Chocolate Malt Marshmallows
Before we get to the recipe, here’s a run-down of what should happen in each step while engaging in sweet, sweet mallow-making.
The Bloom: “Blooming” gelatin refers to softening it in a liquid before using it in a recipe. Prepare your bloom nice and early to ensure it’s fully hydrated. First, put your cold water or other liquids in a small heatproof bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over it before whisking. You’ll get fewer lumps this way. I recommend 5 to 10 minutes of blooming time, but there’s no such thing as letting a bloom go too long—more time is always better than not enough. When I’m ready to deal with the bloomed gelatin, I melt it with a quick 20- to 30-second zap in the microwave (or over simmering water in a double boiler, if you’re micro-less) and then give it a good whisking. Finally, I rub a bit of the mixture between my fingers to make sure there are no undissolved granules before adding the bloom to the mixer bowl.
The Syrup: The base for the recipe is a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, water, and a touch of salt, melted to a syrup and then boiled to a certain temperature. Sometimes I’ll throw in additional liquids, depending on the flavor. Whatever is in the syrup pot is what you’ll stir together gently over high heat. When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup comes up to a bubble, clip a candy thermometer onto the pan. From there, just keep a keen eye on that temperature until it reaches the degree indicated in the recipe. You can also stir the mixture occasionally if you wish or if the recipe calls for it to prevent burning.
The Mallowing: In this step, the bloomed gelatin, hot sugar syrup, and air come together with the help of an electric mixer… and pure, pillowy magic happens. I never tire of watching fresh marshmallow billowing up in my mixer bowl. At this stage, you might add extra flavorings to the batter, and you’ll pour or pipe it into a waiting pan or molds and dust it with a coating before letting it cure. You might notice that my method for marshmallow-making is different from most. Many other similar recipes have you whisking the bloom into the hot syrup and then pouring the whole lot into a running stand mixer on high speed. I’ve done it this way, and you tend to get a whole lot of sugar syrup spinning onto the sides of the bowl rather than into your mallow batter, along with a good chance of ending up in a burn unit. Not delicious, really dangerous.
Chocolate Malt Marshmallows
About 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows
5 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
the chocolate malt syrup:
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder*
1/2 cup plain malted milk powder**
7 tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
the sugar syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup1
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup grated bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao)
* The deeper and richer the cocoa powder, the more intense the color and flavor will be (I like Valrhona).
** Look for plain malted milk powder (not the chocolate-flavored kind) in supermarkets, either near the hot cocoa mixes or by the ice-cream fixings. Carnation and Horlicks are popular brands.
Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl, and let it soften for 5 minutes.
Make the chocolate malt syrup: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cocoa powder, malted milk powder, hot water, and corn syrup until smooth. Put the bowl on the mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment.
Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 248°F to 250°F. Meanwhile, microwave the gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds, and pour it into the chocolate syrup. Set the mixer to low and keep it running while you check the sugar syrup.
When the syrup reaches 248°F to 250°F, slowly 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. Increase to the highest setting and beat for 3 to 5 minutes more, adding the vanilla in the last minute. The finished marshmallow will be tripled in volume. Pour it into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sprinkle grated chocolate evenly and generously over top. Let set for about 6 hours.
Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan and invert the slab onto a work surface. Sprinkle it with grated chocolate. Cut it into pieces and dip the sticky edges in more chocolate, patting off the excess.
To shave the chocolate, grate bar chocolate over the largest holes of a box grater.
Excerpted from Marshmallow Madness! by Shauna Sever Copyright © 2012 by Shauna Sever. Excerpted by permission of Quirk Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.