Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marshmallow Madness!

After you make your first homemade marshmallow, you will NEVER go back to those artificial ones that come in a plastic bag! And after you get your hands on Shauna Sever's new cookbook all about marshmallows, you might spend endless weeks making marshmallows in all shapes, colors, and flavors! 

Marshmallow Madness!, recently released on Amazon and bookstores in your city, is by Shauna Sever and printed by Quirk Books; she is best known for her delicious blog "Piece of Cake".  Her approachable personality and simple recipes create confidence in first time bakers. She'll bring you in with her casual and knowledgeable voice, and take you step by step, in this case, in making the best tasting marshmallows you've ever tasted!

When I received my review copy of Marshmallow Madness!, my hands started squishing the puffy book. Creatively bound in puffy material and a book cover filled with colorful mallows, it invites you to peruse its pages and find just the right recipe for you. I decided to recreate her Key Lime Pie Marshmallows, light green mallows with bright lime flavor and added crunch with a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs.

A dessert all in itself, these marshmallows are the type of creative genius you'll find in her book. Other recipes I'll be trying: Malibu Marshmallows, Maple-Bacon Marshmallows, and her Mango-Chile-Lime Marshmallows! Also, you can check out #marshmadness and see what other bloggers made!

Thanks to the generous folks at Quirk Books, today I'm sharing Shauna's Classic Vanilla Marshmallow recipe, a great starting point for those making marshmallows for the first time. Mastering this recipe will let you experiment with more flavorings by adjusting the extracts you add! But that's not all! Like I said, Quirk Books are really generous tweeps and are giving away THREE puffy copies of Marshmallow Madness to three Cooking with Books readers. Scroll down to enter!

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows
Reprinted with permission of Quirk Books from "Marshmallow Madness" by Shauna Sever, 2012
Makes: About 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Classic Coating plus more for dusting

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

WHISK TOGETHER the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 minutes.

STIR TOGETHER the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.

WHEN THE SYRUP reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; the finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. Pour it into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over top. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

Variation: Super vanilla-ize these mallows by adding a scraped vanilla bean or dab of pure vanilla bean paste along with the vanilla extract.

 Marshmallow Madness Giveaway!

To enter, leave ONE comment on this post telling me your DREAM marshmallow flavor. The comments are the official entry, there is no purchase necessary, void where prohibited. Three (3) winners will be chosen randomly. Prizes will be shipped by publisher. The contest ends Sunday, March 25th, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern. The winner will be announced on Monday March 26th. 

Disclaimer: Quirk Books sent me a review copy of this book, but I was under no obligation to review or host giveaway.

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