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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making Organic Peppermint Marshmallows

Organic Peppermint Marshmallows 
For teacher gifts this year, I made peppermint marshmallows, bagged them and tucked them in an insulated tumbler with a tag on the straw that said, "Thanks for quenching my thirst for knowledge." These go great in hot chocolate or coffee or on their own!
Organic Peppermint Marshmallows
adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe

cooking spray
2 cups organic sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin (I used a box of Knox- It's fun to say!)
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring (I used gel because that's what I had on hand, but liquid would work much better. Lesson
  1. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. (These look much better "thick" than they do "flat", so although it fits, I don't recommend using a baking sheet. Stick with the 8x8' or 9x9" pans.)  A glass dish works better, but if using a metal pan, line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. [I just popped the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, but if you prefer to follow Martha's directions to the letter:] Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into glass or lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares. [I found that the marshmallows cut easier after 4 hours than if you wait until the next day, so especially if you are using cookie cutters to make shapes, don't wait that long. Otherwise, a pizza cutter works well.]
Note: the sides and bottom of these are very gummy, so I gave them all a tumble in some powdered sugar before bagging. I found some great translucent, frosted baking bags with swirls at the Dollar Tree to package them in so that their loveliness shines through!

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