Chris and I are almost perfectly matched in the kitchen. He does 99% of the cooking and is always interested in trying new recipes and learning new techniques. I make most of the desserts and am in my element with flour and sugar and my Kitchen Aid. There have been a few areas though where Chris' interests have crossed over into what would normally be my territory. Bread is one of those areas, which seems appropriate though because I am always looking for sweet recipes, and my bread baking ranges towards over-the-top bacon/cheese/onion type breads or brioches to turn into French toast or cinnamon rolls, while Chris wants to make traditional sourdoughs or whole wheat loaves.
Another area where Chris has crossed into things I would normally be interested in is marshmallows. We had tried to make the egg white based marshmallows in my Dorie Greenspan book and didn't have much success with them and pretty much wrote off the idea of homemade marshmallows. Later though Chris saw Alton Brown make marshmallows with gelatin and his interest was piqued again, especially after we started messing with homemade fondant which uses marshmallows.
These days it doesn't take much at all to get Chris into the kitchen to whip up a batch of homemade marshmallows. especially now that it's winter and he can have them in his hot chocolate. And of course he didn't object at all when I suggested using them to make rice krispy treats. Regular rice krispy treats are damn tasty and very easy to make, but using fresh marshmallows and organic brown-rice rice krispies kicks the recipe up a notch and takes out any guilt about eating heavily processed foods.
We're not really all that passionate about avoiding processed foods -- and we do love oreos and certain candy bars -- but we do try to limit the amount of processed foods we eat and we take a certain amount of pride in using fresh ingredients and keeping a lot of the mystery ingredients in boxed and canned foods out of our diets. I know there are many others out there who try to avoid any and all heavily processed foods though, and for those people who still love their childhood rice krispy treats this is a great alternative that tastes just as good or even better than the original, but with very few of the preservatives or mysteries of mass-produced foods.
For the marshmallows
3 packages unflavored gelatin
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
DirectionsPlace the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2
cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
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.
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. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
For regular marshmallows:
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.
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.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.