Sunday, August 09, 2009

Air whipped sugar syrup is sticky

The temps here in Minnesota have finally returned to normal. For those of you that aren't from this great state, you may not realize that it's not frozen here year round. July and August are typically in the upper 80's and low 90's. Not south hot, but definitely not the arctic people think it is.

We had some special guests at our house this weekend. TheBiggTree (TBT) and company came to visit. TBT and his wife have 2 boys...almost the exact same age as our two girls. We love getting the clans together. The kids pair up by age group, the wives do wifey things and TBT and I...well, we have no one to tell us we are two old to play too much Wii and poker.

This weekend though, had one big item on the agenda.

You might remember, a few months back, he and MumblingSages began a bit of a rivalry. With TBT out to a 1-0 lead in the races, MumblingSages brought can of whoop ass and tied it up. Well done by both. Even Mrs. TBT ran. I manned the camera, but may have caught a piece of the running bug. We'll have to see.

The race didn't go as well as TBT had hoped. We got back to our house after the race and got cleaned up...well, they got cleaned up. I barely broke a sweat taking the pictures. While standing around trying to figure out what to do. TBT snacked on one of my friend Eloise's gourmet marshmallows.

I'm really not exactly sure how we got on the conversation, but somehow, we got to the point where I got to showing him how I could get YouTube to work on my TV, and to demonstrate it and that the world's greatest TV cooking show host, Alton Brown, had done an episode on how to make homemade marshmallows.

Here's part 1 of Good Eats episode S11E12 - Puff the Magic Mallow:

And here's part 2.

Well, that actually looked simple enough. Here's the recipe from the show. I'd write it out for you, but I'm pretty sure it's copyrighted...Let's just say, I went to the pantry to get the following ingredients:

  • 3 packets of gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Seriously. That's all it takes + water. I'm assuming all of my readers have running water. If you have Internet and no running water or flush toilets. we need to talk about your priorities.

This is where I'll remind the readers that this content is copyrighted. Stealing shamelessly a good idea will only get you in if you are a TV executive and think this idea rocks...let me know...but TBT and I had some really cool ideas for a TV show...let's just say the name of that show could be, "MOM! Dad's in the kitchen!"

TBT and I are both well versed in the kitchen. We are grown men that know how to cook. Get over it. It happens. Anywho, neither of us had ever made a sugar based candy before. The hardware you need to make marshmallows have two items that if you don't have, you don't want to try this until you do. You MUST have:
  • A candy makers thermometer
  • A stand mixer
You don't have these, just step away from the sugar bowl. I'm assuming that the following are a given in any kitchen:
  • small sauce pan (5 cups or a little bigger would be good)
  • spatula or as my home econ. teach would say, a rubber scraper
  • 13X9 pan
  • aluminum foil
While these don't get mixed into the recipe, you will never want to handle air whipped sugar syrup with them:
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • corn starch (which tastes like shit. I tried it. Nasty stuff)
  • powdered sugar (doesn't taste like shit. Actually, it tastes really good. Made me want a donut)
If you watched those video, you should get the idea that when you are making homemade marshmallows, being one step ahead of the game is very important. This really is all about making air whipped sugar syrup and it's VERY sticky.

We had done our homework and got all of our ducks in a row. We laid the entire mess out on the counter in our kitchen and set it. Starting with the gelatin in the mixer, we carefully covered all of the powder with the ice cold water. We had no idea what blooming was all about, but hey, it's in the recipe.

The next step was to put about every last bit of glucose we had in our house into the sauce pan. It's hard to believe it, but you are supposed to add 1 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a half cup of water. It's not really edible's a little thick. Adding the corn syrup makes it look a bit more moist. Get it all boiling and watch the thermometer. We took this opportunity to prepare the 13X9 pan. It was about to have the world's stickiest goo dumped into it.

Both of us had spent enough time in the kitchen to know that when making candy by this method, the listed temp was VERY important. When a recipe calls for 240°, they mean it.

At this point, we were anxiously waiting to get to the next step. Watching the red line on thermometer move ain't real exciting, but when it got to 240° we sprang into action and got the molten sticky stuff carefully loaded into my stand mixer and cranked her up to 10. I was really disappointed I couldn't get to 11, but top speed is top speed.

The really cool thing about this process was you could hear the mixer change speeds when the goo started to change states. We stood. Watching the mixer. We had 14 minutes to kill and no idea what we gonna expect. A few minutes in, it really started to look like whipped cream, but we weren't sure if it was right.

At the 14 minute mark, we were 1 minute away from done, so it was time to add the vanilla. I'll just warn you, when you add this, it will provide just enough lube to send your mixer spinning like a top again. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The next step was the one spot you will really want to have an assistant. When the 15 minutes was done, you are gonna want to get this sticky mass out of the mixer and into your pan as quickly as possible. This stuff is VERY STICKY and starts to set up pretty quickly. A well lubed rubber scrapper will help a lot. Below is what ours looked like in the pan. I suppose you could shoot for pretty, but why? If you must know, the whisk attachment and the rubber scraper tasted delicious. Could you say no?

