Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 9: Spicy Pumpkin Marshmallows

Many months ago, I saw Martha Stewart make marshmallows. My first thought… why? Why, would anyone take the time and the effort to make their own marshmallows, when Jet-Puffed puts out a perfectly good bag of sweet treats that are not only convenient, but taste yummy in hot cocoa and rice crispy bars? I mean really, only Martha Stewart could make something as simple as the marshmallow, difficult.

But then I got to thinkin’ this morning, wouldn’t it be great to make pumpkin marshmallows? Honestly, I don’t know what came over me… it’s like I was abducted by aliens. It’s ridiculous.

But yet, here I go.

What you’ll need:

About 1 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/4-ounce Packets unflavored gelatin
3 Large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 Cup cold water
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup pumpkin puree
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon ginger
Pinches of nutmeg and allspice

Before you even get started: Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper (NOT for sissies) and dust the paper generously with cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer ready.

I had started the process – sugar, water and corn syrup were ready to go – when I realized I didn’t have a candy thermometer. I do, however, have three (THREE!) meat thermometers. It’s good to know that there will be no undercooked meat in my house.

So, I took my unshowered, no makeup, sweatpant wearin’ self to Target and bought one. I’m pretty sure the “guard” (who was like, nine years old) at the front of the store, thought I was there to rob the place. He followed me to cookware and ducked not-so-discretely behind the roasting pans… who knew that candy thermometers where such highly pilfered items? Let’s continue…

Whisk together 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, you will fold in the spiced pumpkin with a rubber spatula. Set aside.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup -- without stirring -- until it reaches 265* on the candy thermometer or about 10 minutes.While the syrup is cooking, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in the microwave for 30 seconds to liquefy it.

Working with a dry bowl and a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy. As soon as the syrup reaches 265*, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring slowly between the beaters and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another few minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Add the vanilla. Don't worry, this marshmallow madness is coming to an end. Add the pumpkin mixture and incorporate it by folding it in with the rubber spatula.Pour the marshmallow mixture onto the baking sheet. Then spread it into the corners.

Dust the top of the marshmallows with cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They'll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pizza cutter. Have a big bowl with the remaining cornstarch (and maybe some powered sugar mixed in) on hand and cut the marshmallows as you'd like. As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you've got several marshmallows in the bowl, turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then one by one, toss the marshmallows to shake off the excess starch.

These were good. They really were. I give them a solid A; tasted like really spicy marshmallows, which is what we were going for. But I've just got one more thing to say...

That Martha Stewart... she's nuts.

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