The Last Frontier

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

From time to time I will probably post some of our favorite recipes. Homemade marshmallows are always a special treat. I don't know if it's because our boys, Ezekiel and Jedidiah just like the marshmallows so much, or if it's because whenever we make them we always have so much fun. We always go find a nice spot not too far from our cabin, build a campfire, drink hot chocolate and roast marshmallow. It's always a great evening.

The only disappointment this time was that even though it was way past their bedtime, it was still very light outside. They love sitting on a log, marshmallows roasting (or in flames) on a willow stick, gazing into the fire. Who doesn't enjoy times like that. We also have fun looking for shooting stars and trying to pick out planets and constellations. Later that night Jed got me up to go outside with him (he drank too much water before going to bed and we don't have indoor plumbing --- get the picture?). It was probably around midnight, and he was SOOOO excited when he got outside and saw the moon and stars. It still wasn't dark enough to see very many stars, and he was hoping to convince me to stay outside with him and wait for it to get dark enough. No way! This is the Land of the Midnight Sun!

Anyway, here's my recipe for Homemade Marshmallows. These are NOTHING at all like the store bought things. These are actually delicious! This one is not only the best recipe I've found (and tweaked quite a bit to perfect it), but it's also the easiest and most versatile. Warning: This is in no way, shape or form a healthy treat. It's tasty, but not at all healthy.

Homemade Marshmallows
Note: If you want really soft, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth treats, go with the lesser amount of gelatin and go on the higher side of the liquid. If you plan to roast them on a stick over a fire, you'll want them firm, so use more gelatin and less liquid. They're easy to make (and don't forget delicious!), so you'll have a good excuse to experiment a few times to get them the way you like best4 1/2 to 6 envelopes of gelatin (I buy beef gelatin in bulk. 1 envelop is about 2 1/2 tsp.)

3/4 to 1 cup water
4 cups sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
1 1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Vanilla extract (The real thing --- imitation vanilla just won't give it such a great flavor)

Line a 9" x 13" pan with plastic wrap and oil it lightly. In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 to 1 cup water. While that soaks, combine the sugar, corn syrup, remaining water and salt in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
Pour the syrup over the gelatin in the mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on high about 10 minutes. After it begins to cool a bit, but not thick yet, stir in the vanilla extract. Continue beating until soft peaks form. The time will depend on your mixer and how much gelatin and liquid you used. This should take anywhere from 15 min. to 30 minutes. I once tried it with an old egg beater so that I didn't have to burn gas in the generator just to have marshmallows. But, after 45 minutes, very sore arms and still only marshmallow syrup in my bowl, I went out and started the generator.

Once it's thick, spread it into your prepared pan. Don't wait until it's too gloppy to spread nicely. Then take another sheet of plastic wrap, oil it lightly and spread it over the top. Give it at least a couple of hours before you try cutting them. If you have the will power to let them set up overnight, all the better.

Before you cut them, mix up some corn starch and powdered sugar. I never measure this. I just put about 1/2 cup each into a sifter, and sift into a bowl. Actually, I use more corn starch because 1/2 and 1/2 is kind of sweet. Do a taste test.  If I need more, I mix up more.
There are a couple of ways to cut them, but they're all a bit messy. Try them and do whatever works. Dip a sharp knife or scissors in cold water between cuts. I cut a strip about an inch wide, dip in water again, then snip off marshmallows into the bowl of powdered sugar and corn starch. Scissors work best for me. Sometimes instead of the cold water, I dip the scissors into the powdered mixture. Roll the marshmallows in the powdered mixture, then set on a paper towel to dry out a bit before you store them. If they're sticky when you pick them up to store away, roll them in more powdered mixture.

I have absolutely no idea how long these will keep. One recipe I saw said they'll keep a week stored in an air tight container, and longer in the freezer. Ours are usually gone in a few days. You can cut this recipe in half if you like.

Here are some pictures of our marshmallow roast:
This is my family: Jed (almost 6), Zeke (just turned 6 --- we adopted them at birth just four months apart. Jed is Eskimo), Chuck (my husband) and our dog Bear

Boys,Jed,Zeke,Chuck,Campfire,Family

Here are some of Jed and Zeke making a sticky fun mess, and slicking down the hill. Oh, and these pictures were taken around 9:00 at night.
Boys,Jed,Zeke,Family,Campfire

Boys,Zeke,Campfire,Family

Boys,Jed,Campfire,Family

Boys,Jed,Campfire,Family

2 comments:

Carol G said...

Quite a bit different from your eclipse pics - I'd say night and day different, lol.

The Last Frontier said...

LOL! Yes. I'm ready for spring already!

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