If you have never made marshmallows before, be warned…plain gelatin STINKS. It is far worse than anything I would have expected and is enough to make you nervous about the sweet little clouds you thought you were creating. But push through, it will be worth it in the end.
I have made marshmallows before, so the smell was not the biggest challenge this time around. Instead, I had to overcome misleading recipes. The last time I made marshmallows they were light and fluffy, the cream poured easily into the pan, and there was little struggle on my part.
I started the evening with a recipe for Orange Marshmallows. I switched out the blood oranges for regular ones. This recipe actually worked better and worse than the second one I tried. The recipe came together just fine…but when we got to the final mixing stage I foolishly followed the instructions and let it go for 15 minutes! This was far too long and caused me an immense amount of grief when trying to transfer the mixture into the pan. It was sticky and impossible to work with. After fighting for a good 10 minutes, I ended up tossing half of the mixture out because it simply would not come out of the bowl. The mixture that made it into the bowl ended up making stiff and slightly chewy marshmallows …all of this was a bit disheartening and by the end I didn’t even want to try fighting with the second batch I had intended to make.
But it was for my darling Paddy’s birthday dessert, how could I not? So, on I trudged…right into these Raspberry wonders. Thinking that the extended mixing was what lead to the mess I had just dealt with…I kept the mixing to around 5-10 minutes for these, paying close attention to the texture. These came together as I had expected them to and transferring to the pan was effortless. As an added bonus, the raspberry mixture was able to overpower the stink of the raw gelatin.
Fast forward to s’more making the following day. The orange marshmallows puffed up nicely and became perfectly delectable sandwiched between graham crackers with some dark chocolate. Once roasted, they weren’t chewy in the least! The raspberry marshmallows, on the other hand, slid off the skewer and turned to liquid almost instantly. The ones that made it on the their graham crackers were just as delicious as the orange ones, but far trickier to get there.
I learned a couple lessons during this process. 1. Recipes are not always right. I have been baking long enough to trust my own judgement. If it seems wrong, it probably is. But, 2. Sometimes things that are wrong for one thing turn out to be just right for something else. I thought those orange marshmallows were just a mess from start to finish and I was disappointed with almost everything about them. But the bottom line was that they tasted great and turned out to be perfect for roasting! And finally, 3. My son knows things he has no business knowing. While he was eating his Cheerios Sunday morning I decided to cut up the marshmallows that had been setting over night. When I turned the first one out onto the counter he said “Woah, that’s a big marshmallow!” What? How can you know what this is…you have had a marshmallow once, and it was not homemade, and certainly not pink! How? I was dumbfounded! He then asked for marshmallows for the entire rest of the day!
Although some parts of the process were more hectic and less fun than expected, the end results for both batches were delicious and no one was left hungry or disappointed!