Renwald: Make your own homemade marshmallow chicks
Marisa Renwald April 2, 2012 3:42PM
Updated: May 5, 2012 8:05AM
Propped high on a tower of chocolate bunnies and cream-filled eggs, they’re often the last to be gulped down in the days that follow Easter Sunday.
While greedy hands pick out the more sumptuous treats, these marshmallow chicks fall to a demise of fossilization and sticky plastic grass. Strange. All of their glitz and colorful sugars are what make the Easter basket look so festive. That means the snubbing might have something more to do with the flavor than the appearance.
Easter basket props — that’s all they are. But a fresh spin on this traditional spring candy might turn them from a basket trimming to a likely competitor for the chocolate bunny.
It’s hard to go wrong when you make your own homemade marshmallows.
The flavor is so original — just like a marshmallow should be. This recipe for marshmallows gives you the leeway to stray from tradition and include a little bit of springtime flair.
Looking for something a little fresh? Use a bit of a flavor extract and just a smidge of a pastel food coloring in each batch. Although heaps of flavor possibilities can transform a pure vanilla-mallow into an interesting substitute, lemon is a springtime favorite. It’s fresh, mild and certainly very appropriate for the sudden change in weather.
Pay careful attention to the recipe instructions to ensure these marshmallows whip up beautifully. Be careful not to stray or you’re suddenly in the running for a complete flop.
Although there are marshmallow recipes that pipe out the fluff to create shapes of little bunnies or chicks, this is not one of those. A standard pan marshmallow, these are firmer with a cleaner bite and bigger depth for flavor that make them the title-holder over the piped version. But that’s just a personal preference.
Once your pan of ’mallows has set, dust cookie cutters in shapes of eggs, chicks, bunnies or other springtime favorites in cornstarch or powdered sugar. Cut out your treats, adorn with pretty strips of melted white chocolate or dyed sugars, and place at the summit of your Easter baskets.
Like the store-bought version, they may still harden when exposed to the air, but you can guarantee that these marshmallow treats won’t be exposed for long.
3 envelopes powdered gelatin
1/3 cup water
11/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
4 drops lemon-yellow food coloring
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup each powdered sugar and cornstarch
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and cover with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup of cold water. Let the gelatin absorb all of the water, about 1 minute.
Combine the water, granulated sugar and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let come to a boil, brushing the sugar off the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. When bubbles start to form around the edges, insert a candy thermometer. The sugar is ready when it reaches the soft-ball stage — about 240 to 250 degrees.
In the meantime, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, whip the egg whites to stiff, but not dry, peaks in a large mixing bowl, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overwhip.
When the sugar has reached the soft-ball stage, make an Italian meringue by pouring the cooked sugar down the side of the bowl of the meringue with the mixer on. When all sugar has been combined, quickly dissolve the gelatin by pouring it in the hot pan that held the sugar and swirl it around until it dissolves. Add the dissolved gelatin to the hot meringue and continue to whip until stiff, glossy and fluffy — about 7 minutes.
Add food coloring and lemon and vanilla extracts now. Whip until combined.
Spray all sides of parchment-lined baking sheet with cooking spray again to prevent marshmallows from sticking. Use an offset spatula to spread the meringue evenly into the pan until it is completely full. Level it as much as possible, but do not deflate the meringue.
Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and use a fine sieve to sprinkle most of it over the top of the meringue. Let it dry and firm up for about 3 hours at room temperature.
Use cookie cutters dipped in powdered sugar mix to cut out shapes of marshmallows. Lightly dust each marshmallow in the mix and then keep in a plastic container with a lid, if not using. Decorate, if desired.
Adapted from marshmallow recipe in “Dessert Circus at Home” by Jacques Torres, 1999