Most everyone likes marshmallows. Add a campfire to roast one over either on a stick or, as in the picture, a steel fork, and you have a summer/fall treat like no other. Marshmallows out of the bag will do. If you don't use all of them, they can double as packing material.
There is something special about the homemade variety. The way they ooze when cooked, the depth of flavor, knowing what went into them--all of these factors enhance the experience. An experience that was well received by several eleven year old girls when my daughter chose s'mores in lieu of a birthday cake for her backyard birthday campout. Even after all the girls had claimed they were full of s'mores, they each managed to grab one more pillow of goodness before tucking into the tent for "sweet" dreams.
Making your own marshmallows might sound complicated, but they are simple enough that my children help me make them. Just make sure an adult handles the hot syrup. The two essential kitchen tools you will need are a candy thermometer and a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. With those tools and a few ingredients you will have a homemade treat that will be sure to please. Eat them as is, dunk them in melted chocolate, let them swim in a mug of cocoa, or use them as the base for the "ultimate" s'more.
*Graham Cracker recipe coming soon!
makes 20-40 depending on size
3 (1/4 ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dusting and coating
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the water; set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining water with the sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and cook until the syrup mixture reaches 240º F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on low, carefully and slowly pour the syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is white, glossy, and very thick, about 15 minutes. Reduce the speed, add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
Using a fine-mesh sieve or shaker, generously dust an 8x12-inch non-metal baking dish with the confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan. Smooth the top with an off-set spatula and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow the marshmallows to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting surface and cut them into squares or desired shapes. Dust the cut sides with more confectioners' sugar. Store the marshmallows in an airtight container or bag. Enjoy!
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style