Around our house marshmallows are one of the favorite treats, at least as far as Aidan is concerned, and we even have a new family tradition of making homemade marshmallows during the holidays (for the last three seasons anyway). Since Aidan has had trouble with dairy in the past, marshmallows have been an ideal treat that is still special.I have now used three different recipes (Tyler Florence's, Alton Brown's, and Dorie's) and this one really is my favorite. The difficulty of the three is about even, but I really liked the taste of this one better, which could have just been because I probably had better ingredients on-hand (NM Vanilla, Lindt 70% Chocolate). Either way, because this one was user friendly and in my book, it will be the go-to recipe from now on (although I noticed that the recipe doesn't ever tell you what to do with the extra 1 Tbsp of sugar - I just added it to the egg whites while whipping).
For my marshmallows I decided to give them a "split personality" and split the batch into dark chocolate and white chocolate. I just followed Dorie's "Playing Around" instructions for the measurements for the chocolate version in the side column. I didn't bother to decrease the amount of vanilla though. I halved the amount of dark chocolate and cocoa and added that to half the batch and added about 1.5 ounces of melted white chocolate to the other half.
Then I added each half to a big zip-top plastic bag and cut a tip off the corner to use them as disposable piping bags. I then piped two alternating strips of flavor onto plastic wrap that I sprayed with some Bakers Joy (or you could just grease and sprinkle with the cornstarch). Then I rolled them into logs. The white spread a little more than the dark chocolate so, I didn't get the quartered effect I was looking for, but they are still pretty and they taste great, so, I'm over it (sort of). Anyway, the lame little "diagram" below is what I hoped it would turn out like, but it ended up being more like an inkblot test).
petroglyph or maybe a brown crocodile, or if I get really weird and look at both colors instead of just the brown, I guess it could be two hands shaking, looking from above - yeah, its getting late, I should go to sleep now).
(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours")
(Instructions shown are for how I made the two-tone marshmallows)
About 1 cup potato starch or corn starch (I used a mixture of cornstarch and confectioners' sugar - about 50/50)
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 - 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 ounces white chocolate, melted
Lay out two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface and spray lightly but thoroughly with non-stick spray and sprinkle with a even layer (thin) of the cornstarch/confectioners' sugar mixture. If you use a spray like Baker's Joy you can skip the cornstarch/confectioners' sugar until later.
Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup - without stirring - until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
Working the in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and 1 tablespoon sugar on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy - don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
In two small heatproof bowls, melt each type of chocolate (separately) over a small saucepan of simmering water. To the bittersweet chocolate, add the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Keep both types of chocolate warm. (Alternatively, if you have a microwave that can gently melt chocolate, use that and keep the chocolate warm for right when you are ready to add it to the meringue).
Using a large rubber spatula, scrape approximately half of the meringue mixture into a separate clean bowl and fold in the melted bittersweet chocolate and cocoa mixture. Using another clean large rubber spatula, fold the melted white chocolate into the remaining vanilla batter.
Spoon each mixture into separate large plastic zip-top bags and snip a small portion of one corner of the bottom of the bag off to use the bags as disposable piping bags. Pipe a long thick line of each color next to each other (touching) on each piece of the plastic wrap, then pipe the opposite color onto the top of each line (like a checkerboard effect). Pull the sides of the plastic up on each side of the marshmallow "log" and wrap tightly to try to form a roll. If possible, slip each wrapped log into the inside of an empty paper towel cardboard roll for holding while drying.
Allow the marshmallows to set for at least 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the cornstarch/confectioners' sugar mixture at hand and cut the marshmallows into the size you desire and drop each piece as it is cut into the bowl. Turn the marshmallows in the powder and coat on all sides. Toss the excess off by tossing each marshmallow gently from hand to hand. Transfer to a serving bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Make sure and check out my "celebratory" post about finally getting my copy of Dorie's book and some updates and reminders about the Art You Eat Event and Blogging for Babies. I've announced some of the prizes that will be given out among the top three "people's choices" for the Blogging for Babies event. I hope you can join in the fun!