Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marshmallows and Smores and Grandbabies Galore!

Well, this is the week the grandbabies came to visit Grama Max and Grampa Don in our San Francisco apartment. We're adjusting nicely thank you kindly! But of course you're going to get lots and lots about this visit- nothing livelier than a 2 year old to add a bit of pizazz- and certainly our 2 year old is lively.
But first- OUR COOKING ADVENTURE. This month's Bon Appetit just happened to have this fantastic columnist- Molly Wizenberg- "Cooking Life". Her piece this month was "Fluff Piece". A "how to" on homemade marshmallows. How timely! And right before the Grandbaby. Molly writes a blog- "Orangette"- and so if you read a person's blog- very regularly I might add -you rather think of her as a friend- someone you know- not just an anonymous writer of a column in a food magazine- in a magazine I often never even notice the name of the author- but blog's are personal- and I know Molly- and it was rather like a new friend said- "Hah- have you thought about marshmallows?"

So "we" (note that the plural form of the pronoun is being used, but I don't remember reading Molly's blog or having any say what so ever about making marshmallows) decided to make marshmallows- with Reeder- in San Fran- in the apartment kitchen. But first we had to get in a "G,Gs" (Reeder talk of pajamas, PJs). We even rather matched!

You start with 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of your heavy duty countertop mixer
I will add here that if you do not own a countertop mixer then you better just skip the details of the recipe- this is one recipe that can't be done with a hand mixer- I promise you- it just won't work.

So in the bowl of the mixer you put three packages (1/4 oz packages) of gelatin and the 1/2 cup of water and it just sits- all the water will be absorbed by the gelatin. It takes 15 minutes for this to happen- but trust me- you have plenty of time.

Combine 2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup of corn syrup, 1/4 tsp of salt. I forgot the salt and everything tastes fine- so don't think it's that critical if you happen to forget- we had lots of help- so it isn't too difficulty to see how we might have forgotten. Just imagine how much effect 1/4 tsp of salt is going to have in 2 and 2/3 cups of sugar. I'm not sure why they even put it in the recipe.

The reason there is plenty of time for the gelatin to absorb the water is that you have to heat the sugar slowly up to 240 degrees while stirring.

And we start to stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir and stir...
Reeder finally grew weary of the work and left to watch "Micky" on TV- but I continued to stir and stir and stir and stir...

Waiting for the temp to get to 240 degree. Molly says this takes about 8 minutes- but I was afraid of burning the mixture and it took me about 20 minutes- to stir and stir and stir...

Now the fun begins. And Reeder was back. You turn the mixer (with the whisk attachment) on at low speed and pour the hot sugar (Grampa Don is in charge of pouring) into the gelatin mixture.

And you gradually increase the mixer speed until it is on high (it is very, very noisy at this point so Don closed the windows because he was afraid the the neighbors would get annoyed and call the police)- so you mix for 15 minutes- And the miracle happens- it turns into marshmallow cream right in front of your very eyes- from clear sugar syrup- to white, marshmallow fluff. Amazing!

You pause the mixer and add 2 tsp of vanilla extract and then mix again for 30 seconds- and then the work begins. This glob of sticky thick sugar has to be transferred from the mixing bowl into a cake pan so that it can be spread out flat and allowed to cool.

And Reeder is helping????
And then it just sits- in a 13x9x2 metal baking pan that has been lined with foil and then coated lightly with nonstick spray.

And it just sits for 4 hours at room temperature- while it gets hard. And then you turn onto a flat surface larger than 13x9 that is covered with a mixture of potato starch (1/2 cup) and powdered sugar (1/2 cup). and coating a knife coated with nonstick spray (Don used a large chopping knife- while I was napping) you cut into squares.

You might note that there is no "we" included in this note about cleaning up this mess. That's because cleaning is not a "we" function. It's strickly a "Don" function.

And then you toss in in more starch/sugar mixture.

Ahhhhhhh, now time for the real test- how do these marshmallows do with indoor smores-

We used a graham cracker- and a tiny bar of Ghiradelli Chocolate- and topped with a homemade marshmallow- into the microwave for 12 seconds (watching this is a real treat)- And- DRUMROLL PLEASE- you have a SMORE!

Need I say more!


Anonymous said...

Whew, after reading the blog I feel as if I cooked the the marshmellows myself! Looks like you all are having a great time! love,b

Lucas said...

Well now I've seen it all! Home made marshmallows?? That's like home made gummy bears or home made licorice. CRAZY TALK! Wish I could have sampled one too! My face would have been WAY messier than Reeders.

Anonymous said...

I could not have ever imagined making home made marshmellows! Were they any better than the store ones? Or was it just one of those funtastic experiences?
Miss you,