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Chick this out: Making your own marshmallow treats

  • Detroit Free Press
  • Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 7:19 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 7:29 a.m.

How to hatch marshmallow chicks

(See main marshmallow recipe for amounts and more details.)

1. For colored sugar to sprinkle on finished chicks, place granulated sugar in a plastic bag and add a few drops of food coloring. Massage the color into the sugar.

2. Mix unflavored gelatin and water; set aside. For the syrup, mix sugar, salt, water and corn syrup in a saucepan. Boil until mixture reaches 240 degrees.

3. Mix the hot syrup and gelatin in a mixer bowl. Beat with whisk at ever-higher speeds, about 12 minutes total, until tripled in volume. Add vanilla and food coloring during last 2 minutes.

4. Immediately fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip with batter. Holding the bag at a slight angle, pipe out a 2-inch-long base, then reverse direction and pipe more batter about halfway back and reverse direction again to pipe the head and beak. (It’s an S-shape motion.) After two or three, your timing and technique will improve.

5. For the eyes, use mini chocolate chips or melted chocolate applied with a toothpick. Or mix cocoa powder with water and paint on eyes.

Adapted from www.about.com.

CLASSIC VANILLA MARSHMALLOWS

From “Marshmallow Madness! Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes” by Shauna Sever (Quirk, $16.95). Makes 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch marshmallows.

Using an 8-by-8-inch pan makes a thick marshmallow. For making cutout shapes, spread the batter in a 9-by-13-inch pan. For making marshmallow chicks or to pipe out other shapes with a pastry bag, use the batter only, skipping the Classic Coating steps.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Nonstick cooking spray

FOR BLOOM:

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

FOR SYRUP:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided

1/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon salt

FOR MALLOW:

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Food coloring, if desired

1/2 cup Classic Coating plus more for dusting (see note)

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the gelatin and cold water; let soften for 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water and salt. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan so it is in the mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Do not allow the mixture to color.

Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave gelatin mixture on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.

When the syrup reaches 240 degrees, about 5-8 minutes, remove it from heat and slowly and carefully pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium, and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla and any food coloring, if desired.

The finished marshmallow batter will be opaque, fluffy and tripled in volume. To make piped chicks or other shapes, immediately spoon batter into a pastry bag and proceed.

To make regular marshmallows for cutting out or slicing, immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift Classic Coating evenly and generously over top. Let set for at least 6 hours or overnight in a cool, dry place.

Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a Classic Coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

Note: To make the Classic Coating, in a large bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup cornstarch or potato starch. Or pulse a few times in a food processor.

Per serving: 47 calories (0 percent from fat), 0 grams fat (0 grams sat. fat), 12 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein, 22 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — March 20, 2013

If you’re looking for an Easter project to do with the kids, consider making your own marshmallow treats. They’re cute, festive and fun to make — for all ages.

You can use cookie cutters to cut bunny and egg shapes and then decorate them with sprinkles, edible confetti or other small candies.

Or go a step further and make your own spongy marshmallow chicks, like the 700 million Peeps typically sold at Easter by Just Born, the company that introduced them in 1954.

Making your own treats adds a personal touch to Easter baskets, and making your own marshmallows is like a super-easy science project. All you need is unflavored gelatin, water, sugar and corn syrup. Pure alchemy!

First you soften the gelatin (called “blooming”) in a liquid (typically water). Separately you heat together sugar, corn syrup and water for the syrup so it reaches 240 degrees. (You’ll need a candy thermometer.)

The two mixtures are gradually whipped together at ever-higher speeds (a stand mixer is recommended) until they triple in volume and become a silky batter of pillowy white fluff.

In less than 20 minutes, you have a base for making a pan of classic marshmallows or for filling a pastry bag to pipe out a couple dozen chicks or other shapes.

If you need more inspiration, check out “Marshmallow Madness! Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes” (Quirk, $16.95) by Shauna Sever. The cookbook is loaded with instructions for sweet and savory marshmallow treats. Even its cover is soft and puffy.

“People think it’s this big crazy mess,” Sever says of making marshmallows. “But it’s not as daunting as people think.”

Once you make the batter, all you need to do is let it set or “cure,” as she calls it, and then cut it in to squares or shapes.

She points out that homemade marshmallows are gluten- and egg-free and an alternative to the cookie or dessert platter.

“They also make a good edible gift,” Sever says.

The pages of her cookbook are loaded with marshmallow flavor twists, from bubble gum to root beer float. There also are dessert and craft ideas. Sever even developed savory marshmallows that use ingredients like bacon and rosemary, and cocktail-inspired marshmallows.

Margarita marshmallows, anyone?

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