Sunday, December 22, 2013

Memories from the Past

Do you ever see an idea in a magazine on or TV - I just dated myself again - or on Pinterest [there, that's better!] and you say, "I just have to do that!"?  I am particularly prone to doing it when I am already overloaded.  For me this year it was making marshmallows.

Yes, I know, it's bizarre, but i was fascinated.  In the December issue of "Better Homes and Gardens" if found a recipe for Flavored Marshmallows.  Had to try it. 
Fortunately, we have nieces in town who have school aged children who will enjoy them.  I will have to apologize to the mothers for giving their kids a box of crack cocaine sugary sugar!

The recipe was deceptively easy to follow and within 30 minutes I actually had something that looked and tasted exactly like marshmallow cream.  Into the 'fridge for the night ...

... and this morning -  voila!
This is where the memories from the past come in.  Way back in Girl Scouts the "in" thing to make was a tuna noodle casserole (canned tuna, mushroom soup, spaghetti, and crushed potato chips - don't you remember?) and Mother got recruited to help teach half the troop how to make it.  Only three easy steps.  What mother wouldn't want to help?

So on the appointed afternoon half my troop trouped into our kitchen and the stuff started to fly.  There was soup everywhere, chips crumbled all over the floor, cans of tuna - well, you don't even want to think about it.  Fifteen happy pre-teens went home that day - each carrying a casserole to proudly present to their families for dinner and Mother took to her bed!

Making marshmallows is a bit like that.
First, you peal off the parchment paper and start coating the block of marshmallow with confectioner's sugar and then you start cutting it into strips, then cubes.  Not terribly difficult, but it takes forever and gets sugar everywhere.

Ninety minutes later there are three holiday boxes ready to deliver, plus a big bag left for us - we will find someone to give it to, lest I eat them all!
I felt like one of those Girl Scouts headed home with my treasure, leaving behind a kitchen for Mitchell to clean. 
Ok, so I cleaned, too.  I'm tougher than Mother was!
In case you would like to give it a try - not this year! - the recipe follows with comments.  
Ho, ho, ho!

Flavored Marshmallows
Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2013

Prep:  25 minutes.  Chill: 4 hours   Cut up: 90 minutes

4    Envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
3    cups granulated sugar (not sure which one this is in England)
1    cup light-colored corn syrup (I used Karo - the clear one)
1/2 cup purchased syrup (I used Starbucks Caramel because I had it - peppermint would be good)
1/4 tea salt
     gel food coloring - whatever color you like
     confectioner's (powdered) sugar

1.  Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment, leaving 2 inches of paper hanging over the sides.  Coat with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 
2.  In a very large bowl put gelatine.  Pour the water over to cover completely and stir to combine.
3.  In a large saucepan combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, flavored syrup, and salt over medium heat, stirring until sugar is completely melted.  Bring to a boil over medium high, add a candy thermometer and boil until temperature reaches 240 degrees - about 2 minutes.
4. With mixer set on medium speed, pour sugar syrup down the side of the bowl slowly into the gelatin.  Increase speed to high and mix five minutes until marshmallow is light and fluffy and bowl is cool to the touch - about 122 degrees.
5.  Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Add drops of food coloring to mixure about 2 inches apart and swirl in coloring with a table knife or spreader.  Chill uncovered 4 hours or overnight.
6.  Remove from refrigerator.  Sift powdered sugar over marshmallow.  Turn out onto cutting board that is coated with powdered sugar and peel off the paper.  Then sift more powdered sugar over the marshmallow.  Using a sharp knife cut cut into squares.  Place additional powdered sugar in a bowl and dredge the cubes to prevent sticking.  Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Makes 117 one-inch marshmallows.

Nutrition:  I am not going to share that.  It's pure sugar, but then ... it's Christmas.


1) I used a 15 x 10 inch rimmed cookie sheet  - yield was 160-ish marshmallows slightly smaller than one-inch cubes.

2) Coating the parchment with non-stick spray is crucial.  If in doubt ... overdo it.

3) The gelatine may look really thick and clumped up when you start beating it, but it will smooth out as you add the hot syrup.

4) I think it would be difficult to do with a hand mixer unless you can recruit a second person.  Pouring the hot syrup down the side of the bowl would be difficult if you were trying to control the mixer too.

5) The cutting was tedious until I got a pattern.  I used my longest bread knife to score it and then slid a small knife or spreader along the blade to cut thru the mass.  It is very sticky on the sides, so lots of powdered sugar needed.  I did strips and then cut them into cubes one "row" at the time, packaging as I went.

Overall ... well worth the effort, but not very often!  Enjoy!


  1. Oh my, yep, it's a mess, but homemade does taste a lot better than store bought. Perhaps you want to bring some over? We'll build a little fire outside tonight, make 'smores and watch the stars. Bring a warm jacket as it is going to freeze. :-)

    1. Light the fire. I'm on my way. There would make awesome s'mores!

  2. Oh man, those look good! Nothing like sugary treats at Christmas time.Your niece's children are lucky.

    And in RI with two days to go til Christmas it's 60 degrees. Go figure.

    1. Mitchell liked them so much I took the leftovers to the crew at "our" Starbucks so that he wouldn't end up filled with sugarplums and sick - no one needs a sick child at Christmas!