“Marshmallows are a strange confection: familiar to most everyone, but nonetheless a mystery. We’ve all eaten them around campfires, slurped them from cups of cocoa, or plucked them, hot and gooey, from the top of a sweet potato casserole. But until I tried to make them myself, I had no clue–not the faintest–what they were made of…”
-Molly Wizenberg, food blogger at Orangette, quoted from Bon Appetit
Below I will show you, picture-by-picture, the process of making marshmallows, or as the French call them, guimauve. At work we make big batches of these pillow-soft confections to serve with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. I snapped a few photos at work one day just to highlight how interesting the process of making marshmallows can be. I apologize for any jargon that may sound confusing to you. I will try my best to explain ;)
Gelatin Sheets Gettin’ Bloomed; in other words, gelatin sheets get soaked in ice water for a few minutes to soften. In the photo above they are set on a paper towel to dry off a bit.
The Sugar Syrup: Boilin’ Sugar n’ Water with a Splash of Honey; you carefully watch the mixture boil, wait until you see slow forming big bubbles, and then you know it is time to add the gelatin
Quickly Quickly Everything in the Mixer: Egg whites get beaten/whipped to a white meringue
Glossy Pants: Hot (ish) Sugar Syrup Slowly Gets Added In, and then everything gets whisked at high speed for a good long time until nice and glossy, and the mixture has cooled down a bit
Oooo Yeaaaa. Time to add Vanilla Bean (p.s. you can experiment with all sorts of flavors at this point in the process i.e. strawberry marshmallows during summer, lavender marshmallows, coffee marshmallows…)
Spread It Out: The guimauve gets spread into a saran-lined tray and left to form a “skin” on top. The “skin” is just a layer of chewy sheen that develops from the evaporation of water and the coagulation of proteins (egg whites) working together after being denatured in the KitchenAid Mixer. Science. Crazy stuff.
Give the top of the guimauve a little dose of potato starch (or corn starch) and a flip.
Wait for the “skin” to form on the other side and give it another coating of starch.
Slice Through Into Strips. Make sure the knife is clean (have a wet towel and a dry towel for efficient wiping and drying) [peep Chef Geoff’s hands]
Oooo Baby Look At That Mountain Of Marshmallow. I want to jump in!
Wrap It Up And Label. When ready to cut, use a scissors and cut the strips into cubes. Coat each side with potato or corn starch so everything stays soft and smooth around the edges.
Drop Into Homemade Hot Chocolate, Kick Your Feet Up, And Enjoy!