I have to say, I have been putting off this post for a few days now. Friday’s news really hit a little too close to home for me. On Friday, it was bad enough learning about what happened – in the state where I went to elementary school. But Saturday, when I learned that it was two first grade classrooms, it was a little too much to swallow. My younger daughter is in first grade, and I just can’t imagine what a nightmare those poor families are living right now. I tried to stay away from the computer all weekend – and we didn’t have the television on except for football on Sunday – but today I couldn’t avoid it any longer. It was hard enough leaving the house knowing my kids would be at school today. I got to my office and just cried. I wanted to call the schools, and make sure they were going to start locking the doors during the day – but I decided they would get many hysterical calls today, and I wouldn’t add to the chaos. This is just part of the world we live in, and it makes me sick. We have to enjoy every minute we have – especially with our little ones. My heart goes out to all the people suffering from this horrendous tragedy. I hope we can look back at this as the event that changed things in this country. We can always hope.
Last week I took a Holiday Gift Making class at my favorite community kitchen – The Pantry. It was awesome, although I really didn’t need any more edible gifts. I have about 80 jars of jam I made this summer and fall… It was really fun, and I came home with 12 more nicely wrapped gifts from the kitchen. As if that wasn’t enough – my older daughter asked when we were going to make our annual holiday pretzels. Seriously? Did we need more treats – of course we did, how could a holiday season go by without making those? So – on Sunday afternoon, we got out the supplies, and the girls and I hammered out another 7 bags of gifts. I swear we could go into business at this point. Does anyone need any?
These marshmallows were one of the treats we made at the class last week – and what an incredible treat they were. I was snacking on them the entire time. There were not the easiest of the holiday treats, but they were definitely worth the trouble. Be careful if you make these with kids – they need to watch you pour the syrup into the egg whites. They will have great fun decorating though!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup instant espresso
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 ounce powdered gelatin
- 14 ounces sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 1/2 ounces egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- good quality dark chocolate for decorating
Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar together. Prepare a 9×13″ pan by greasing it lightly with the vegetable oil. Dust it with half of the powdered sugar mixture and lightly shake off any excess.
Mix together the vanilla bean seeds and sugar. Rub with your fingers until the seeds are incorporated into the sugar. Mix the water and vanilla sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the instant espresso until it is completely dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.
When the coffee is chilled, slowly sprinkle the gelatin on top, stirring it in to keep it from clumping. Place this over a pot of hot water to melt the gelatin, stirring occasionally.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 cup of water in a pot over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and bring to a boil. You want the syrup to eventually reach 260 degrees. When the syrup reaches 240 degrees, begin beating the egg whites until they begin to look like meringue. The goal is to get the egg whites to whip up at the same time the sugar syrup reaches 260 degrees, adjusting the speed of the mixer as needed. Once they are stiff and syrup is at 260 degrees, begin slowly pouring in the syrup while continuing to beat the whites on medium high-speed.
If needed, re-warm the gelatin mixture and then pour it into the meringue. Continue whipping until the marshmallow mixture is glossy, tripled in volume and doesn’t visibly have steam rising from it. Immediately pour into the prepared pan and quickly smooth the top flat. Let the marshmallow sit, uncovered, for at least 3 hours at room temperature.
Dust a work surface with the rest of the sugar cornstarch mixture. Run a knife along the edges to loosen the marshmallow and turn out onto the surface. Cover with a layer of powdered sugar and rub in with your fingers. Cut the marshmallow up into squares and toss the squares in the powdered sugar mixture. Decorate the marshmallows with the melted chocolate. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Espresso Marshmallows with Dark Chocolate