It's something that a lot of people think require a factory and some magic dust to make, but it turns out, it's pretty simple. When I found out how to make them, though, I do admit that I was still put off by "gelatin". Not what it is, so much as where to get it. I assumed that this was the "magic dust" and that I wouldn't be able to find it anywhere. Until I tasked my father with looking for it when they went shopping. Lo and behold! 70g (6 sachets) for about 90p. So now, I will tell you how you can make them - but, a word to the wise, be kind to your waistline.
You will need:
Electric whisk (you can try with a hand whisk but it'll take a veeery long time and your arm will fall off first)
A mixing bowl
A saucepan (and a stove, obviously)
A cake tin will suffice (I use 9 inch)
50ml water (separated into 2x 25ml)
1/2 sachet of gelatin
2 cups/100g sugar
45ml corn syrup (karo light, or golden syrup)
Pinch of saltVanilla flavouring
I must stress to those of you in the UK, every recipe I've seen has called for "Karo light corn syrup" - obviously, this isn't sold over here, but it turns out it's the same as golden syrup, and it works fine. The only difference is that golden syrup is, well, golden, and Karo light is clear. Even this won't make a difference. But I would advise trying to get Lyon's Golden Syrup, and get it in a little squeezy bottle. It saves a lot of mess.
First thing is first: grab your sieve and your cake tin, and line it with icing sugar. Don't be too stingey with it. This mixture will be sticky, and if there's any area of the tin that's not coated, you may have trouble removing it later. Once you've done that, you can begin:
1. Measure out 25ml of water and pour it in a mixing bowl, then open a sachet of gelatin. You don't have to be too accurate with this. As long as one sachet is equivilent to between 10 to 15g, you should be fine to just guess about half of it. Sprinkle this over the surface of the water until you've used it all then put it to one side. Don't mix it!
2. (This step should take about 10 to 15 minutes) Now that that's been pushed to one side, take your saucepan and put it onto a medium/low heat. Empty the second 25ml of water into the pan, along with the 45ml of corn syrup, a pinch of salt, 100g sugar, and stir gently until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, leave it to boil on an increased heat without stirring for between 5 to 8 minutes. I must stress at this point, though, don't walk away from it. I did this and when I came back it had all burnt. I wasn't gone longer than a few minutes! It bubbled up and went dark brown, and it absolutely stank the whole kitchen out. I may have had the heat up too high as well, I'm not sure. Learn from my mistake.
3. Once step 2 is complete, the gelatin should have absorbed all the water. No, it will not wobble like jelly does, believe me, and, when I've done it, the granules are all still very visible. The only difference is that the water has been absorbed. So don't panic at this step like I did the first time and add more water. Trust me, it is fine. Get your electric whisk and slowly add the hot syrupy mixture into the gelatin in a thin stream, mixing on its lowest setting while doing so. Once the mixture is combined, increase the speed gradually. You may notice, if you've used golden syrup, that the mixture is not white, but rathera pale syrupy colour. Don't panic. It surprised me when I first tried it, but after it's been mixed completely, it will be almost white.
Continue mixing and increasing the speed until it's at its heighest setting. You can stop once the mixture has become fluffy and stiff (it looks sort of like when you melt a marshmallow). Now, go ahead and stick your finger in. It shouldn't be very hot. Personally, I quite like the taste as it is, but my boyfriend did not. So now, if you would like, you can add a few drops of vanilla flavouring (or any flavouring you've chosen instead) and mix for another 30 seconds.
4. Now, grab the dusted pan you did earlier and spoon your mixture in. You might be able to pour it, but if it pours easily, you've added too much water. You should be better off spooning it in. Try to keep the top as level as you can. I make a lot of cakes, so I'm used to slopping batter in messily and it coming out nice and neat, having risen, but this does not happen. Any lumps and bumps will remain. It may slightly flatten itself but not by much. When you spoon it out there will be a lot of these lumps and bumps, but a clever way to flatten them without making more is to grab a spatula and run it under the tap. Don't dry it, but if it's too wet you can just flick it once. Use this to spread the top out and the mixture won't stick to it, which will eliminate most of the creases.
5. Leave the tin to one side and you're done. I sometimes sprinkle some icing sugar on top of it, but I'm not happy with the finish. It's up to you. Some people say it sets in 4 hours, others say 24. I leave it overnight and it's generally fine. However, I will admit, that after 4 hours, it doesn't seem to have set any more then than it did the next morning, but I personally won't risk taking it out before hand.
Once it's set, grab a knife and run it between the marshmallow and the edge of the tin to loosen it. You might want to stick it in the bag of icing sugar first to cover the blade and keep the mallow from sticking to it. Once you have loosened the edge, use the knife to lift it from the base. You'll probably want to do this at several points around the tin. If you dusted it well, it shouldn't be too difficult. You might want to dust your work area with sicing sugar too, because now you'll either be able to lift the marshmallow out with the knife, or turn the tin upside down and tip it out. This looks awesome.
|A gert big slab of marshmallow!|
The best way I've found to cut the slab into more civilised pieces (you could just eat it as is, but people might think you're strange. Just make sure you drawn your curtains!) is to use a pizza slicer, one of those rolling blades. Coat that in icing sugar and slice it into strips, the thickness is up to you. The thicker they are, the less mallows you'll get, though the calories will remain the same. Once you've got your strips, cut them across the other way. You might want to dip them in icing sugar because the new edges will be very sticky.
There are variations to this recipe. For example, you can simply increase or decrease the quantity, or you could use different food flavoruings - LorAnn Oils have lots of unusual flavours! - or colours. Another alternative that I did try was using strawberry juice instead of water. I got lots of fresh strawberries, chucked them in a bowl and mashed them up with a potato masher. Sieved the juice into another bowl, then put the mushed strawberries back and mush them some more. Repeat this and add more strawberries if you need to until you have 50ml of strawberry juice. I only actually needed to use half to two thirds of a standard box of strawberries to achieve this. You can substitute the strawberries with the fruit of your desire, and simply use the juice instead of water. If, however, you can't quite make enough juice, add water to it to make the difference, but make sure you alwayshave 2x 25ml of fluid. No more, no less (unless it was too sticky the first time around). This is great, because it gives it a nice natural pastel pink colour, and natural flavour and smell. They're gorgeous. And, instead of using icing sugar, use crushed freeze dried strawberries (or whichever fruit). It'll give it more colour, and keep it from being sticky.
If you try this recipe, do let me know how it goes!