Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pumpkin pie marshmallows

Making marshmallows is pretty much the most magical thing you can do in the kitchen. The behind-the-scenes part isn't all that exciting (hot sugar, softened gelatin, and some quality time with the hand mixer) but the result never fails to shock people who have come to believe that marshmallows are one of those things, like AstroTurf or Velveeta, that can only be made in a factory by women wearing hairnets.

{yes, it's messy}

One of the best things about homemade marshmallows is that they're a blank canvas, just waiting to be given color—the soft pink of strawberries, green with dots of lime zest, or pale orange, flecked with cinnamon and dusted with graham cracker crumbs.

The idea of a pumpkin pie marshmallow has been floating around in my head for awhile (truth be told, I have a Google doc filled with marshmallow flavors I want to try out) and for some reason, midnight on night three of my candy making madness seemed as good a time as any to try it out. It didn't set up as quickly as the other batch of marshmallows I had made that night, so it didn't make it into the candy boxes (a girl can only stay awake so long). So, these fluffy clouds of pumpkin are a gift for locals only. Sorry long distance friends. You'll just have to come visit.

{pumpkin pie marshmallows, ready to be given}

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallows
recipe adapted from this one by Molly Wizenberg

- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 cup water, divided
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin 
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 5 graham crackers, crushed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* special equipment: a candy thermometer

Line a 9x9 square baking pan with foil (I use this size because I like my marshmallows to be big squares, but you get fewer this way. Use a 13x9 pan for more, smaller marshmallows). Coat foil lightly with nonstick spray. 

Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment (I don't have one of these, but I imagine it'd make things easier. I use a hand mixer). Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.

Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240°F, about 8 minutes. While the sugar mixture is boiling, measure your pumpkin and spices, you'll want them handy in a minute.

With the mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high. After 4 minutes of mixing (the mixture will be thicker and turning white) add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla with the mixer still running. Beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 10 more minutes. 

Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with wet spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.

Combine the crushed graham crackers and powdered sugar. Sprinkle some on a cutting board. Once cool and firm, turn the marshmallow slab out onto the prepared board. Cut into squares, then coat with the rest of the graham cracker mixture, making sure to cover all sides of the marshmallows so they won't stick together.

1 comment:

  1. we can check pumpkin off our spreadsheet. almond in april please!


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