Thursday, 30 October 2014
Super Squidgy Mega Marshmallows!
My failsafe Gluten Free goodies of chocolate macarons and pistachio fudge are always welcome, but seem a bit rich to be snuck in to the picnic basket! So, I've been merrily making rice crispy cakes, by melting marshmallows and butter together, adding gluten free rice crispies and whatever random sweets are lying around from party bags etc. The bright nuggets of crushed up sweets (our favourites are jelly beans) are little explosions of flavour and look like little specks of confetti in the white sticky squares. I even made a 'Frozen' version for the 4 year old's birthday party, which went down with the parents almost better than the kids!
* Marshmallow crispy squares are ridiculously easy, but if you need a recipe, head to the ever reliable Nigella's recipe here.
This week, it being half term, Grandma came to stay with us. In anticipation of this, I picked up a bag of marshmallows and one of jelly beans in the weekly shop, ready for a 'bake with grandmother' session. Well, imagine my surprise (not) when I went to the cupboard to find the bag of marshmallows over half empty! I suspect the husband, but he's passing the blame firmly down to the girls.
So what does a girl do, when she wants to make crispy squares and doesn't have enough marshmallows? Well, she hits google of course! I found most recipes needed corn syrup, which I neither had to hand, nor remembered ever seeing in the supermarket! I googled a bit more, taking note of the many pearls of wisdom warning me that I was about to embark on a tricky task that would make a bomb site of my kitchen. Well, those people have not seen my kitchen during the course of a normal day. It's a bomb site anyway, so we might as well get marshmallows out of it!
I found a couple of recipes here and here that were exactly the same and didn't require corn syrup, so I went with those.
I have got to say, I found the whole thing such a lot easier than expected, and as long as you cover your mixer with a tea towel whilst it's doing it's business, there really isn't much mess. The recipe was dead quick and easy and the results were delicious!! You are going to need a decent stand mixer for this though. An electric hand whisk isn't going to cut it. Your stand mixer doesn't have to be bright pink of course, but your marshmallows will taste better if it is.
It did make quite a lot of marshmallows and they are very sweet (but oh so much nicer than the shop bought ones, and with none of the nasties) so I did wonder how best to store them all and keep them fresh. Once again, a bit of googling came up trumps with the suggestion that they can be frozen, very successfully. Much like my favourite Nigella fudge, they don't actually freeze and can be eaten straight from the freezer! Brilliant! They are that little bit more hidden so that you're not as tempted by them on a daily basis, but there when you want to wow some unexpected guests. That's my kind of homemade treat!
Give them a try. I promise you won't be disappointed. They honestly take less than 10 minutes work in the kitchen, and then overnight to set. Oh, top tip for cutting them in to chunks afterwards - fill a pint glass with very hot water and dip your sharp knife in to it, in between each slice, wiping with a clean towel afterwards. Your knife will slide through the mallow so much easier if it's clean and slightly warm. Then dust the cut edges liberally with icing sugar, or do what I did and plonk your squares into a freezer bag, with a tablespoon or so of icing sugar and give them a good shake.
These were almost too good to melt down in to crispy cakes (although we did use some for that purpose) but they were absolutely amazing, melting in to a cup of Jamie Oliver's Epic Hot Chocolate.
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