Do you still have room for just a little more holiday flavor?
Yesterday was the gingerbread throw down. Much like our fruitcake throw down a couple of years ago the gingerbread throw down brings together family, friends, and food. This is a wonderful silly gathering where friends are pitted against each other in a battle for the best tasting gingerbread.
While most entries were the traditional varieties of cakes and cookies, a couple of us went out on a limb. The gingerbread martini had hopes of being the popular entry (and my favorite to judge!) but I was trying to sway the crowd with light as air, puffy, fluffy, gingerbread marshmallows. Unfortunately, we were all over shadowed by a stunning gingerbread, lemon curd & raspberry trifle (that I forgot to take a picture of!).
My marshmallows did not win, but they were very well received at the throw down. They were also very well received in my morning cup of joe. Unlike store bought marshmallows, homemade marshmallows are delicately chewy, silky and super flavorful. They are not full of preservatives so they melt into s’mores and coco with ease. After eating a homemade marshmallow you might find that the store bought variety has a hard shell, gummy texture and tastes like plastic. You might never go back.
Now I have supervised the process a few times while my friends have made marshmallows, but this was my first time making them myself. And man, are they EASY. All the gingerbread flavor with no flour, no eggs, and no baking.
After the first batch was done I had the urge to make a million variations of marshmallows. Warning: unless you are a marshmallow fiend or you are giving them away, try to resist the urge to make millions because one batch of homemade marshmallows is a greater quantity than 2 bags of store bought.
In order to redistribute the mallow love I suggest that you package them up in a bag (or jar or mug) with some pretty ribbon and some coco mix and present them a nice little gift.
This recipe is best made using a stand mixer or you will have a long time holding a hand mixer.
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 c loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 c light corn syrup
- 1 c cold water
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 1 1/2 t ground ginger
- 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground cloves
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 Tb vanilla extract
- Approx. 1/2c dusting mix: 2 parts powdered sugar and 1 part corn starch
Begin by lining a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Do not skimp, cut the paper large enough to overhang the sides. Cover the bottom of the pan and parchment with a generous layer of dusting mix.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of the cold water. Let stand.
Next in a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the other 1/2 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and boil until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage or 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly begin to pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Add the spices. Increase to high speed and whip until the bowl is cool and the mixture is thick, light in color, and the consistency of a sticky merengue. This will take about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mix into the lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula or damp finger tips. Occasionally dip the spatula in a bit of water to prevent sticking. Dust the top with more confectioners’ sugar and the candied ginger. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for 4 hours or overnight. If you live in a humid area, I suggest that you ‘hide’ the marshmallows in a cabinet, drawer, or cold oven. This will help to keep the tackiness at a minimum.
Cover a cutting board with dusting mix. Remove the marshmallows from the pan with the help of the parchment paper. Invert the marshmallows onto the board and gently peel back the paper. Using a knife or scissors, cut marshmallows into strips and then chop them into bite sized squares. Toss the cut squares with more dusting mix to prevent the marshmallows from sticking together. Shake off extra powdered sugar and store in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.
- add coco powder or espresso powder to the dusting mix
- Sprinkle the top of warm marshmallows with sprinkles or finely chopped candied ginger
- Substitute half of the corn syrup with molasses