There’s no denying that science plays a critical role in cooking and baking. I’m always in awe of how simple ingredients have the ability to transform themselves into something amazing and delicious. If you think that many of the foods on supermarket shelves can’t be replicated at home – think again. The homemade version is always SO much better than anything you could ever get out of a package, and this especially holds true for marshmallows.
I have to say that I was skeptical the first time I made these childhood favorites, and looking back, there was really no reason for my apprehension. Inspired by the sweet trolley from Dubai’s Table 9 restaurant (which had their brilliant take on every confection under the sun), I set off in my quest to find the perfect marshmallow recipe to try at home. Most of what I found contained gelatin, which at the time, I couldn’t find in Dubai. Lucky for me, husband’s frequent business trips to the UK made it easy for me to source this elusive ingredient. After stuffing his suitcase with over a dozen packs, I still have a pantry full of leaf gelatin that have yet to reach their expiry dates.
While playing with ice cream recipes a few weeks ago (another post on that soon!), a friend of mine suggested I use rose as one of the flavors. Since my pink obsessed daughter’s birthday is coming up next month, my thoughts have been focused on all things pastel and rosy. A soft and sweet rose-scented marshmallow fits perfectly into my party-planning scheme.
Keep in mind that you’re in for a sticky situation when making these. Get your equipment organized before you begin, and make sure you have a clean space to work with. A bowl of cold water close by when pouring your marshmallow mixture into your prepared pan will do wonders to control a mess. By dipping your hands into the water from time to time, you’ll help tame the marshmallow spider webs that cling to your mixer (and cling to the rest of you!!!). These luscious pillows of sweetness are worth every bit of stickiness!
I’ve included a rose water and a vanilla variation. Both flavors are fabulous – it all depends on your personal preference. The rose water will give you a very similar taste to Turkish Delight. I generally stay away from using food coloring and dyes, but make an exception with this recipe – a bit of color adds a whimsical touch to the marshmallows.
You will need:
- Candy thermometer (found in most kitchen or baking supply stores)
- Standing or hand-held mixer
- Heatproof bowl
- Baking pan – 8 in x 12 in
- 12 sheets gelatin
- 1¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water plus water for soaking gelatin leaves
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons rose water OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A couple of streaks of pink food coloring (I use gel coloring, dip it in a tooth pic and streak it into the marshmallow mixture)
- 1 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted
Prepare your pan by lightly greasing it with vegetable shortening or vegetable oil.
Place gelatin sheets in a heatproof bowl. Cover with very cold water, and let stand for ten minutes until soft. Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, salt, ½ cup water and corn syrup in a pot. Stir gently to combine. Insert the candy thermometer.
Over medium/high heat, bring mixture to a boil and cook until candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F (soft ball stage).
While your sugar mixture is cooking, ring out the water from the gelatin leaves and drain the water from the bowl. Put the softened gelatin back into the bowl, and place over a pot that is filled halfway with simmering water (you can also use a double-boiler). With a heatproof spatula, stir the gelatin until it has turned into a hot liquid.
Pour the gelatin into the bowl of your mixer.
Once the sugar mixture has reached 240 degrees, CAREFULLY and slowly pour it onto the gelatin. Whisk with your electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes white and fluffy – about ten minutes.
Turn off the mixer, add the rose water OR vanilla and your food coloring (if using). Mix again on high speed for another minute.
Setting the Marshmallows:
Keep a small bowl of cold water close by to dip your hands in if the mixture is sticky and difficult to work with. Working very quickly, pour out your marshmallow mixture into your prepared pan. Smooth out the marshmallow mixture with a spatula or pat down with slightly wet hands.
Lightly shower a bit of confectioners sugar on top of the marshmallows.
Let stand uncovered for eight hours or over night until they dry out. Loosen the sides of the marshmallows with a blunt knife, then turn onto a work surface that’s been lightly dusted with confectioners sugar.
With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the marshmallows into desired sizes. Roll into sifted confectioners sugar and put into an airtight container until you are ready to eat.
They keep well for up to 10 days, but they never last that long.
Whatever flavor you go with, these marshmallows are child’s fantasy and a delicacy for adults! Enjoy every bite!