Soft, squishy, sweet globs of deliciousness that provide a delicate melt-in-your-mouth sensation — this is the accurate definition of a marshmallow for me. These little, cute pillows of sweetness are more than just a candy, which can be used to confect inventive desserts and snacks that are sinfully indulgent.
The versatility of this tasty treat allows it to be enjoyed as it is, be used as a core ingredient in cooking myriad desserts and also act as an accoutrement to a plethora of dishes. This is partly the reason why marshmallows are largely enjoyed equally by both children and adults!
Thus, read on to explore the endless possibilities of delectable food you can concoct with marshmallows, and you may even consider grabbing a pack of this addictive snack to munch on while you're at it.
Homemade marshmallows 101
Marshmallow, one of the earliest forms of confection, has to be listed as one of the greatest inventions of the humankind as well. Albeit an everyday sweet treat that is widely available now, the earliest forms of edible marshmallows were in fact food reserved only for the royals and rulers in ancient Egypt.
Enough with the food history now!
Although marshmallows are readily available at stores in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours, you will be surprised to know that they are actually very simple to whip up at home. But why go through the effort of homemade marshmallows when you can easily grab a pack from a candy store?
The same reason why you would make homemade bread or cookies — because they are tastier and you can infuse any flavour your heart desires into them. Homemade marshmallows are usually softer as well, and there is definitely something irresistible about a freshly made batch of marshmallows.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup cold water
4 tsp gelatine powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp flavouring or extract
Pinch of salt
Prepare a square or rectangular baking pan by generously coating all sides with oil and a good dusting of icing sugar meticulously, to ensure no spots are left. Also, bloom the gelatine with half cup of cold water and set it aside.
Pour the remaining water in a saucepan along with corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt. Cook this over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. After that, stop stirring and bring this to a boil. Using a food thermometer, remove it from heat once this reaches 115° C.
With the bloomed gelatine, start whisking it on a low speed and slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture in a streak. Once all the liquid is incorporated, gradually increase the speed to high and beat this until it reaches a thick, velvety consistency.
In the last minute of whisking, add in the flavouring or extract of your choice — such as vanilla, peppermint, or fruit extracts. For funky looking marshmallows, add in a couple droplets of food colour. Once completely done, pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan and smoothen the top with a greased silicon spatula.
Leave this to set for 4 hours or longer at room temperature. When slicing in, make sure to dust the surface, knife, and your hands with powdered sugar, as they tend to be very clingy.
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp extract or flavouring
½ cup cold water
1 tsp agar-agar
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup icing sugar
¼ cup corn starch
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Aquafaba is the liquid in which legume seeds are soaked in, so you can drain a can of chickpeas and use the liquid inside for this vegan recipe. Whisk the aquafaba and cream of tartar together on high speed for approximately 30 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Add in your choice of extract or flavouring and whisk for another 10 minutes or so.
In a saucepan, add cold water and agar-agar and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes while stirring constantly. Drop in granulated sugar and simmer this mixture until it reaches 115° C.
Once there, remove it from heat and drop this very gradually into the aquafaba mixture. Once fully incorporated, increase the speed to high and continue whisking for another 10 minutes. If you want to add food colour, now is the time!
Mix icing sugar and corn starch to attain a uniform mixture. Grease a square or rectangular baking dish generously with oil and then coat all sides heavily and evenly with the icing sugar mixture. Pour the glossy, voluptuous marshmallow mixture into the pan and level it off with an oiled spatula.
Leave this to firm up at room temperature for 6 hours or longer. Once they are ready, slice them through with a sharp sugar coated knife on a dusted surface, as they will be very sticky.
Photo: Fariha Amber