As I write this, with fingers still sightly sticky, several dozen pale green marshmallow 'M's and '2's languish on my counter top, drying themselves and awaiting their dusting of icing sugar. They will then be tucked away in a glass jar until Mateo's 2nd birthday, which is fast approaching. (that recipe for vanilla marshmallows to come in a later post)
I've discovered that marshmallows are an ideal do-ahead party treat, as they stay fresh for up to three weeks---I'm discovering a lot about homemade marshmallows these days.
It all started with this batch featuring toasted coconut.
Alright, so I may be the last one to jump on the homemade marshmallow bandwagon, but the point is, I'm here now and very happy about it.
I'm still holding out on the trendy cake-pops and macarons, or macaron-pops, for that matter. While I admire them (and the talented individuals that create them) immensely, I just don't have that kind of time.
Marshmallows, however, I can do. They can be whipped up in a mere 15 minutes, perfect for squeezing in during a hectic day. And I do mean 'whipped up'; do not attempt these without a stand mixer, as it does the brunt of the work.
This recipe was straight out of my new Gourmet Today cookbook, and are pretty darn fine. I loved the contrast of the chewy toasted coconut with the oh.so.soft marshmallow interior; however, the coconut police (a.k.a, Danny) had issues with it.
Since then I've played around with a few other versions, which I'll be bringing you eventually. For now, these are a wonderful starting point, provided you like coconut!
Toasted-Coconut Marshmallow Squares
2 cups finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavoured gelatin
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (I omitted this)
a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
a candy thermometer
- To avoid stickiness, make the marshmallows on a dry day.
- The marshmallow squares keep, layered between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.
Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F
Toast coconut on a baking sheet in oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle bottom with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water in bowl of mixer and let soften while you make syrup.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, remaining 1/2 cup water, and slat in a 1- to 2- quart heavy saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Insert thermometer and boil, without stirring, until it registers 240F (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat and let stand until bubbles dissipate.
With mixer at low speed, pour hot syrup into gelatin in a thin stream down side of bowl, being careful to avoid beater. Increase speed to high and beat until very thick, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and beat for 1 minute more.
Spoon marshmallow mixture over toasted coconut in baking pan and press evenly with dampened fingertips to smooth top (it will be very sticky). Sprinkle top evenly with 1/2 cup toasted coconut. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours.
Run a sharp knife around edges of marshmallow and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip into 3/4-inch squares.
Put remaining toasted coconut in a small bowl and dredge marshmallows in it to coat completely.