The next step is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do. You must wait for 4 hours for the blob to set up. Yikes. The urge to dive in is so strong...I wish you luck.

When we got to the end of the wait time, we promptly made a huge mess. You are to snap this pan over onto a sheet of parchment paper that's well covered in magic dust (corn starch and powdered sugar). For reasons that can only be explained by proper breeding, we got the bright idea to just snap and pound this into the counter. Did I mention it was well dusted with magic dust? POOF! I was covered in sugar and starch. I'm so glad my camera was no where near this.

Once out, it was time for cutting. The pizza cutter suggestion that Alton mentions works great! The following picture shows the pile of heavenly pillows we made. They were disappearing pretty fast...
The deed was done. All that was left was the eatin'

OhCountess had a pretty awesome idea. We make a pretty mean chocolate fondue. The recipe is to add the following ingredients to a fondue pot on a pretty low heat. Ours is electric and 2 to 3 is just about perfect.

To the pot we add:
1/2 cup of carmel dip for apples (store bought tub)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 bag of chocolate chips (I like to add the equivalent of 1 bag but use 3 different types of chocolate - I'm a chocolate junkie...sorry)
1 tablespoon of hazelnut flavoring

heat until smooth.

The picture on the right shows that this goodness is best served with a buffet of dipping bits. We used apple, banana, kiwi (my fav!), strawberries and you can see the marshmallow squares again.

For a little extra goodness, we crushed up some graham crackers and bought a bag of the Heath Bar toffee chips. You guessed it. First dunk the apple in the chocolate fondue and then roll it in the toffee bits.

The marshmallow of course tasted amazing plain, but the chocolate was taken up an notch...and rolling it in the graham cracker...pièce de résistance.

Easy peasy. I had spent most of this day twittering about this. I think I made people hungry.

These were a blast to make and even more fun to eat. Any questions? Let me know if you try it, I'd love to know how you did!


Tom said...

I think my blood sugar went past 250 just reading this post. I so wanted to try making those marshmallows after watching that episode of Good Eats... just ain't gonna happen here any time soon. Not until we start jogging 30 miles a day.

The chocolate fondue idea is pure genius.

WeaselMomma said...

That looks insanely yummy and messy. A kids dream come true.

Kim said...

Oh man.. that looks delish!!!!

Mrs4444 said...

Hm. No diabetics in your house, I take it? This looks like way too much fun!

I have to point out that I think you meant breeding, not breading,, though picture you breaded was pretty hilarious :)

BiggTree said...

Featuring mumblingsages as the headline pic of a marshmallow post makes me laff.

OhCaptain said...

Tom: Just remember, homemade marshmallows are fat free. The chocolate fondue is delicious and goes good with we call it healthy :)

WeaselMomma: it is insanely yummy and messy and I must be a kid too. It was loads of fun!

Kim: It was delish :)

Mrs4444: Ooops! FAIL in the proofreading department - nice catch! Depending on where you put the bar for "Way to much" fun, we had a blast making it. Hot water cleans everything up.

BiggTree: He even wore white looking a lot like a marshmallow...didn't ya notice? :D

Thanks for stopping by everyone!!!

Melisa with one S said...


I can't...WHOA!!!!

It looks...WHOA!!!

Bookmarking this one! :)

ciara said...

it's funny cos as much as i like marshmallow cream, marshmallow pies and cookies of that sort, i don't like plain marshmallows. but elton is the bill nye of food and he takes cooking to a different level, don't you agree?? anyways, i don't own a stand mixer or a candy themometer so maybe i should stay away from the kitchen? when my family has no dinner on the table, i can just tell them it's ohcaptain's fault. :)

OhCaptain said...

Melisa: Always glad to make your bookmarks!

ciara: Alton Brown is the greatest. Hands down. You don't NEED a stand mixer or candy thermometer for most things (Like dinner), but this, this is a kitchen project that REQUIRES them. Well, unless you want to use a hand mixer or better yet, a wire whisk for 15 minutes (on high..this goo is EXTREMELY stick and very thick) and can tell when the sugar syrup hits exactly 240 degrees...I'm lazy and lack any sense of temperature :)

michaelsmommy said...

If you use dark chocolate for the fondue you could even go as far as "heart healty"!!

michaelsmommy said...

Fat finger ... "Heart Healthy"!

surprised mom said...

I got a sugar high just reading this post, and looking at the photos and videos. I stay out of the kitchen, but will pass this on to my husband, daughter, sisters and BILs who do cook, bake and generally urge my scale to go up in numbers.
I can't wait to eat their results. I can see why your tweets made people hungry!

Bad Momma said...

Looks yummy! I will have to try this one day with my boys.

Currently they are using left-over Easter peeps & the microwave to make Peep-S'mores.