Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White....Homemade Marshmallow

Bear with me...I have been under the influence of white. I look, I touch, I taste. I like white. It is pure and plays with light, shadow and subtleties. It looks good with any color, and there is inspiration in it everywhere. Four years ago my daughter and I went to the Tate Modern Museum in London. She had recently graduated from college as an art major when I brought her on a long layover of mine in London. We spent an entire afternoon at the museum, where one of the more memorable exhibits was a temporary installation of Rachel Whiteread's "Embankment" of 14,000 white polyethylene boxes. It beckoned us from the beginning as it overwhelmed the museum's large Turbine Hall. During my fascination with all of this white, I was reminded of a play I saw years ago entitled "Art". It revolved around 3 friends, a solid white painting and the issues it brought to the surface. Then there was the photo that my daughter sent to me from Osaka, Japan of a restaurant interior constructed of white Legos. I like white on white quilts, white china, white linen, and who doesn't like snow angels....again, inspiration is everywhere. So was it any surprise when I made these pure white marshmallows, I had to play a little first? I looked, I touched, I tasted, I played. This is where I parted from the abstract. They ended up in my Hot Chocolate, dipped in dark bittersweet chocolate,then coated with toasted coconut. They are tasty half-dipped in plain chocolate, or just simply topped with coconut (OK, that is a variation on white!)I cut out hearts and stars and squares. The shapes were cut from a blank canvas of marshmallow and were works of art in their simple unadorned state. Add some chocolate and they looked and tasted like a cloud from chocolate heaven. A dream come true.

Dreamy Homemade Marshmallows

1 1/2 envelopes (3 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water, divided in half
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract*
powdered sugar for dusting
*Alternatively you may use another flavoring of your choice such as mint or almond. Substitute the vanilla for 1/2 teaspoon of mint or almond extract.

Oil the bottoms and sides of a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch glass loaf pan. Line with parchment paper by using 2 strips of parchment. Cut one for the lengthwise side and one for the width with a 2 inch overhang. Oil the bottom and sides of the parchment and dust with powdered sugar.

In a medium mixing bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water to soften. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg white until it forms stiff, but not dry peaks. Stir in vanilla.

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, pinch of salt and remaining 1/4 cup water.
Turn up the heat to medium high and boil without stirring, until the temperature reaches 238 ℉ on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and using a whisk attachment, beat into the gelatin mixture. Whisk on high until the mixture triples in volume or starts to become thick and harder to beat. Stir in beaten egg whites until thoroughly mixed and light and fluffy. Using an oiled spatula, turn the mixture out into the prepared pan. You won't be able to scrape the bowl clean, as the mixture is too sticky. Give the pan a quick tap to get out air bubbles and sift a light coating of powdered sugar on top. Let sit uncovered at room temperature for 3 hours or until firm.

Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift out of the pan. Dust with sifted powdered sugar. Place on a cutting board or mat and
using an oiled knife cut into 32-1 inch squares, by cutting the shorter side into 4 slices and the longer side into 8 slices. To make other shapes, cut out using oiled cookie cutters or ones dipped in powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Makes 32-1 inch marshmallows.

Notes: Keep a close eye on the temperature of the boiling sugar mixture so it doesn't go beyond soft ball stage. Oil and powdered sugar are your friends when making marshmallows. They keep things from sticking to each other. Using a whisk attachment can be the difference between success and a mess. When I used my beaters and mixed it a little too long, the sticky mixture worked its way up beyond the beaters and created a mess where the beaters are inserted into the mixer. Each day they are stored, the texture of the marshmallows change. Fresher is better.

To dip in chocolate:
Melt chocolate (bittersweet, semi or milk--your choice) in a bowl and dip in half way, using a skewer or your fingers. If dipping the top into toasted coconut or any other topping, dip into it while the chocolate is still soft and melted.
To toast coconut:Evenly spread desired amount of shredded, sweetened coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350℉ a few minutes until just golden. Keep an eye on it since it only takes a few minutes, and stir to make sure it browns evenly. It should be light with a crunch and not at all chewy.

To top marshmallows with toasted coconut, moisten the marshmallow with water where the coconut will be put and lightly press on the coconut. Let dry.

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La Table De Nana said...

Your daughter is so pretty:)

Love the white theme.. I enjoyed making marshmallows..but you went to the front of the line..So beautiful..Of course I love the hearts..too cute!I wonder if this is the recipe I used? My grandsons LOVE marshmallows..

linda said...

white... so festive…so sophisticated…so refreshing & so delicious!

how wonderful…the white marshmallow hearts!

& how creative…that white lego constructed restaurant!

i love white on white china as well…& i know you do as i remember your post that included french white china!

Jun said...

Wow, all the photos are so beautiful! You make making marshmallow sounds so easy, I have to try this!

Anonymous said...

and they taste as good as they look.....

Anna said...

I recently made marshmallows for the first time. So fun! I love the cookie cutter shape idea.

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Those look delicious! Perfect for little co-workers presents perhaps :)

Chocolate Freckles said...

I was desperately searching for this recipe!!!!!!! Yay!! Thanks for sharing!

2 Stews said...

Monique...Thank you, the pic of my daughter was 4 years ago. She now teaches university!

I thought it would be fun for the kids to have a fondue of warm chocolate with marshmallows to dip in, and then roll with other deliciousness. Sounds like good adult fun, too!

Linda...I couldn't help making marshmallow hearts. It was a little like using Play Dough. A blast from the past.

Somehow I knew you'd love white, too.

Jun...they are sooo easy to make...IF, you avoid the pitfalls of the stickiness.

Anonymous...glad you liked them!

Anna...the cutting with the cookie cutter was a little more time consuming and you have scraps, but somehow my scraps disappeared!!

Pretty. Good. Food...Yes, they make wonderful little gift treats!

Chocolate Freckles...Glad to have serendipitously helped :-) I'd love to know how yours turned out.

Thanks for visiting, All. Happy Holidays!!


Samantha said...

Hi Diane,

The other Sam, here! I can attest that your daughter is quite pretty and wonderful :)

Thanks for the fabulous recipe - I'll be making these tomorrow for holiday gifts. Have a wonderful season!

Samantha F.

Cathleen said...

Never even thought of making my own marshmallows. What a great idea. Must try this out sometime, it looks scrumptious!