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I love nothing more than a fresh marshmallow (ok, I’m sure there are other things, but homemade marshmallows are definitely on the list, somewhere near the top). I thought it would be fun to put a twist on a traditional vanilla marshmallow by adding some fun flavors.
Since it’s spring, I thought a lemon marshmallow would be delicious, and since I need texture added to everything, I figured a healthy layer of graham crackers would make it taste like a lemon meringue pie. Plus it’s fun to have something like a marshmallow that is basically its own self-contained dessert!
And I just had to have them.
3 packages gelatin
1/2 cup very cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow sanding sugar (optional)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
Begin by blooming the gelatin. This is plain gelatin that is typically sold in the aisle with Jell-o, usually on the top shelf. I never knew what plain gelatin would be used for. Now I know – marshmallows (and panna cotta, but that’s another post).
Blooming the gelatin just means that you’re going to place it into the bowl of your stand mixer with 1/2 cup of water. (You can use a bowl and a hand mixer, but it takes a bit of mixing, so you could get tired.) Stir it around so all the gelatin is wet and there are no dry clumps.
While that is working its magic, place the sugar, corn syrup and water into a pan on the stove.
Bring the syrup up to 240 degrees (which happens to be the “soft ball” stage, as seen on my thermometer). It’s important that it reach that temperature and no higher. If it’s too low, the marshmallows won’t set well. If it’s too high (which, confession, I let the syrup get a touch too warm while trying to get a perfect photo!), the marshmallows wont be as fluffy.
When the syrup is almost up to temperature, begin mixing the gelatin on high speed. You want to start whipping air into it pretty quickly. When the syrup has reached temperature, lower the speed on the mixer so that you don’t fling hot syrup on yourself, and slowly drizzle it into the bowl.
You will see that it will start to appear white and gain volume. Once all the syrup is in, bring the speed back up to high. (Photo below is all the syrup in, but it’s not done whipping.)
While it’s whipping, zest one lemon and add that to the marshmallow along with the lemon extract.
I added sanding sugar to this batch. I was trying to add flecks of color, which I did, but if you wanted yellow marshmallows, simply adding yellow food color would work too. It gave the marshmallows a crunchy texture, almost like a peep. So keep that in mind. If you want smooth, almost “creamy” marshmallows, skip this.
You will need to whip the marshmallows for at least 5 minutes, maybe more. I like to check the temperature of the bowl. Once it’s cool to the touch, they should be ready.
Get a tray ready to go. I used a 9 x 13 cake pan to hold mine. The larger the pan, the more shallow the marshmallows will be. A smaller 8×8 pan will produce much thicker ones. You want to sprinkle a little powdered sugar and cornstarch into the pan and cover the bottom and sides. I also placed more yellow sanding sugar in the bottom of mine.
Once the marshmallows are ready, get a spatula and spray it with cooking spray. This will help keep everything from sticking. I also wore gloves and sprayed those as well so I could push the marshmallow down. If you don’t, it’s very sticky!
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs all over the top and push down well so that they stick.
Typically marshmallows need to rest about 24 hours before cutting. I threw mine into the freezer and within 30 minutes they cut really well. I use (clean) scissors that have been sprayed, and that seems to be the best method I’ve found for clean cuts.
Take the edges and roll them in more of the graham cracker crumbs. This gives you more fun flavor as well as keeps the sides from being sticky. If you aren’t using grahams, just roll it in more sugar/corn starch mixture.
Store in an airtight container. They stay good for a few weeks. These are delicious and have a vibrant citrus flavor from the zest, and the graham cracker crumbs add a fun pie element without all the pie work.