Yes, that’s right, I’m doing more Christmas-themed posts. It’s two weeks away and if, like me, you haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet, then I’m giving you some ideas about awesome stuff you can make and give. Awesomely tasty stuff, that is. And this is a TWOFER. Win!
There was this one episode of The Simpsons that I have never been able to get out of my head. It was one where Bart really disappointed Marge, and she was so upset with him she wouldn’t put marshmallows into his hot chocolate. He did it himself, but the marshmallow absorbed all of the hot chocolate and became one giant marshmallow he had to eat it with a knife and fork.
I’m not sure why it stuck in my head, maybe because the idea of one giant marshmallow was totally delicious, or just that the thought of marshmallows was always better than the actual taste, maybe just even because it involved food and that’s always going to get my attention. Is it just me who finds store-bought marshmallows incredibly disappointing? They’re always so dry, I’ve never had that delicious fluffy sugary goodness that absorbed Bart’s hot chocolate when I’ve bought them. And the little ones? Don’t get me started on the little ones. They may as well just be sugar cubes.
So when I found a recipe to make my own marshmallows and, better still, it looked ridiculously easy, I jumped at the opportunity.
Marshmallows are one of those things that you never think to actually make. They just always seem to be there. But I don’t know why more people don’t make them themselves – they’re awesomely easy and they taste so much better than store-bought. It’s a simple case of boiling sugar and water, adding gelatine (of course), whisking into stiff egg whites, letting set and then coating in an icing sugar & cornflour mixture. Simples. The only thing that takes a bit of time is cutting them up into (small-ish) cubes.
It was so easy to make these babies that I also decided to make some chocolate marshmallow brownies, which are both incredibly festive, delicious and have already been given away to two sets of folks. I made 48 as a thank you gift to Brother’s office (who had all been voting for me during Project Food Blog), and they went down a storm; then made 24 as Christmas presents for my fellow Young & Poor Team Members at our Christmas dinner the other day, which also disappeared pretty speedy-like.
They’re easy, they’re delicious and you can put those marshmallows to good use! I’ve still got half a box left, so I’ll probably be doing something else with them soon. Or maybe I’ll just do a Bart Simpson and drop them into my hot chocolate… make a batch of these for your co-workers/friends/family/self this Christmas and you’ve got some guaranteed loving coming your way.
(Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
3-4 tbsp icing sugar
3-4 tbsp cornflour
125ml near-boiling water
25g gelatine powder
500g granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1. Sift the icing sugar and cornflour together into a small bowl.
2. Oil a square tin with a little vegetable oil, then shake a small amount of the icing sugar/cornflour mixture around it to coat.
3. Stir the gelatine into the near-boiling water until dissolved. If you want to have coloured marshmallow you can include a couple of drops of food colouring at this point, too.
4. Combine the sugar and 250ml of water in a medium saucepan and warm, stirring with a spoon to melt the sugar. After it has melted, place the candy thermometer in the pan, increase the heat and allow to boil without disturbing it until it has reached 122 degrees C. Remove from the heat, pour in the gelatine mixture and combine.
5. Beat the two egg whites in the large bowl of the mixer/large bowl with hand beaters, until stiff. Switch to a low speed then slowly pour in the sugar mixture in a steady, gentle trickle. I found it easier to pour it into a measuring jug to do this. After you’ve added all the syrup continue to beat until the mixture is thick and bulky, but still pourable. You’re aiming for slow ribbons when you lift the beaters. This took around 10-15 mins.
6. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and leave to set in a cool place for 1-2 hours – do not refrigerate!
7. Dust a surface with some of the cornflour/icing sugar mixture and keep the rest in the bowl. Carefully ease the marshmallow out of the tin onto your surface. Cover the surfaces of the marshmallow with the mixture, then, using the knife, cut it into squares. You may need to lightly oil and dust your knife with the cornflour/icing sugar mixture to prevent it from sticking, as necessary. Roll each square in the bowl of cornflour/icing sugar, making sure each side is coated, then set aside in a tupperware box until ready to use.
8. Try not to stuff them in your mouth as you go…
MARSHMALLOW CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
(Adapted from BBC Good Food)
150g dark chocolate (I made the first batch with chilli chocolate and the second batch with Mayan chocolate, which had a blend of citrus and spices)
150g plain flour
500g caster sugar
5 eggs, beaten
150g marshmallows, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease and flour a tin and set aside.
2. Break the chocolate into small pieces, cut the butter into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan, filled with just enough water to reach up to the bottom of the bowl without touching it. Bring the water to the boil, stirring the chocolate and butter with a wooden spoon, until melted and combined.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa and flour, and add the sugar and, off the heat, mix the melted butter and chocolate into the dry ingredients. When combined, quickly mix in the eggs then, using a spatula, fold in the marshmallows.
4. Turn the brownie mixture into the tin and bake in the oven until the surface has set but still feels squidgy underneath. This will take about 25-30 mins. Cool, slice and dig in. The marshmallow will rise to the top of the brownie and get a beautiful crunchy squidge to it. Perfection.
Yet another tasty idea to give away this Christmas instead of useless gifts. I tied my little parcels up with pretty cellophane (it has snowflakes on it – very festive!) and some red ribbon. Even if you don’t want to give these away (and I don’t blame you, they’re delicious) it’s still a good one to add to your repertoire!
That’s all for now, until next time: peace and love.
PS: If you do make lots of pretty coloured marshmallows, check out Jun’s gorgeous post on what else you can do with them!