One of the delightful things about being in the kitchen with my daughter is that she encourages e to try some things I wouldn't even consider making if left to my own devices. A good example of that is the weird science experiment that led us to create small red balls of flavor to put into mixed drinks.
Yesterday, since I wasn't the one cooking the turkey, there was a little time after making cornbread stuffing, apple crisp, a pecan pie and bacon wrapped stuffed dates. We used that time to whip up a batch of home made marshmallows. To make them even more interesting, she found a recipe by Jerry James Stone of Cooking Stoned for Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows. I never thought that I would smell the heady fragrance of good bourbon while making fluffy marshmallows, but it was a great experience.
The finished marshmallows were cut and coated in a bit more of their powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture, then stacked in airtight containers. The little sweets were thinner than I expected, but next time we can make them in a smaller pan to get taller marshmallows. The flavor doesn't need any tweaking and they should be a great addition to a cup of cocoa which has a shot of good bourbon in it.
The whole process takes some time, but most of that is letting the marshmallows cure. The initial cooking takes less than an hour. Eggs are separated for the whites, gelatin takes a few minutes to soak, sugar and water gets heated, then some corn syrup is added and
then the soaked gelatin and the whole thing cooks to the hard ball stage (verified by using a candy thermometer). While the sugar syrup cooks, the egg whites get beaten with a little salt. If you have a helper they can sift together some cornstarch and confectioners' sugar for the pan. Otherwise you can do that yourself a little later.
The fun part is when the bourbon and vanilla gets added to the hot syrup and is stirred in. The heat makes the whole kitchen smell of bourbon and the hot mixture hisses and boils up a little bit! Once the egg whites get really fluffy, you slowly pour the hot syrup over them between the beater and the bowl while the stand mixer keeps on beating those egg whites. Be careful while handling the syrup. It can really burn if splashed on your skin, so keep a bowl of ice water handy. As the mixture fluffs some more, you can sift the cornstarch and confectioners' sugar together if it's not done already.
The confectioners' sugar mixture is sifted liberally over the bottom of the baking sheet. The fluffy, cooled marshmallow mixture is poured over that and the mixture is spread and leveled with an offset spatula, then more of the sugar mixture is sifted over it.
After that there's nothing more for you to do for at least 5 hours. We let ours sit on the counter overnight and in the morning they were ready to be cut, dredged in more sugar mixture to coat the cut edges, then packed for use. Takes a little time if you have a whole sheet pan worth, but if you use a smaller pan for taller marshmallows, it shouldn't take too much time and you will still have plenty of wonderful home made marshmallows. The directions are Jerry James's, not mine, but they work.
If you have a loved one who loves marshmallows, this could make a great holiday gift!
Vanilla Bourbon Marshmallows
Jerry James Stone of Cooking Stoned blog
· 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
· ½ cup cold water
· 2 cups granulated white sugar
· ⅓ cup light corn syrup
· ½ cup Bourbon
· 3 large egg whites
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
· ½ cup cornstarch
· ½ cup powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine the 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin and 1/4 cup of the water. Mix and let stand. Be forewarned, it’s gonna look pretty gross once it sets. Also, really, before you go any further, I suggest having all ingredients ready to go.
In a small sauce pan, combine 2 cups of sugar and the remaining water and warm it over a medium low heat. A minute later, add in ⅓ cup corn syrup and turn the heat up to medium-high. You’re going to bring the mixture to 240 degrees F. Corn syrup prevents the mallows from crystallizing and with the addition of bourbon, it is sorta needed.
While that is going on, let’s do some other stuff. Using a stand mixer, mix the three egg whites and ¼ teaspoon salt on low until they are just a bit foamy.
When the sugary syrup hits 240 degrees F, turn off the heat and add the following to the mix: ½ cup of bourbon and the gelatin mixture. While the gelatin melts, turn the stand mixer back on, this time to high, and start whipping those whites. Whip ‘em real good.
Once the whites have become fluffy and pillow-like, slowly pour the syrupy mixture into the mixer bowl where you’re spanking those egg whites. Do this slowly! You do not want to be splashed with boiling hot syrup.
Add in the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and scraped vanilla bean seeds and whip it until the mixture is fluffy, stiff and the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch.
While that is going on, using a large mixing bowl, sift together ½ cup cornstarch and ½ cup powdered sugar. This is the coating for the marshmallows.
Now heavily coat a baking sheet with some of the marshmallow coating. Seriously, no bare spots here! Pour the fluffy marshmallow creme onto the baking sheet, using a spatula to even it out. Dust it with some of the coating and then let it sit for about 5 hours, uncovered. Go watch Hulu or something.
Using a pizza cutter, dusted with some of the coating, cut the marshmallows into any shape or size you want. This is a great time to bust out some funky cookie cutters, right? Unicorns anyone? Toss the cut marshmallows into the mixing bowl with the coating, just a few at a time, and using a spoon, make sure they are fully powdered. Then using a wire strainer, give the mallows a good shake to remove the excess coating. These can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container.