“Ohhhh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is sooooo delightful!”… And so are home-made marshmallows melting into a cup of super hot chocolate. Dip the tip of your nose in some meltingly sweet marshmallow cream on these cold Denver nights. Don’t bother ordering those spendy hand-crafted ones from overpriced specialty stores when you can make them cheaply at home.
With a few inexpensive ingredients such as powdered gelatin and sugar, YOU can make them yourself at home on date night or with the kids. You’ll be working with hot sugar, so you’ll need to be careful, but they are so fun to make and even more fun to eat, especially when licking the sweet goo off your, or someone else’s, fingers. (Don’t tell me that isn’t a good enough reason on its own.)
Marshmallows can be customized any way you wish. Make them plain, dusted with specialty sugars or cocoa, or add Hazelnut Praline Dust and Candied Orange Peel using my recipes below. Eat them straight up, plop them into hot beverages, or cut them into large cubes and bag them up as hostess gifts.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe, as marshmallows are easy and fairly quick to make if you make a plain vanilla version. I’m just generous with instructions.
Make some marshmallows, make a holiday memory.
For a few dollars, make them at home. For a lot of dollars, purchase them at these specialty retailers:
Crate&Barrel, Chocolate Swirl, 7.04 ounces, $9.95
Williams-Sonoma, Vanilla, 9 ounces, $16.95
PRALINE AND ORANGE MARSHMALLOWS
SPECIAL TOOLS: Candy thermometer; heavy-bottomed sauce pan (preferably copper exterior), ½ sheet baking tray; parchment paper
1 recipe Candied Orange Peel, finely chopped
1 recipe Hazelnut Praline Dust
3 packages unflavored gelatin
½ cup ice-cold water
½ cup water
12 ounces super fine sugar, approximately 1 ½ cups
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Torani Hazelnut syrup
¼ cup powdered sugar
Vegetable oil or nonstick spray
Prepare the Candied Orange Peel and Hazelnut Praline Dust. Set aside. (If you want plain marshmallows, you can skip these ingredients.)
Have all ingredients measured and ready. Line the tray and two opposing sides with one sheet of parchment paper. Brush lightly with vegetable oil or nonstick spray. Sift the entire surface with a layer of powdered sugar. Set aside.
Prepare a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Place the gelatin into the bowl of the mixer along with ½ cup of the ice-water and let stand.
In a small saucepan, combine the other ½ cup water, super fine sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stir gently to fully wet the sugar. Place over medium heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until all sugar is dissolved. 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. Avoid making contact with the whisk or sugar will splatter. (Cooked sugar is very hot and will cause severe burns). Once you have added all of the syrup, gradually increase the speed to high. The mixture will be very hot and steamy. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the vanilla, hazelnut syrup, and chopped orange peel during the last minute of whipping.
Pour the marshmallow cream onto the prepared baking tray. Use an oiled rubber spatula, or use oiled fingers, to spread the cream into a 1” even layer. Dust with powdered sugar and finish with the Hazelnut Praline Dust. Press the Dust into the surface of the cream.
Allow to cool thoroughly, cut the marshmallows into cubes, then store in an airtight container.
CANDIED ORANGE PEEL
One orange, washed
One cup water
¼ cup superfine sugar
- Peel the orange with a potato peeler. Scrape away any excess white pith. Julienne the skin.
- Place the peel in a small sauce pot; cover the peel with water and bring the water to a boil. Strain away the water and repeat this process two more times. This will blanch the zest and remove much of its bitterness.
- Return the peel to the sauce pot. Cover with water and add ¼ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar reduces to a syrup, about 10 minutes
- Transfer candied strips to wax or parchment paper to cool. These are great to eat plain, as garnish on desserts, and with the marshmallow recipe below.
- Once cooled, chop the peel as finely as possible. They will be sticky.
HAZELNUT PRALINE DUST
SPECIAL TOOLS: heavy-bottomed sauce pot (copper preferably), parchment paper or silpat mat, rolling pin or food processor, high temperature rubber spatula
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed
1 cup super fine sugar
- Place sugar in a very clean, heavy-bottomed sauce pan (preferably copper on the outside). Shake pan to distribute sugar evenly over the base of the pan. Melt sugar over medium-high heat. Do not stir sugar or you risk it recrystallizing.
- Turn heat to high. Watch sugar carefully as it starts to caramelize. Swirl pan around to evenly distribute color. (Liquid caramel is dangerously hot so protect hands with hot pads and use caution.
- Once sugar is a golden caramel color, add the nuts and swirl the caramel by tilting the pan (do not stir). Caramel will continue to cook off the heat so be careful not to let the caramel get too dark before adding the nuts.
- Once the nuts are thoroughly coated, carefully turn the hot liquid onto parchment paper and avoid hot splatters. Use a high-heat rubber spatula to spread the praline into a thin and even layer.
- Once cooled, break the praline into pieces. Crush the pieces with a rolling pin or transfer to a food processor. Pulse to create a praline dust.