Sunday, November 9, 2008

Marshmallows on the Atlantic



Feeling the need to really get into it all (I don't consider camping as getting away from it all, but instead further emersing myself into the world) I packed up my brother's car and headed down to the Florida Keys for a one night, two day camp out. It was nice and cold (in the low 60s, upper 50s, Huzzah!) and I knew that this served as the perfect excuse to make some fresh marshmallows. Arriving extra early into work one morning I boiled down a nice simple syrup and beat it with some gelatin until I had what one could consider the porterhouse of marshmallows. One giant half sheet pan full of dense, spongy, soft, white confectionary goodness.

Cutting these revealed wonderful and rather large pillowy cubes of nostalgia. Not many people continue their love affair with marshmallows into adulthood. Back in Sept on a recent trip to NYC I remember taking the subway from Bushwick up to Chelsea just so that I could get some vegan marshmallows from the Whole Foods. Marshmallows are a classic, especially on camping trips and I promise you people will be impressed when you tell them that you've made your own. Most people fall into believing the myth that they are difficult to make. Sticky? Yes. Difficult? No. And a fresh marshmallow is leagues above the bagged varieties sold at your local grocer. Upon toasting these beauties developed a nice, slightly crunchy shell, a la' creme brulee, that held a molten gooey mess inside. Truly perfect for slightly charring and snacking on at 7:30 in the morning while watching the sun come up over the Atlantic on a chilly laid back morning.

This batch was shared with two lovely gentleman who had camped out at the site next to mine. Mark Adams (of ) and Hugh are close friends who travel the countryside by motorcycle. Hugh is a budding shamen and Mark is an accomplished oil painter. They are both very sweet guys who traded Tanqueray Rangpur Lime Gin with Rose's Lime juice for some fresh marshmallows and a campfire. I consider it a good trade. Mark was so taken with the alien appearance of the roasted marshmallow that he painted a still life of it, which can be found on his blog, check it out! He also was such a sweetheart that he is mailing me the original, which will proudly be displayed on my wall for years to come.

I doubled the recipe so that it would fit into a half sheet pan and I would have plenty to share with people.
3 envelopes unflavoured gelatin
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 TBL vanilla extract
Veg oil for spraying the pan
Powdered sugar for coating the marshmallows.

1.Oil a 9x13' pan, set it aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, soften the gelatin over 3/4 cup water. Cover the bowl and set it aside to allow the gelatin to soften until needed.
3. Combine the sugar, 3/4 cup of the light corn syrup, and the remaining 3/4 cup water in a heavy medium saucepan. Place the pan over med. heat. Stir until the sugar dissolved completely and the mix comes to a boil.
4. Using a candy thermometer to gauge temp, cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches a soft ball (240*F.) Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining corn syrup.
5. With the mixer at high, beat the hot syrup into the large bowl with the gelatin in a slow steady stream. Beat for 10 minutes, possibly less until the mixture triples in volume and becomes very stiff. Beat in the vanilla.
6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top as much as possible using a thin, flexible spatula, or wide knife dipped in water. Set aside uncovered for 8-10 hours at room temp, or till mixture is cool and firm.

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