Wednesday, May 24, 2006
confections #1 : marshmallow experiments
Although I have made my share of desserts and have some chocolate making under my belt, I do not have much experience with confections. So, I recently decided to expand my knowledge of candy and confections. I started with marshmallows: they are light, soft, fun and seem to be in vogue. They also bring back some fond childhood memories. As I have discovered, marshmallows are one of those things that are much better made at home!
My first attempt at marshmallows a few week ago met with little success. They didn't achieve enough volume and were awfully sticky. My theory of why is fairly simple; the recipe did not bring the sugar to the correct temperature and I substituted white corn syrup—an ingredient I didn't have. Fortunately, I found another recipe and some white corn syrup. This marshmallow recipe can be found at Brownie Points. I halved the recipe for the three batches I made. I wanted to test flavourings that could be added to marshmallow; so, I experimented with a powdered spice, an alcohol and a fruit. The three I tried were cardamom, melon liqueur and strawberry.
add 1 teaspoon ground cardamom to the gelatin and water mixture
I used 1/2 cup of Midori Liqueur—a melon flavoured liqueur from Japan. I reduced the midori liqueur to 1/4 cup to concentrate the flavour and to take out the alcohol. I added the reduced Midori to a gelatin and 1/4 cup water mixture. I also omitted the vanilla extract. It is important to remove the alcohol content from the liquor; otherwise, your marshmallow will not get the volume required.
I used a 1/4 cup of strawberry juice. You can also use strawberry puree. Add the juice or puree to the gelatin mixture with 1/4 cup water and omit the vanilla extract. To make strawberry juice, place strawberries in a double boiler and heat for 15-20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve or cheese cloth to recover as much liquid as possible.
In the end, I was pleased with how the marshmallows turned out. I'm fond of cardamom as a spice; so I liked the cardamom marshmallow best. Marshmallow is surprisingly simple to make, once you have a little practice.