Friday, January 14, 2011

Ooey gooey marshmallows!

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows to be exact.

I saw this recipe on Joy The Baker a little over a month ago and kept marking it unread over. and over. and over.  I thought to myself, ok, these are messy, very messy.  Plus they take a good bit of time from beginning to end.  Lots of waiting.  I don't know about you, but I don't really like to wait for the end result.  That's right, I'm an impatient baker.  When it got closer to this past weekend I realized I didn't have any plans and Hubby had to work an overnight shift Friday night.  30 hours of alone-ness = perfect time to make messy and time consuming marshmallows.  Then the weekend turned into a 5 day "vacation" from the "Snowpocalypse 2011".  We got 6 inches of snow plus about an inch of ice here in Atlanta and it literally shut down NE Georgia for 3 days, and things still aren't really back to normal.  Every night Hubby and I had hot chocolate and s'mores with our yummy marshmallows. 

Two days after I made my marshmallows.  We went for a walk to explore the major road near our complex.  Not a single car!

So anyways, after I decided I was going to make these sticky creatures, I went to the grocery store to buy the three ingredients I didn't have.  I needed some more honey because Hubs uses it for his bread (he makes a loaf of homemade bread once a week) and we were running low, some cornstarch, and some vanilla bean.  Now I have never bought a vanilla bean but I thought I would get more than one in a package.  Those things are expensive!  One vanilla bean for $8!  Highway robbery.  But I have to say that in the end it was totally worth it.  Not only do you get to say that you seeded a vanilla bean (you use the seeds of half of one for the recipe), but you also get the deliciousness that is honey vanilla bean marshmallows.  Trust me, it's worth it.  Oh, and do yourself a favor while you're at the grocery store and grab the rest of the "ingredients" for S'mores... and maybe some dark chocolate hot chocolate packets too.

I followed Joy's recipe.  But there are a couple of things you need to know before you make these.  

1. You MUST use a stand mixer.  I'm not kidding when I say that my mixer was wobbling on the counter in the final stages of the mixing.  I was worried my poor little holy grail was going to die.  Thank God it survived.  But those marshmallows, they ain't playin!  

2. You need a candy thermometer.  I got a super cheap one from Bed Bath and Beyond for maybe $5.  And once you have a candy thermometer you can make pralines too!  I'll do a post on that later.  

3. I don't know about you but when I looked at the vanilla bean I was like, "what the heck do I do with that thing?!"  For this recipe you will cut the length of it in half and then cut the very skinny width of it in half (to expose the seeds).  Then I took a knife and scraped the insides for all the little bitty black seeds.  I did this at the beginning, while the gelatin was sitting, because it's a little messy and a little tedious.  I put the seeds in a little ramekin and set them aside until the recipe called for them.  Fun fact:  Did you know a vanilla bean is from an orchid?  I had no idea!  

4. I know I said this was messy, and if you read Joy The Baker's post she talks about having marshmallow in her hair at the end, she's not kidding.  By the time I was finished I had hand prints of cornstarch and powdered sugar on my shirt and pants and marshmallow on my face!  So take it from me, don't wear your favorite clothes when you make this... heck don't even do your makeup, you'll just have to wash your face when you're finished because you know you have to lick some off the spatula once you're finished.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the aftermath because my hands also had marshmallow on them and Hubby was still at work... and I wasn't about to touch my newish baby camera with that sticky mess!

The recipe says to use a clean wet spatula to prevent sticking.  You can probably ignore that... no matter what you do this stuff sticks to everything!


I let it set for about 6 1/2 hours.  That was perfect.  Make sure you get the cornstarch and powdered sugar mixture on every single last bit of the surface.  Have I told you it's sticky?

As Joy The Baker says, the marshmallow pillow.  It is such an odd fluffy smushy texture.  When you are ready to cut it with your pizza cutter coat the cutter with a TON of non-stick spray.  If you don't it'll get stuck all up in that marshmallow pillow. 

 YUMMMMMMMY GOODNESS!  I tried some homemade hot chocolate and it was just so so.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I prefer the package kind better.  And the Hubs did too.  We like dark chocolate hot chocolate around here.  And since these marshmallows are on the bigger side I would suggest only putting one in your hot chocolate or you may end up with some of your quite warm beverage on your chin and your shirt.  I may or may not know that from experience.  Just sayin.  In S'mores, these are TO DIE FOR!  We did them in the microwave because we don't have a fireplace in our little 2 bedroom apartment.  But make sure you don't walk away from the microwave... the fluffy creatures tend to grow exponentially between the 18 and 22 second mark.  Like almost take over the microwave.  That's the theme of this post, messy but SO worth it!

Enjoy the deliciousness!

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