Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows

It’s been a cold winter here in New York. One of my favorite ways to warm up is to snuggle in a blanket on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate. My husband likes hot chocolate, too, but he wants to go all out and have it topped with marshmallows. He asked me about making homemade marshmallows, and I figured I’d give it a try. I had been intrigued by the idea since watching an episode of “Good Eats” a couple years ago. I decided to look up Alton Brown’s recipe and give it a whirl. My notes are in [brackets].  The recipe can also be found here.  If you prefer something a bit less sweet, add a dash or two of chili powder to the hot chocolate.  Delicious!


3 packages unflavored gelatin [the box I bought contained 4 packets. Don’t buy 3 boxes!]
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray


1) Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

2) In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

3) Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. [this seems like a long time, but you really need to whip the air into this mixture.] Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows:

4) Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

5) When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

6) Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. [I just used a chef’s knife, as I don’t have a pizza cutter. Make sure you keep the blade dusted, or you’re going to have a sticky mess. Actually, you’ll still probably have a sticky mess.] Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. [An easy way to do this is all the marshmallows, alternating a few at a time with the cornstarch mix, to a large freezer bag. Seal it and shake until they’re covered.]

7) Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.