Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Marshmallows


Yes, it's December 27th and I'm late for the Christmas recipe party. It's a miracle that I managed to pull off making  all of  the traditional German recipes that my Mutti would serve her children for decades.  Just an hour before our traditional Christmas Eve dinner was to begin, I was cleaning powdered sugar off my kitchen floor, I had  bowls of leftover melted white chocolate and dark chocolate and I had just finished making these cookies:


I had carefully cultivated several Christmas cookie and candy recipes on my Pinterest boards,  a few weeks before Christmas. I had a game plan. I was going to make cookies dough each weeknight, after a long day at the office. I had a box of full of Christmas recipe ingredients-- chips, nuts, coconut, sprinkles. I was all set to go!

I figured that I'd have all day Saturday to bake, Sunday to prep for dinner and it would be smooth sailing. In between, I'd become a dedicated food blogger and post a recipe every day.

That didn't happen.  Life did.  Last minute Christmas shopping happened.  Despite all the last minute stress,  our Christmas Eve was filled with a lot of laughter, noise, good food and I loved it. The reaction I received from every person who ate one of these chocolate dipped marshmallows was priceless. They asked me, with wonder, how in the world did I make marshmallows?! Was it magic?

It's easy.  The hardest part is having the right equipment and techniques.  A stand mixer is priceless. You can make these with a hand-mixer, but I can't guarantee that your biceps won't be trembling after waiting about 12-15 minutes for the marshmallows to whip up.

I read a lot of reviews on Alton Brown's recipe, but I didn't have any problems with the recipe.  For one, I did use a 9x13 baking pan and lots of powdered sugar (I nixed he cornstarch).  I swear by Baker's Joy non-stick spray, which proved to be my hero.  

To make marshmallows, you need unflavored gelatin, corn syrup, sugar and ice water. From there, you can have carte blanc with flavors. For Christmas, obviously, I went with peppermint.

The first step is to "bloom" 3 packets of unflavored gelatin with ice cold water.  While the gelatin is doing it's thing, you need to make the syrup.

In a pot, with a lid, add sugar, water and corn syrup.  Cook, lid on, for a few minutes and then remove the lid and insert a candy thermometer. Lightly boil until it reaches 240F.  Need I say that you want to be very careful, as this is as hot as napalm? (Alton's words.)

Once the syrup reaches 240F, remove from heat.  The gelatin looks hardened, and I turned on the mixer (with whisk attachment) on low. Very carefully, and slowly, pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl.

Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. You'll know the marshmallow is ready, because it looks visibly thick-- and I can see it separating from the sides of the bowl. Be sure that you have your prepared baking dish ready to go.  Have an off-set spatula and regular spatula ready, sprayed with non-stick spray right next to it.

Pour the marshmallow into the prepared baking pan.

Spread evenly...

If desired, place random drops of red food color all over the top and swirl with a toothpick. When finished, sift powdered sugar on top, cover tightly with foil and gently shake sideways and up and down to coat.

 Here's one of my "fail" moments. I forgot to add the red color.

I took a chance and added the red food color, on top of the powdered sugar-- but it wasn't pretty.  Soooooo, I quickly made a second batch using a glass baking dish. (The disadvantage of a glass baking dish, are the round corners. I just reserved those for myself, to enjoy.)

I had no problems removing the marshmallows. I simply lifted the entire piece onto a cutting board, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  I used a very sharp knife, coated with non-stick spray (you could use a pizza cutter) and cut my marshmallows. 

To keep the marshmallows from sticking to one another, I dipped each side in the baking dish to coat with powdered sugar. 

I melted Belgian dark chocolate (from Trader Joe's) in a glass bowl, set over a pot of barely simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl never touches the water).  I found cake pop sticks at a crafts store, and dipped them lightly in chocolate, then inserted them into a marshmallow.  I then dipped the bottom of each marshmallow in chocolate, and set it on a wax paper lined baking try.

I did not have time to wrap them in the cellophane bags and tie them with pretty ribbon.  Why? Well, it was 1/2 hour before the troops were due to arrive.  

Know what? My guests and family didn't care.  They saw them on a plate and loved them. As each person left for the night, I slipped a few into the cellophane bags and received hugs and gracious thanks.

That was good enough for me.

As for the "ugly" fail batch of marshmallows... floating in a cup of hot chocolate, all melted and gooey, they are perfection!

I have found my new signature Christmas gifts. Next Christmas, I'm going to set my expectations levels to be more realistic. I absolutely cannot work full-time until two days before Christmas and expect to be Martha Stewart. Not gonna happen.

I also plan to make marshmallows in different flavors-- toasted coconut. Yes? Mint? Yes. Oooooh, and I'm going to dip these in caramel. Yes, I am!

Making homemade marshmallows is a lot of fun, and I hope that you try it, too.


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Sireesha Puppala said...

Really a feast for my eyes...looks awesoe

Kim said...

Your chocolate dipped peppermint marshmallows look amazing! I simply couldn't get enough chocolate and peppermint this season.

And by the way, I second everything you mentioned about being a super organized blogger. I don't have it in me to be that way.

Introverted Art said...

this looks so yummy and aesthetically beautiful.

Joanne said...

There were so many things I intended to make on Christmas that just got dropped as I ran out of time. It happens. BUt these marshmallows are truly gorgeous!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I didn't host holiday dinners this year because I couldn't take off work. I made a couple dishes on Thanksgiving and let everyone else handle Christmas. If I don't have a day or two to prepare, I'm not going to have my entire family over. I know it was stressful, but kudos to you for trying!

One day I'll try marshmallows. They don't look too difficult. Maybe I'll be able to take time off from work next Christmas.

Karen said...

Beautiful marshmallows and just perfect for this time of year. I made them once - you just can't compare them to store-bought!

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

These are stunning! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!