Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

So, 2016 was a weak year for this blog. I was mostly distracted with work and a new house, plus two big trips, to Ireland and Russia. Hopefully I can get myself back on track this year but I feel like I have a lot to learn again. All that said, it's 2017 now and I recently tried a new recipe that warranted a blog post.

I like to follow tradition at Christmastime and bake a bunch of sweet treats to share with co-workers, friends and family. But I find that most years I end up throwing away lot of leftovers after the holidays because some desserts just doesn't strike people's fancy.

So this year, I was looking for something different than my usual cookies and brownies. And, flipping through the pages of the New Cook Book from Better Homes and Gardens,  I stumbled upon marshmallows and thought, what the heck.

Although I screwed up a number of times before accomplishing the final results, these have turned out to be a hit and now that I know how to make them (with a few tweaks to the recipe) I'm up for trying different variations.

This recipe is for peppermint marshmallows but you can easily omit the peppermint extract and stick with vanilla like the original recipe calls for. I thought it would be cool to add the peppermint flavour, especially for hot chocolate.

A couple of notes: 
- You need a candy thermometer. I don't have a candy thermometer so I used a meat thermometer and clipped to the edge of my saucepan and it worked just fine.

- The original recipe calls for raw egg whites. I couldn't fine any pasteurized egg whites at the grocery store so I attempted to pasteurize eggs myself by following a recipe in my cookbook. I ended up wasting more eggs then I'd like to admit. It was a pain in the ass. After doing some research, I realized that the egg portion isn't even necessary, so I skipped that step.

That about covers it, now here's my sticky recipe...

- non-stick cooking spray or oil
- 2 envelopes of unflavoured gelatin (about 4 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light-colour corn syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- food colouring (optional)

1) Line a 13x9 baking ban with plastic wrap or line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper. Coat the plastic or paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray.

2) In a heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside.

3) In a saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup of water, 1 3/4 cups of sugar and the corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, clip thermometre to the saucepan and let it simmer over medium-high heat until the temp reaches 260 degrees F (don't overcook it or you'll end up with dark brown bitter candy). Remove from heat, pour over gelatin mixture and stir until combined.

4) Gradually beat the gelatin and candy mixture on high until it magically becomes a marshmallowy texture. Add pinch of salt, vanilla and peppermint while mixing.

5) Once the marshmallow is a nice thick but pourable consistency, pour into the prepared 9x13 pan. At this point, I dropped food colouring onto the marshmallow and used a toothpick to swirl it around for a more pepperminty look.

7) Coat a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, coated side down, over the marshmallow to flatten it and remove air bubbles. Then place in the fridge for at least 5 hours.

8) After chilling, mix cornstarch and powdered sugar in a bowl or bag. Remove the marshmallow slab from the pan, and use a greased knife to cut 1-inch squares. Coat each square in the powder mixture and place them in a container with parchment or wax paper between layers.

That's it! Enjoy with hot chocolate or on their own!

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