Red Stick Spice store owner Anne Milneck served many years as her daughter's Girl Scout leader. Attrition in Girl Scouts increases as girls get older, but this troop stayed in tact well into their pre-teen years. Anne credited her stellar leadership for the troop's longevity, but her co-leader quickly corrected her. "It's not you. It's the marshmallows."
These homemade marshmallows were brought to every campout and backyard campfire during those years. There are girls who were known for eating 10 in a sitting. They are light, fluffy and perfect for roasting. They melt well on a cup of hot cocoa and make an excellent holiday gift. Just tie up a box with some milk chocolate bars and grahams.
Adapted from epicurious.com
1 cup cold water, divided
3-1/4 ounce packets of plain gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Vanilla Puree
1/2 cup potato starch *See Note
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl Vanilla Bean Powder
Line a 9X9 square pan with foil. Spray with nonstick spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to bloom.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolved, stirring often. When the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to clean any sugar crystals that have formed. Do not stir after this point.
Boil until the thermometer reaches soft ball stage--240 degrees. This will take 15-20 mins.
With the mixer running, pour the hot syrup in a slow stream down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. This will prevent splatter and burns. Increase the mixer to medium-high and beat for 15 minutes until the marshmallow cream is very thick and stiff. Pour in Vanilla Puree and beat for about 30 seconds to incorporate.
Using a wet spatula, press the mixture in the prepared pan. Keep rewetting the spatula to smooth down the mixture. Cover with foil and allow to cool for several hours at room temp. No need to refrigerate.
Combine the potato starch, powdered sugar and Vanilla Bean Powder in a large bowl. Turn the marshmallows onto a silpat, sheet of parchment or cutting board. Cut into large squares and toss each marshmallow in the mixture to coat all sides. Tap off excess. Place on a platter. Can be store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.
*Anne has made these marshmallows for years. The best coating combination is the one listed: Potato Starch and Powdered Sugar. Potato Starch is available at most grocery stores in the baking section near the corn starch. If you can't find it, a corn starch-powdered sugar combo can be used. Or you can use all powdered sugar. The end result is a much sweeter marshmallow with a different (slippery-er) mouthfeel. But it still works and certainly won't be noticed by young campers!
Could our homemade marshmallows get any better? Yes, indeed! Pair them with our Aztec Cocoa. Yum!