There is nuttin' better.
Of course with hot chocolate comes the glorious, beautiful, full of tasty goodness thing we call mar-chellos. My oldest use to call it that when he was itty-bitty-witty little thing. Weird one, he is. He also used to call toothpaste peesh-posh...come to think about it, there is a lot a don't understand about that teenager right now, so I'm not even going to try and explain the whole marshmallow thing.
So....let's talk marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows. If you have never had any you need to rush out right now and put this on your bucket list. You are in for an extremely awesome yummy gooey goodness treat.
Okay, you might be saying to yourself, why would I make me something that they sell at the store in perfect little squares. First and foremost, store bought marshmallows have some ingredients in them that I certainly can't pronounce - that cannot be good. Second, they are extremely cheap to make and have just a few ingredients. Our goal is to cut out as many processed, store bought things out of our house, but I'm certainly NOT giving up these babies. So homemade is the way to go.
So without further adieu...I give you homemade marshmallows. (Recipe credit: Alton Brown)
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches the temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.
While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan as follows. Combine the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
It is at this point that you will inevitably have a helper come and find their way into your kitchen to "help" you clean the bowl. Don't worry...it's natural.
After the allotted amount of drying time, turn the marshmallows out onto the cutting board (or counter...it was late and I was getting lazy) and cut into 1 inch squares using a pizza wheel cutter dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Yes...this can be a bit of a messy recipe. However, I've done it so many times that I know how to contain the mess. So you see...practice makes perfect, right? So don't let the mess turn you away. And if you really think about it, life's messy sometimes and you're doing okay with that one aren't ya? So let's get on out there and make us up a big ol' batch of homemade mar-chellos.
...you won't regret it