When Chef Alekka shows kids how to make homemade marshmallows, they think she’s a magician. Abracadabra, here it is, kitchen magic though the eyes of a child.
Alekka Sweeney is a Pittsburgh-based culinary director and baking instructor focused on dining curations and cooking classes. After more than 20 years spent in Chicago, her main goal is to share her culinary and baking skills with all ages and cooking levels. Her kid-friendly recipes are intended to be easy enough to give children some independence in the kitchen, encourage them to explore new flavors, and help them learn to prepare things for the entire family to enjoy.
HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW RECIPE
Neutral flavored oil, for greasing the baking dish
3 envelopes (2 tablespoons, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) powdered unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups/302 grams granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Lightly oil an 8-by-8-inch baking dish
Step 1 Combine gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set aside while you prepare the syrup.
Step 2 In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir the mixture just enough to combine the ingredients then cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Step 3 With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture and mix until gelatin is dissolved. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract.
Step 4 Turn the mixer to high and whip the batter until it is very thick, stiff and opaque, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it with a knife.
Step 5 Let sit uncovered until firm, about 4 hours at room temperature or 2 hours in the fridge.
Step 6 Sift a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface, use a knife to cut around the edges of the pan and unmold marshmallow onto the sugar. You will have to pull it out of the pan with your fingertips; it will be very sticky but will pull out in one piece. Dust the top of the marshmallow with confectioners’ sugar and use a long, sharp knife to cut the marshmallow into roughly 1 1/2-inch cubes. Clean and dry your knife periodically throughout this process when it gets toosticky.
Step 7 Toss the cubes in the confectioners’ sugar to make sure they are coated on all sides and store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days
Yields-36 1 ½ inch marshmallows
RECIPE BY ALEKKA SWEENEY / STYLING BY KEITH RECKER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE BRYCE / STORY BY STAR LALIBERTE
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