Bebe loves marshmallows. She can pop back a few in a blink of an eye.
Until just this year, I didn't even think to make marshmallows.
I found a marshmallow recipe in Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, and chose a bittersweet chocolate variation. I used VanHouten cocoa powder and Lindt 70% dark chocolate and the chocolate flavour rang through very clearly.
the light dusting of cornstarch you see covering these marshmallows was largely gone after an overnight rest
Freshly made, these marshmallows, with their dusting of cornstarch, were okay. After waiting a day, they were so much better. The chocolate flavour was more intense and the texture of the marshmallows was soft and pillowy.
I dusted off the surplus cornstarch from some of the marshmallows with a pastry brush because patting them didn't seem to get enough of the cornstarch off of the marshmallows. Too much cornstarch kind of left you with an overwhelmingly powdery residue in your mouth. With the overnight marshmallows, the light film of cornstarch had been mostly absorbed. You definitely need the cornstarch there so you can cut the sticky marshmallows, so it's not as if you can do away with the dusting altogether.
I cut them in little squares and they were so light, airy and soft that you could easily eat the whole pile of them. The chocolate flavour was a winner and I'd make these again!
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
About 1 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cup plus 1 T sugar
2 T light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce packets unflavoured gelatin
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate [I used Lindt 70% dark]
2 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder [I used Van Houten brand cocoa powder]
- Line a rimmed baking sheet--choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high-- with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
- Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup--without stirring--until it reaches 265degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes [note: it took only 6 minutes when I made it]
- While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)
- Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy--don't overbeat them and have them go dull.
- As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium, speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beaters and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
- Melt the 3 oz chocolate with the cocoa powder, stirring until glossy and smooth.
- Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the melted chocolate mixture into the the batter and fold in until mixed.
- Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won't fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place. Greenspan uses custard cups.
- Dust the top of the marshmallows with cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.
- Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a long thing knife or pair of scissors. Whatever you use, you'll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like--into squares, rectangles or even strips. As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch. [I found using a pastry brush to dust off the excess cornstarch was more effective]