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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Toasted coconut marshmallows

I was always so skeptical nervous about making homemade marshmallows.  I have a "Things I Want to Bake: Marshmallows" board on Pinterest, with about a dozen different recipes.  And in the year plus since I started the board, do you know how many kinds of marshmallows I've made?  Are you ready for it?  Well....none.

So when I found this super easy (translation: no candy thermometer needed!) recipe for Toasted Coconut Marshmallows, I knew I had to at least try them out.  Not only did they sound good, they reminded me of these coconut marshmallows that my mom used to buy for us for Passover when we were kids....except they were homemade, and looked delicious!  (And the picture that was posted had them wrapped so prettily.)

So I set out to make these Toasted Coconut Marshmallows.  I had a hard time finding unsweetened shredded coconut, so I bought some sweetened shredded coconut from Trader Joe's -- it was slightly sweet but not as sweet as some other sweetened shredded coconuts.  The strands were a little long, so after I toasted them and they cooled, I broke them up a little just so they fit better on the marshmallows.  The only problem in my honest opinion?  You have to wait at least 3 whole hours before cutting, dipping, and tasting the marshmallows!  So I set out to stay up until 2:30 a.m. to at least cut them and dip one to see how it came out.  But I passed out on my couch waiting (like I imagine a kid waiting up for Santa on Christmas Eve would!), with 30 minutes to go.  However, I woke up to PERFECT marshmallows!! 

Since the recipe was actually really, really, REALLY easy, I can't wait to make them in other flavors and varieties!  I was thinking about swapping out some of the vanilla extract for another flavor, and then possibly adding some food coloring to match the flavor.  Not sure if the addition of a dry ingredient (cinnamon or cocoa powder) would work, but I'm going to do some investigative work :)

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
From Seasons and Suppers
The recipe makes "24 1+ inch square marshmallows" from a 7x11 inch pan.  I used a 9x9 inch pan and got 36 1+ inch square marshmallows.


1 cup water, divided
3 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin (3 envelopes – envelope is 1/4 oz. each, for 3/4 oz. total)
2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. fine salt
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste -- I might cut this down a little bit, maybe 1.5 Tbsp, if eating them plain.  If you're coating them with the coconut, I'd do either 1.5 or 2 Tbsp.
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut -- see above for my note on the coconut I used.  If you get as many marshmallows as I did, you'll need a little extra coconut to coat them all.
Spray a 9x9 or 7x11 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper (Recommendation: cut to fit flat on the bottom, with the edges of the paper over-hanging the sides. The ends are fine just sprayed.)
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour in 1/2 cup of the water and sprinkle the gelatin over.
Let stand.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of water.
Stir until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.
Stop stirring and once mixture comes to a rolling boil, continue boiling for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat. (Recommendation: the original recipe said that they like to carefully pour mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup, to make it easier to pour into mixer.  I did this and found it extremely helpful!).
The mixture is very, very, very hot.  Be extremely careful!

Turn the mixer to low and mix the gelatin a bit to loosen.
Very slowly and carefully add the hot sugar mixture by pouring it gently down the side of the bowl.
Continue to mix on low until all the sugar mixture is added.

Turn the mixer to high and whip the mixture for 10 to 12 minutes until the marshmallow batter almost triples in size and becomes very thick.
If you have a smaller mixer bowl, you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to avoid the batter overflowing as it grows.
Stop the mixer, add the vanilla, and then whip briefly to combine.  When I added the vanilla, mine thinned out a bit.  Just an FYI.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan (a silicone bowl scraper works like a charm for this) and use a spatula or bench scraper to spread the marshmallow evenly in the pan, pushing it down into the corners.
Work quickly, as the marshmallow becomes more difficult to manipulate as it begins to set.

Spray a sheet of plastic wrap liberally with cooking spray and lay it across the top of the marshmallow, sprayed side down.
Using you fingers, smooth the plastic wrap on top of the marshmallows a bit to seal it smoothly and tightly against the mixture.

Leave the marshmallow to set at room temperature for at least 3 hours or, even better, overnight.
The marshmallow will be too sticky and soft to cut if you try too soon.

Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 325° F.
Spread coconut out evenly on a baking sheet.
Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring regularly, until coconut is a uniform golden brown color.
Remove from oven and transfer to another baking sheet to cool.

When marshmallows are ready, grab the edges of the parchment and lift the marshmallows from the pan.
Remove the plastic wrap from the top and fold down the parchment on the sides.
Using a pizza cutter or a large knife, cut the slab into 1- × 1-inch squares.
Roll each of the freshly cut marshmallow squares in the cooled, toasted coconut on the baking sheet.
Allow marshmallows to sit in the coconut to dry slightly before packaging up (30 – 45 minutes).

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