So, I had this brilliant little idea to make homemade treats for all of the neighbors and Hazel's cheerleading coaches. The theme? Peppermint. Chocolate peppermint cookies, chocolate peppermint truffles, peppermint marshmallows, and peppermint taffy (the only thing that was store-bought). I even bought the pretty little red and white bakery boxes from Martha Stewart. Red, white, pepperminty... a perfect set of Christmas treats!
The cookies went off without a hitch. I had some trouble even finding the taffy at stores this year. The truffles? A lot messier than I thought, but delicious. The marshmallows? Ah, the marshmallows. Now, those are a different story entirely. I had a recipe from last year's Martha Stewart Christmas magazine. It sounded easy enough. Ha ha ha. Not so easy after all. Well, to be fair, it wasn't that they were all that difficult to make... it was just that the recipe left out a couple of really HELPFUL hints. So, how about an edited version so you don't have the same issues that I did... sloppy candy goo overflowing all over you flat-top cooking range. You don't even want to know how long that took to clean up! And, let's not forget that the Martha recipe left out the fact that to achieve a look of anything other than a slick, shiny, jiggly mass after the marshmallows have set... you need to lightly dust them with powdered sugar. Fortunately, they still turned out and were DELICIOUS! And, after a dusting of powdered sugar, they looked pretty too!
*** Okay, all my mixed-feelings about this recipe aside, Martha rocks because, as I was typing this, I just received her daily Christmas Workshop newsletter in my inbox. And, guess what? She featured my little house ornaments that I made for the LT swap in today's newsletter! Squee!!!!! Yup. Martha rocks!*** Here's what the e-mail looks like:
So anyway... back to the marshmallows. What you'll need (in addition to an 8" square pan, candy thermometer, parchment paper, and a couple other common kitchen tools):
* Vegetable-oil cooking spray
* 2 C sugar
* 1 Tbs light corn syrup
* 4 pkgs. (1/4 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
* 1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
* 2 lg. eggs
* Red food coloring
*Powdered sugar for dusting
Coat an 8" square baking w/ cooking spray. Line bottom of pan w/ parchment paper, then also coat parchment paper w/ cooking spray; set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 C water into a med. saucepan. Cook over med. heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. (Don't get discouraged, it DOES take a while). Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. (Again, this takes quite a while longer than I thought, so don't give up.) Raise heat to med-high; cook until mixture comes to a boil. Raise heat to med-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Another step that was quite the wait).
Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 C water in a heat-proof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat & stir in peppermint extract; set aside.
Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted w/ the whisk attachment; beat on high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. I think this took about 5 or so minutes.
***Here's the part where it all went wrong*** DO NOT (I don't care what the recipe says) mix the gelatin into the sugar mixture while still on the stove. It will IMMEDIATELY boil completely over the pot. Trust me, you don't want to clean up that gooey, cooked-on mess. INSTEAD, add the gelatin directly to the electric mixer, followed by the sugar mixture. Beat on high speed until very thick. This took about 12-15 minutes.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Working quickly (and I ain't lying when I say QUICKLY), drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallows (I used 9 drops). Use a toothpick to quickly swirl food coloring into marshmallows to create a marbleized effect. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight (I let it sit overnight).
Once you're ready to cut it up, dust the top of marshmallows lightly with powdered sugar. Turn pan out onto waxed paper; dust opposite side with powdered sugar. Cut into 2" squares. Place a small amount of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl, and dip all 4 edges of marshmallow in the sugar. Voila! Yummy, yummy peppermint marshmallows (without the totally disasterous mess I encountered... hopefully.)