Freshly made marshmallows are a popular sweet treat in upscale restaurants these days. Folks who encounter them are usually highly impressed, having no idea that so long as a sturdy stand mixer is on hand, a home cook can easily prepare these simple candies.
Toast these marshmallows for s'mores on long forks or sticks over a fire, as you would normally, but watch carefully and don't overcook or they will soften too much. Or heat them in the microwave oven following the directions below. Pair the warm, gooey marshmallows with honey graham crackers and whatever fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bars you prefer. If necessary, cut or break up the bars so they fit the graham crackers.
The marshmallows can be refrigerated, loosely packed in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks. Let them come to room temperature before using. (Or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw before using.)
Servings: 24 - 25
Yield: Makes enough large marshmallows for 24 or 25 s'mores
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder (2 to 3 packages)
- 2/3 cup cold coffee or cold water
- 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon good-quality almond-flavored liqueur, such as Amaretto
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting as needed
Line a 7-by-11-inch (or 9-inch-square) baking dish with wax paper or parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang on opposing sides. Very evenly and generously coat the paper with nonstick cooking oil spray; the marshmallow will stick to any spots that are not sprayed.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin and espresso powder over the coffee. Stir, then let stand for about 5 minutes, until the gelatin softens.
In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and gelatin mixture until well blended. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring for 30 seconds or until the mixture starts to rise up the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat; let cool slightly. Add the almond-flavored liqueur and the vanilla and almond extracts, stirring to mix well. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment if available, and gradually increasing the mixer speed from low to high, beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is thickened, lightened and fluffy.
Using a spray-coated rubber scraper, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly. Lightly and evenly coat a second sheet of wax or parchment paper with nonstick cooking oil spray; lay the sheet on the marshmallow. Set aside for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours; the marshmallows is quite sticky until completely set.
To cut the marshmallows, sift about a third of the confectioners' sugar onto a large, clean cutting board. Peel off 1 sheet of paper from the marshmallow slab and lay the exposed marshmallow slab on the sugar. Peel off the second sheet. Sift about a third of the remaining confectioners' sugar over the top. Using a large, sharp, lightly greased knife, cut the slab crosswise into sixths and lengthwise into fourths (or crosswise and lengthwise into fifths for a 9-inch-square pan). Dust all the cut surfaces with confectioners' sugar to reduce stickiness. Clean off the knife and regrease with every cut, or as necessary. Dust the cut marshmallows all over with confectioners' sugar to keep them from sticking together.
From cookbook author Nancy Baggett.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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