I have great news! I have advanced to the fourth round of Project Food Blog!!! Thanks SO much for you all your votes, and I hope you will continue to support me during this round! Voting is officially open, so check out my entry on Foodbuzz and vote here!
This thrilling news means that I have another post for you this Sunday that is part of the competition. I hope you all enjoyed my Luxury Dinner post from last week, but this time I wanted to focus on something a little more lighthearted and fun. And honestly, can you think of anything more fun than s'mores? I can. S'mores made with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers. Oh yeah. These are the real thing, no jet puffed pillows or plastic enclosed crackers here.
When I decided to go camping this weekend, I knew the trip could not be complete without sweet graham crackers, rich chocolate, and sticky, gooey marshmallows for s'mores. So make sure you keep reading all the way until the end of this post, so you can check out some serious flames as we toasted the marshmallows over our campfire. No plans to go camping anytime soon? No worries, there is no shame in toasting these babies over your grill or gas burner on your stovetop. In fact, I completely support any methods that allow you to enjoy a delicious s'more; just make sure you don't burn your house down in pursuit of marshmallow goodness.
To tell you about my experience of making these marshmallows and graham crackers, I am going to do things a little differently this time. While I usually regale you with kitchen tales and general ramblings, and then share my recipes at the end of my posts, this time I will be walking you through step-by-step how to complete each recipe. There are loads of photos and helpful tips, so making marshmallows and graham crackers on your own should be easy-peasy. And let me tell you, the graham crackers were good, but the marshmallows were out-of-this-world. Truly, they are nothing like the ones you can buy in the store, and I will definitely never buy them again! If you want a printable recipe, I will be adding to this post by the end of next week.
The Perfect Homemade Marshmallows
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
Step 1: Grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch rectangular baking pan, and sift enough powdered sugar over the pan to coat the bottom and the sides.
Step 2: Add 1/2 cup cold water to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), and sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand to soften, and mix to make sure it is all 'wet.'
Step 3: In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, mix corn syrup, sugar, and 1/2 cup cold water over low heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Then, increase the heat to medium/medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil, and do not stir it. Heat this way until a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer measures 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This may take 8-12 minutes depending on exactly how high your heat is, but be sure not to overcook it, or heat it too high.
Step 3b (do this while your sugar is boiling): In medium bowl, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. You should not do this with your stand mixer, unless you have two bowls (remember, your gelatin is in the bowl already). I did this with my immersion blender with the whisk attachment, but you would also use a hand mixer, or whisk by hand (flex those muscles!). Set egg whites in fridge until ready to use.
Step 4: After your sugar mixture has reached 240 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat and pour it over the gelatin mixture in your stand mixer. Stir until all the gelatin is dissolved (the consistency will be thick and the color will be brownish). Then beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and at least tripled in volume, about 6 minutes in the stand mixer. Add the egg whites from step 3b and vanilla into the sugar mixture, and beat until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and sift about 1/4 cup confectioners sugar over the top. Let stand until firm, at least three hours, although I let mine sit overnight at room temperature.
Step 5: Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow.
Step 6: Turn pan over onto a cutting board sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, and use your fingers to loosen one corner of the marshmallow from the pan. Let the rest of it drop from the pan by gravity onto the cutting board.
Step 7: Using an oiled, sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the marshmallows into cubes 1-inch cubes. Sift the remaining confectioner's sugar into your baking pan, and roll the cubes in the sugar to coat all six sides.
Step 7 con't: Alternatively, you can also cut the marshmallows into even smaller squares (perfect for adding to hot chocolate), or you can cut out cute shapes from the marshmallow using cookie cutters. I would recommend slicing the marshmallow block in half for this, so you have a slice of marshmallow that is approximately 1/2-inch thick (see photo). Then coat the side you intend to cut with the sugar before using your knife or cookie cutter.
Marshmallows keep for one week in an airtight container at cool room temperature. Although, they won't last that long because they are amazing. AMAZING. The most perfect marshmallow ever.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey
5 tpsp full fat milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Step 1: Combine the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to incorporate. Add the butter, and pulse on/off until the mixture resembles sand.
Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, milk, and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture in the food processor, and pulse on/off until the dough comes together. It will be very very sticky (look, it ate my spoon!). Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and turn the dough out onto it. Dont try and handle it, you will just make a mess. Just use your fingers to gently pat it into a rectangle, wrap, then chill until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Step 4: Divide the dough in half and return the rest to the fridge. Sift out flour onto your work surface, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out your dough to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Again, the dough is sticky, so I would recommend working as quickly as you can here so it doesn't soften too much. To cut the dough, I used a fluted pastry cutter, but the a pizza cutter or sharp knife would work well. (I tried using a cookie cutters, and found the dough to be too sticky to work well.) Cut the dough into 2-inch squares, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill until firm, about 45 minutes in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.
Step 5: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the oven rack in the middle. Bake for about 13-20 minutes depending on your oven heat. I give such a wide range, because while mine were definitely done by 13-14 minutes, other commenters on Smitten Kitchen mentioned they needed about 20 minutes. Remove the crackers from the oven, and cool on a cooling rack. Graham crackers will keep in an airtight container for a a few days.
Step 1: Gather a few friends, and go out to a wooded area with green trees and fresh air. Alternatively, go into your kitchen. You can do this with friends too.
Step 2: Build a roaring fire (inside a fire ring! We can prevent forest fires!), or, turn on the gas burner on your stove.
Step 3: Prepare your graham crackers on a plate, and top one half with squares of chocolate. It is important to have these prepped for when your marshmallow is done toasting.
Step 4: Skewer two marshmallows on a roasting stick, and toast over an open flame, either your campfire or your gas burner. When the marshmallow is just toasted, transfer it to your waiting graham cracker, smoosh it all together, and enjoy!
***This is my fourth entry for Project Food Blog challenge. We were asked to use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial. For my entry I knew I wanted to do something fun so s'mores were at the top of my list. :) I hope you think they are fun too, and will want to make your own marshmallows and graham crackers at home! The marshmallows are especially perfect for the upcoming holidays. If you liked this post I would love it if you would vote for me! You can check out my profile on Foodbuzz and vote starting 8AM PST, on Monday October 11th. Look for printable recipes this week!