ice cold water, divided

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

Nonstick cooking spray

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Topping*

1 cup peanut butter

24 ounces semisweet milk chocolate chips

To make the marshmallows, begin by combining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a small saucepan. Set it over medium-high heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and let the sugar mixture cook without stirring until it reaches 240ºF or soft ball stage, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Prepare the gelatin and the pan for the marshmallows while the sugar is cooking. First, combine the gelatin with the remaining 1/2 cup cold water in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Let it sit for at least five minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Spray the bottom and sides of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, then dust evenly with half the powdered sugar mixture. Be sure to coat the sides and bottom of the dish to make it easier to remove the set marshmallows. Set the dish aside.

Once the sugar mixture has reached 240ºF, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the electric mixer on and run on the lowest setting. Carefully (remember the sugar is very hot) and slowly pour the cooked sugar over the gelatin with the mixer running. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is white and fluffy and holds it’s shape when the head of the mixer is lifted, about 13 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 1 minute.

Using a silicone spatula that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray, spread the marshmallow batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Once it is level (or as close to level as possible), top the marshmallows with the remaining powdered sugar mixture. At this point it may be easiest to press down on the topping with your hands to even out the batter, just be sure not to directly touch the marshmallows.

Refrigerate the marshmallows uncovered four hours up to overnight. To cut the marshmallows, remove the slab from the baking dish and set on a cutting board that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Use a pizza roller also dusted with powdered sugar to cut the marshmallows into squares and lightly dust the cut sides with the powdered sugar/corn starch mixture (there will be extra left in the pan).

Peanut butter and milk chocolate topping: Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside. Spoon the peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until runny, stirring between each interval. Using two spoons, drop a marshmallow into the peanut butter and toss to coat. Remove the marshmallow using the spoons and gently shake to remove excess peanut butter, then set the marshmallow on the prepared sheet tray. Repeat with remaining marshmallows. Freeze uncovered at least 2 hours or until solid.

Pour the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl (I like to melt the chocolate in small amounts because I find it’s easier to work with) and set it over a small pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted, then remove the bowl from the pot.

Working quickly, use two spoons to dip a frozen marshmallow into the melted chocolate being sure to get an even coating. Remove the marshmallow using the spoons and gently shake or tap on the sides of the bowl to remove excess. Place the covered marshmallow on the parchment paper and repeat until all the peanut butter marshmallows have been covered. Refrigerate uncovered until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours.

Store the marshmallow treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week.

*To make semisweet chocolate and crushed candy cane marshmallow treats: Crush two candy canes in a plastic bag using a heavy pot or rolling pin; set aside. Melt semisweet chocolate chips (about 24 ounces for the entire recipe) in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Use two spoons to dip the marshmallows one-at-a-time into the melted chocolate and shake gently over the bowl to remove excess. Set the dipped marshmallows on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the tops. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours.

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  • Kate posted: 05 Jan at 11:12 am

    These look fabulous and what great treats for Valentine’s Day with little heart sprinkles added. You talked me into it. I’m trying it!

  • Carol Penn-Romine posted: 05 Jan at 4:24 pm

    Groovy! I made bubblegum and egg nog flavored marshmallows for Christmas this year. I love watching people’s expression of wonder and delight when they bite into a homemade marshmallow for the first time.

  • Culinary School Dropout posted: 05 Jan at 4:35 pm

    These look really good! I have always wanted to make them from scratch, maybe now I’ll actually get around to it. And I remember that incident with the caramel in baking and pastry. I also remember the shrieking and sobbing.

  • oneshotbeyond posted: 05 Jan at 7:26 pm

    They look amazing and I know what you mean about the thermometer…it’s on my list!

  • dining tables posted: 07 Jan at 9:39 pm

    I never tried making my own marshmallows. I am kind of afraid with it. Hopefully, it won’t be a disaster.

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