One of the things I love making the most is confectionery. Even though I personally am not a big fan of sugar or sweets this is countered by my love for making sweet things. I think it’s the science behind it all that has me geeking out. One of my favourite things to demonstrate when I have an audience is how glucose, eggs and sugar can be turned into marshmallows quite easily.
There are a whole lot of different ways to make marshmallows. Some use hot honey, others don’t use gelatin but rather agar-agar, others swear by molecular gastronomy techniques which involve other ingredients but in the end a marshmallow is a marshmallow, that soft fluffy pillow of softness can’t be mistaken for any other confectionery.
Please note that whenever making any sweet you’ll be working with either boiling water or very hot sugar. A sugar burn is one of the worst burns you can get, so please be careful. Don’t make these with your kids! Let them enjoy them afterwards.
You’ll need a standing whisk which has a metal bowl, I used my Bosch Optimum, it is all metal, which is perfect for this. You can try use a plastic bowl too but I find the mixture works better and cools down faster in a metal bowl. You’ll also need a sugar thermometer.
There is a difference between a sugar thermometer and a standard cooking thermometer. To prevent you constantly sticking your hands into the pot with a stick thermometer and possibly getting burnt I highly recommend you get yourself a sugar thermometer. It stands in the pot on its own and has helpful labels telling you of the different stages the sugar is at. I’d explain the stages of sugar but that’s a whole other lecture. Let’s keep this simple for now. So, herewith the marshmallow recipe…
– 455g Castor sugar
– 1 tbsp liquid glucose (or golden syrup)
– 200ml water
– 2 large free-range egg whites
– 9 sheets gelatine (about 16g) soaked in 140ml water
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– corn flour and icing sugar, for dusting and coating
1. Place the sugar, glucose and the cold water in a thick based metal pot on the stove and place your sugar thermometer in the pot. Allow the mixture to heat up til it reaches 127°C… (never ever stir sugar whilst it is heating up, this will cause it to crystallize. If you see the sugar is burning on one side or isn’t simmering evenly then rather gently turn the pot or lower your heat. Never stir)
2. Separately to the simmering sugar, on a double boiler (a pot of simmering water which you place another bowl over), melt the gelatine and water and add the vanilla extract to the mixture.
3. When your sugar has reached about 120°C start beating your egg whites in the mixer, by the time your sugar has reached 127°C your eggs should be at stiff peak, if they aren’t stiff yet then beat at a faster setting.
4. Gently slip your gelatine and water into the sugar pour the mixture into a metal jug.
5. Slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar into the mixer whilst it beats the egg whites, you want a slow but steady stream, don’t pour it in too fast.
6. After you’ve added all your sugar/gelatine your mixture should be glossy and sticky now. Keep whisking the mixture for about 5 minutes. This adds air to the marshmallow and also helps cool it down faster.
7. Mix the corn flour and icing sugar together and generously sprinkle half of it onto a pan lined with grease proof paper. Pour your marshmallow mixture into the tin. Alternatively you can scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe in into small nicely shaped marshmallows on the wax paper. Once done, sprinkle the rest of the icing sugar and corn flour mixture over the marshmallow.
7. Set aside to cool completely. If you chose to make the tin style marshmallow, you’ll need to cut it into blocks and roll each marshmallow in more icing sugar and corn starch.
Note: it is essential you get the temperature of the sugar precise, sugar reacts differently and does different things at different temperatures/stages. Do this recipe when you are 100% free from any distractions and have the time to focus solely on the task.