Cocoa-Dusted Marshmallows

Sometimes, I think that only thing that kept me going through finals was knowing that I would soon get to go home to a well stocked kitchen where I could rule with shouts of, “Get outta my kitchen!” and a oven mitt gloved fist. I had spent my (small) study breaks poring over blogs and cookbooks, writing down recipes and techniques and ideas that would surely leave the kitchen in a sugary, powdery haze. But, even, “… tha best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agely (Go often askew)“, and I spent much of break too ill to even consider food.

The last days of break approached, the vestiges of the flu had disappeared, and I lamented over my lack of cookery and began experimenting once again with bread and cookies and meat! However, I had also long since been intrigued by the idea that a normal human being could make marshmallows, and so, in a fit of boredom with That Guy I Like by my side, we set out to create a fluffy drink-topping, s’more-filling, just-nice-to-snack-on treat before we had to return to our respective schools.

Considering our usual track record of mess making (food on ceiling, floor, hair) we did a fairly good job of keeping this incredibly sticky mess IN the bowl and pan. And what we did spill was easily vanquished by hot water. Other people who attempted this recipe warned that scraping out the bowl would result in an intensely sticky, stringy mess, buuuuut I ignored that and forged ahead anyways. Later, as I washed the marshmallow out of my hair….

These aren’t quite as fluffy as a store bought marshmallows, but I think the fault lies with me and my failure to whip the mixture as long as it needed. They were pretty excellent melted in a cup of hot chocolate, and I really wanna try them sometime in s’mores and rice crispie treats. Originally, these are dusted in confectioner’s sugar, but I don’t love really sweet things, so I opted for cocoa powder instead.
Cocoa-Dusted Marshmallows
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen, orginially adapted from Gourmet, 1998

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (I used my homemade stuff, but you could use other flavors like mint or maybe orange too.)
Scant 1 cup cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F., about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. Sift remaining cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat. Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.


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