Artisan cherry colada marshmallows – gluten and egg free

CherryColadaMarshmallows_Named.jpgIt’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’.

Notes

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!

Equipment

  • Sugar thermometer
  • Medium to large heavy bottomed saucepan (avoid non-stick)
  • Baking paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Bowls
  • Electric hand mixer or stand mixer (it’s just too much for hand whisking)
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Place the gelatine in the cherry juice and rum in a bowl – leave to dissolve
  2. If you are using a bulb thermometer put it in the saucepan now
  3. Put the golden syrup and caster sugar into your saucepan
  4. Add just enough water to cover the syrup/sugar (but no more)
  5. 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
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. Monitor the temperature of the sugars now – it needs to reach 130°C as a minimum but do not reach higher than 139°C
  9. Move the saucepan off the heat to cool a little for about 1 minute
  10. Get your hand mixer or stand mixer ready
  11. 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
  12. Dust the baking paper sheet with a layer of the dusting powder (you don’t want to see gaps)
  13. Start to whisk the cherry juice and gelatine together
  14. Stop whisking and pour the hot sugars into the bowl, down one edge only
  15. 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
  16. Add the food colouring if using now
  17. 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!
  18. 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
  19. Generously dust the top of the marshmallow and lay the second baking paper sheet over the top
  20. Use the rolling pin to smooth the top surface and make it level
  21. 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
  22. When it’s ready to cut peel off the top layer of baking paper
  23. Warm a sharp knife and make the first cut – if it is too gooey leave for an hour more
  24. You can lightly coat the knife blade with a little vegetable oil to make cutting easier
  25. Cut into squares and lightly toss each piece in the remaining dusting powder
  26. Store in an airtight container

Marshmallow brownies

This is sort of a tease – yes, there are marshmallows in the brownies but you won’t find individual pieces of marshmallow.

I’ve added them to the recipe because they melt into the rest of the brownie during the baking process and add even more unctuousness to the finished bake, making these some intensely gooey brownies!

Be warned: not to be eaten while trying to diet 🙂

Equipment

I used a 15 cm x 30 cm loaf tin (a 500g loaf tin) this is because it gives more edges to the brownie than a square tin (as the brownies are so gooey, I think they each need at least one side that is a crisp edge). However, a 20 cm x 20 cm tin would be OK.

Ingredients

  • Caster sugar – 175g
  • Demerera sugar (or light brown sugar) – 175g
  • Cocoa powder – 75g
  • Plain flour – 60 g
  • Ground almonds – 15g
  • Eggs, medium whole – 4
  • Butter, unsalted and melted – 190g
  • Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Milk chocolate, chopped up – 100g
  • Dark chocolate, chopped up – 100g
  • Macadamia nuts (could also use hazelnuts, pecans or your choice), chopped up – 50 g
  • Marshmallows – about 8 large or a good handful of mini marshmallows

Method

  1. Line your tin
  2. Heat the oven to 160 C fan / 170 C conventional
  3. Put everything in a bowl (barring the chocolate and nuts) and mix until combined – make sure there are no flour/cocoa lumps
  4. Once mixed, add in the chocolate and nuts and mix again
  5. If you’re using large marshmallows you’ll need to chop them up into smaller pieces – cut each into eighths or thereabouts
  6. Dot the mix with the marshmallows (don’t use all at once) and carefully mix in – you need to ensure that the marshmallows don’t stick together and get completely covered in the mix
  7. Repeat until all the marshmallows have been added and mixed in
  8. Pour the mix into the tin and level off
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for about 45 – 50 mins
  10. It’s done when there is a crust on top but the centre is still gooey but doesn’t ‘jiggle’ when you wobble the tin
  11. Leave to cool in the tin

Christmas spiced marshmallows

Christmas spiced marshmallosThese are a lovely way to get your fix of Christmas spices without having yet another mince pie or bite of gingerbread house. They are a lovely handmade gift to give away too, presented in a cellophane bag tied up with some festive ribbon.

Equipment
  • A medium to large heavy base saucepan
  • A sugar thermometer
  • Cake tin about 20cm x 20cm (or whatever you have around this as there’s no need to be exact) or a slab – this is to pour the marshmallow into or onto for setting
  • Stand mixer or bowl and electric hand whisk
Ingredients
  • Cranberry juice – 120 ml
  • Star anise – 1 ‘star’
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 stick
  • Glucose – 35 ml
  • Sugar – 450 g
  • Egg whites – 2
  • Gelatine leaves – 8
  • Cherry brandy – 20 ml (you could also use amaretto or an orange liqueur)
  • Food colouring – pink or red – optional if you think the marshmallows need some extra colour
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting (that’s a 50:50 mix of cornflour and icing sugar) – a good few tablespoons full
  • Chocolate (your choice of dark or at least 50% cocoa solids milk) – 200 g
Method
  1. Tip the cranberry juice in the sauce pan with the sugar, star anise and cinnamon, and bring to a light  simmer for 3-4 mins. Stir to check that the sugar has dissolved
  2. Remove the star anise and the cinnamon
  3. Add the glucose and put the sugar thermometer into the pan, if you’ve not done so already
  4. Bring to a boil and leave to get to 130 C / hard ball stage
  5. While the juice and sugar syrup is heating whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks
  6. Put the gelatine leaves into cold water to soak
  7. When the syrup has reached the right temp, take the pan off the heat and plunge the base into cold water
  8. Start to whisk the (already whisked-to-a-peak) meringues and pour the syrup in as you are whisking – be careful as the syrup is scalding hot and the whisking could flick it out of the bowl at you
  9. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine
  10. Add the gelatine and the cherry brandy now and keep whisking
  11. This is the time to add the food colouring if you want a vibrant colour
  12. Whisk on a medium to high speed until the marshmallow mix cools and really thickens – this could be 10 minutes
  13. Lightly grease your tin and copious dust with the confectioners sugar – including the sides. If you think you’ve added enough you probably still haven’t! Make sure you cannot see any of the tin, not even in the corners as the marshmallow WILL stick! Alternatively, dust a marble slab to pour the marshmallow on to
  14. When it’s cooled pour the marshmallow into the tin/onto the slab – it won’t go far as it’s so thick. It should also self-level
  15. Leave to cool fully – at least an hour and then dust the top with more sugar
  16. Tip out of the tin if you used one
  17. It can be cut with a sharp knife dusted in more confectioners sugar – and roll the cut marshmallow in the sugar on your counter to cover the newly-cut ends
  18. Tap off the excess confectioners sugar from the cut marshmallows
  19. Snap the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Temper the chocolate if you want a glossy finish (see my post on tempering temperatures)
  20. Layout a sheet of baking paper – enough to space out all the marshmallows on
  21. Pick up each marshmallow and half dip in the chocolate, laying out each one in turn on the baking paper to cool and harden