October 23, 2006
How Hard Could It Be To Make Fluffy Sugar?
The people behind Slashfood really like candy. And who could blame them? Halloween is fast approaching and to get into the candy spirit, Slashfood is hosting a day of Candy Creations on October 24th. They’re going to talk about some of their favourite candies, homemade and store bought and offer some tips on where to find the best candies and what to give out for Halloween. Well Slashfood, I like the cut of your jib. I decided to join in on the fun by making marshmallows. For the first time.
I’ve generally shied away from making anything that requires boiling sugar to an appropriate temperature. It kind of scares me. Candy making is something I’ve always longed to do, but lacked the expertise for. Well, I didn’t suddenly gain any knowledge about candy making, but I did get Wilbur, and I figured he would make up for anything I lacked. Wilbur certainly got a workout today. He didn’t realize what he was getting into when I decided to make marshmallows. I got a recipe online, realized it was somewhat sketchy, but went ahead with it anyway. Why do I set myself up for failure? The recipe wasn’t the only problem though, it was boiling sugar that really messed things up. The recipe told me to boil the sugar mixture until it reached 240°F. My (borrowed) candy thermometer told me that this was also known as “softball” stage. I’m sure all you candy makers are well aware of this, and are well aware that when a recipe tells you to boil until softball stage, you probably shouldn’t pass it. Well I wouldn’t know softball stage from golf ball or basketball stage. This is what led to my downfall. When my thermometer seemed to read 240°F, I removed the pan from the stove and poured the contents into Wilbur’s bowl which was already holding the gelatin. I was then supposed to mix on high for 6-10 minutes until the mixture was white and tripled in volume. I was not able to get to that point. I had to rescue Wilbur by shutting him off early so that he didn’t hurt himself, (you gotta love the guy, he just tries so hard). Apparently, I had passed the “softball” stage of cooking because instead of turning white and tripling in volume, my mixture turned about one quarter white, three quarters very hard golden blob. I was very successful in making rock candy which I then tried had to try to pry off of Wilbur’s paddle. This resulted in the mess you see below.
But I plowed on, determined to have something to present for Slashfood. Now then, I had some of this supposed marshmallow substance, and to it I added the entire quantity of egg whites. A smarter person would have realized that, having thrown out three quarters of the sugar mixture, I definitely wouldn’t have needed to add all of the egg whites. I did anyways. I followed the rest of the recipe as it was and poured the meager contents of my bowl into a prepared pan. I waited for at least 3 hours and up to overnight (specifically 6 hours) and then turned the marshmallows out onto a cutting board. Those extra egg whites made themselves known. But Slashfood! Onward! What do you do when your cake/brownie/ice/candy/dessert is ugly? Cover it. Same theory applies here. Whipped cream works well for birthday cakes but not so much for marshmallows. For this job, I would turn to chocolate. Chocolate could be an entry for Slashfood’s candy day all on its own, but today it would be a sideshow to the main act. Other sideshows included peanut butter, graham cracker and milk. My marshmallows were far from what they should have been and I’m still scared of boiling sugar, but it’s a start. And it wasn’t a total waste, as with every kitchen experiment I learned something new. Today I learned that it’s much easier to drive your self to the store and buy a bag of marshmallows than it is to make them at home.
Blogging Event + Candy + Marshmallows + Recipe + Halloween