I made homemade marshmallows for the first time this fall from a recipe I got from Bon Appetit written by Molly Wizenberg, of the fabulous blog Orangette. I was surprised at how truly easy they are to make. And though I enjoy a good Jet-Puffed marshmallow, these treats will make you wonder if they are even in the same recipe family. Homemade marshmallows are so light- and they melt in your mouth- and are so light... I decided to experiment a bit with the original recipe and add coconut. These turned out so well that they made it into the holiday goodie boxes and a spot on the "for years to come" list.
I also made a batch of the original marshmallows and added 1/2 teaspoon of good peppermint extract. I wanted them to look like the peppermint marshmallows you can buy at fancy grocery stores. Those don't seem to actually have swirls of colored marshmallow, just a swirl of very dark red right on top. So, after I put the marshmallow mixture in the pan, I dipped a toothpick in some red food coloring gel and dragged the toothpick in a pattern across the surface. It turned out pretty well, I think, though I'm curious if there any tricks anyone knows of, because it wasn't exactly easy, and it disrupted the surface of the marshmallow a little too much for me. Still, they were pretty and very tasty in a cup of hot cocoa.
Based on the recipe from Bon Appétit July 2008 by Molly Wizenberg
These can be layered between sheets of parchment and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
7oz package flaked coconut
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup cold water, divided
3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup potato starch*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Spread flaked coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil.
Coat foil lightly with nonstick spray. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.
Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over mediumlow heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240°F, about 8 minutes.
With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down side of bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and beat to blend, about 30 seconds longer.
Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with wet spatula. Sprinkle the toasted coconut evenly across the surface of the marshmallow. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.
Stir potato starch and powdered sugar in small bowl to blend. Sift light dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13x9 inches. Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab. Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with nonstick spray. Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture.
*A food thickener made from cooked, dried, ground potatoes, this gluten free flour is also known as potato flour; available at most supermarkets.