Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fluffs (Chocolate Covered Homemade Marshmallows)

In the fall of 1999, I was employed for a short time at Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates store before I was fired for insubordination (ironically, not for eating approximately 1.5 lbs. of chocolate a night along with my coworker). It was a highly destinal (this is a word I just invented-you are free to use it) employment, causing me to become severely addicted to gourmet chocolate-which happens to be quite costly, and not at all figure-flattering.
Of the highly delicious chocolates to be had, one of my favorites was the Chocolate Fluff, or a double-dipped version- a Flip. The marshmallow inside was nothing like the marshmallows from the grocery store-it was fluffy, creamy, and moist.
I've always wanted to try homemade marshmallows, but I once read a recipe review where the cook said mixing the marshmallow cream caused to mixer to burn out-so I've been a little nervous. Most recipes call for beating the mixture for 20+ minutes, but the cinchy recipe I found has you mix for only 5, and it turned out great. Since the recipe sounds complicated by just reading it, and some of you may not have worked with gelatin before, I thought I would post some photos along with the instructions. It really is easy and uncomplicated-and the marshmallows really are 100 times better!

Serves 20-40, depending on the size you cut
Source: adapted from Baked-New Frontiers in Baking

2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (a little less than 2 packets)
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I was worried the vanilla would discolor the marshmallows, but it doesn't.)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1 lb. chocolate-milk, semi-sweet, or dark (I don't think chocolate chips would work as well in this recipe as baking chocolate-the added wax would make a more crunchy bite)

Optional toppings: toasted coconut, crushed candy cane, chopped nuts, coarse salt

Grease a 9x13 inch pan with vegetable shortening. In a small glass or metal bowl, pour 1/2 cup water, and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let the gelatin soften 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, pour in 1/2 cup of the corn syrup.

On your stovetop, set up two saucepans. In a small saucepan, fill half way with water, and heat over medium low heat. You want to get the water hot, but not boiling. In a medium saucepan, gently stir together the sugar, 1/2 cup of the corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of water. Put the the saucepan over medium-high heat and clip a candy thermometer to the side. You 'll heat this to soft-ball stage, 235-240 degrees. It will take a while-around 10 or 15 minutes. You don't need to stir it.

After your gelatin has softened for 10 minutes, place the bowl over/inside of the pan of hot water. Stir with a spatula as the gelatin melts to a smooth consistency.

 When the gelatin is smooth, pour it into the mixing bowl with the corn syrup. Turn on the mixer to a low speed, and keep it going while you wait for your sugar mixture to reach soft ball stage.

When your sugar mixture reaches 235-240 degrees, remove from the heat and take out your candy thermometer. Turn the mixer up to to medium speed for one minute, then slowly pour the hot sugar into the bowl. When all of the sugar mixture has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for about 5 minutes. (I started mine out at a 5 speed in my kitchenaid, and I probably should have set it on speed 7-mine took a couple minutes longer than 5) The marshmallow mixture will turn white and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and turn the mixer up to its highest setting for another minute.
The mixture will turn from this.....
To this.

Working quickly, pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and let sit for 6 hours, or overnight.

After setting up overnight.

Another situation I discovered this morning: the kids had  begged and begged to have a "camp out" in our  extremely unpleasant basement-I had given it 2 hours, tops, but they slept the entire night like this.
Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan, and use your hands to pull the marshmallow (it will come out in one giant piece) out of the pan and onto a flat surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Cut the marshmallows into desired sizes. If you just want some delicious plain marshmallows for hot chocolate or snacking, you'll want to roll the cut squares in some powdered sugar. They keep for a week in an air-tight container.
Owen made smaller squares, since he likes to cut things.

To coat in chocolate:
Prepare your toppings, if using.
Lay sheets of waxed paper over two baking sheets.
Chop the chocolate into chunks and heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.You will notice my fluffs are not a picture of beauty. They are a little lumpy, and this is due to the fact I don't know what I'm doing. But here's what I did: Drop the marshmallows one at a time into the pan; use a spatula to cover the marshmallow in chocolate; lift the marshmallow out with a couple of forks, and place on the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with toppings. They will take a few hours to set up, depending on the temperature of your room.
Toasted coconut topping