“Would you like to bake something,” I asked Little Missy?
With a grin that erupted from her sweet ten-year-old face, “Can we?” was her enthusiastic reply!
Many of you Dear Readers have followed the baking journey of my granddaughter since the inaugural penning of these baking chat columns. Time to gather with our grandchildren, Little Missy and Little Sir, is often at a premium. Therefore, when certain holiday breaks present themselves, creating something sweet and memorable in Miss NiNi’s food lab is at the top of the agenda!
Such was the case the other day.
The young fifth grader and I did not actually bake a dessert, but we discovered delicious top-of-the-stove creativity!
My solo maiden adventure of creating puffy-as-a-cloud handcrafted marshmallows turned out to be an easy-peasy adventure in the kitchen. A sophisticated champagne flavor using the actual bubbly produced a lively flavorful sensation. Now, I was ready to make these soft confections more kid friendly. With Little Missy at my side, we were ready to engage in marshmallow flavor creativity.
When enlivening a dessert with flavor, Miss NiNi will always choose a baking emulsion over a commonplace baking flavor or extract. “Why,” you might ask?
Baking emulsions are made with a water base. Therefore, the taste does not bake or cook out of the product.
With the use of a baking extract which has an alcohol base, it is certain to expect that the anticipated flavor will be sharply reduced when heat is applied to the batter or mixture.
As a small arsenal of flavor-baking enhancers are housed within my cabinet, Little Missy chose an it’s- Spring-but-Summer-is-on-its-way strawberry emulsion. Oh, the anticipation of delightful fruity strawberry floating like a cloud in delicate marshmallow goodness was at a high level, Dear Readers!
Drifting Off to Dreamland
Little Missy and I gathered ingredients and began the handcrafted puffy passage to marshmallow dreamland.
This young lady knows everything there is to know about measuring wet and dry ingredients. Like a flash, she was reading the recipe and preparing ingredients to ready me for the heating-on-the-stove process.
For safety sake, when working with extremely hot sugar and syrup, I’m the official keep-my-attention-on-the-hot-mixture baker. Little Missy did keep checking the rising temperature of the mixture with my Insta-Read thermometer. But, even by doing that, she was quite conscious of steam arising from the pan’s boiling contents and the harm it could cause to her delicate skin.
Upon completion of the entire marshmallow-mixing process, the aromatic delicately pink gooey mixture was poured into a prepared pan and allowed to set for a few hours.
Dear Readers, well-known commercial marshmallows do not hold a candle to the flavor and texture of this handcrafted delicacy!
The marshmallow-topped hot-chocolate days of winter are past, but take joy S’Mores lovers! These homemade marshmallows will increase the Yum Factor of any campfire dessert treat!
Just for the record, baking emulsions (Miss NiNi uses LorAnn brand.) can be purchased at amazon.com or some baking supply stores.
The recipe was easy! The results were awesome! My enthusiastic baking partner and I made exquisitely joyful memories together.
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown
3 packages Unflavored Gelatin
1 c. Ice Cold Water, divided
1-1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
1 c. Light Corn Syrup
¼ t. Kosher salt
2 t. Strawberry Emulsion
2 drops Pink or Red Food Color, optional
¼ c. Powdered Sugar
¼ c. Cornstarch
Place gelatin into bowl of a stand mixer along with ½ c. of water. Have whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining ½ c. ice water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and cook for 3-4 min. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer on to the side of the pan and continue to cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees F., (or use an Insta-read thermometer to check temperature) approximately 7-8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.
Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour sugar syrup down side of bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all of the syrup is added, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Add strawberry emulsion and optional food color during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pan as follows.
Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat bottom and side of the pan. Return remaining mixture to bowl for later use.
When ready, pour mixture into prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into pan. Dust the top with enough of remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
With the aid of a bent-handle metal spatula, turn marshmallows out on to a cutting board and cut into desired size using a pizza wheel dusted with powdered sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.