It’s been a few weeks since I made any confectionery, which is a bit odd for me – I usually make sweets more often but I’d just sort of forgotten about it. What brought me back was that I can’t use my oven at the moment until it sees a repair man, as one of the heating elements actually caught on fire the other day. So currently I cannot bake and am only cooking on the hob until it’s fixed.
Gives me a good excuse to make marshmallows and a few other desserts and confections as a change from pastry and sponge for a while!
Broadly speaking there are two types of marshmallow recipes: one with egg whites and one without. Of course, ingredients and volumes/mass of ingredients vary within those two basic rules. This is a recipe without egg white and I have used dried coconut milk powder instead of cornflour in the confectioner’s sugar mix so it is entirely gluten and albumen free.
If you want a recipe for marshmallows that uses egg white please see my Christmas spiced marshmallow recipe. (There’s very little difference, other than I think the ones with egg white are a little bit ‘lighter’ and less dense to bite into).
By the way, homemade marshmallows are nothing like those you buy in packets. These are soft and pillow-y and utterly gorgeous. Not that I don’t like shop-bought marshmallows but those that are made by hand are far superior and just ‘different’.
If you do not have dried coconut milk powder (find this in the world ingredients aisle in your supermarket or on a Caribbean food stall) you can use cornflour instead, but this will mean the recipe is now not suitable for coeliacs. Also your marshmallow will just be cherry, not cherry colada!
- Sugar thermometer
- Medium to large heavy bottomed saucepan (avoid non-stick)
- Baking paper
- Rolling pin
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer (it’s just too much for hand whisking)
- Pastry brush
- Cherry juice – 90ml
- White rum – a ‘splash’ – about 10 – 20ml
- Gelatine – 8 sheets of leaf gelatine or 13 g of powdered gelatine
- Caster sugar – 265g
- Golden syrup – 95g
- Red food colouring – optional. I recommend gel or powdered otherwise it adds more liquid to the mix
For the coconut version of confectioners’ sugar
- Dried coconut milk powder – about 4 tablespoons
- Icing sugar – about 4 tablespoons
- Place the gelatine in the cherry juice and rum in a bowl – leave to dissolve
- If you are using a bulb thermometer put it in the saucepan now
- Put the golden syrup and caster sugar into your saucepan
- Add just enough water to cover the syrup/sugar (but no more)
- Heat fairly gently until the sugar has dissolved into the water then crank the heat up to high (maybe not the highest setting but just under) to make the sugars boil
- Use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar from the sides of the pan (this stops crystalisation which will affect the structure of the marshmallows and make them unpleasant to eat)
- Break off two large pieces of baking paper (about the size of a newspaper) and put one on a flat surface and have the other and the rolling pin nearby
- Monitor the temperature of the sugars now – it needs to reach 130°C as a minimum but do not reach higher than 139°C
- Move the saucepan off the heat to cool a little for about 1 minute
- Get your hand mixer or stand mixer ready
- Mix the dried milk powder and icing sugar together to make the dusting powder and leave a clean spoon in it so it’s all to hand when you need it
- Dust the baking paper sheet with a layer of the dusting powder (you don’t want to see gaps)
- Start to whisk the cherry juice and gelatine together
- Stop whisking and pour the hot sugars into the bowl, down one edge only
- Now you need to whisk – gently to start off with or the liquids will slop about and might burn you. When it’s begun to be combined turn it up to max
- Add the food colouring if using now
- This will take some while to mix thoroughly. You are looking for long strands to appear as the whisk drags the surface of the marshmallow. Have you ever chewed bubblegum and pulled the gum from your teeth with your fingers? Remember how that looks? The strand stage for marshmallows is just like that!
- When you’ve reached that stage stop whisking and pour the marshmallows into the middle of the baking paper allow it to spread a little – you want marshmallows between 1 to 2 cm in height
- Generously dust the top of the marshmallow and lay the second baking paper sheet over the top
- Use the rolling pin to smooth the top surface and make it level
- Leave the marshmallows now for several hours – and ideally overnight. If you try to cut them too early they will really stick to the knife and be too ‘gluey’ yet
- When it’s ready to cut peel off the top layer of baking paper
- Warm a sharp knife and make the first cut – if it is too gooey leave for an hour more
- You can lightly coat the knife blade with a little vegetable oil to make cutting easier
- Cut into squares and lightly toss each piece in the remaining dusting powder
- Store in an airtight container