For years, the marshmallow has been mass-produced, stuffed in plastic bags, and shipped far and long. But in this hand-crafted recipe, our contributor Nisse Lovendahl has reinvented a classic using apple cider reduction, dark chocolate and plenty of blooming gelatin.
Be prepared: Making handcrafted marshmallows does not take a long time, but leaving them time to set takes overnight.
As a baker, it’s hard not to fall in love with the process of making marshmallows. They start in one form, then keep on blowing up. Marshmallows also have kind of a bad reputation. We are used to them tasting a certain kind of way, then taste them made by hand and re-imagined it’s a different experience. That’s what I was going for here— a more imaginary, sensory experience. A good marshmallow can deliver that, probably because we all remember the marshmallows we had as kids. So that’s what I made.
Reduced the gallon of apple cider down to one and a half cups. While cooking it down, prepare an 8”x8” pan by spraying it lightly with pan spray, lining it with parchment, lightly spraying the parchment again, and sifting 2/3c powdered sugar all over the bottom and sides to coat.
Once the cider had reduced, put the cider reduction, brown sugar and salt together in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved, and then cooking to soft ball stage (235-240 degrees). At the same time, bloom the gelatin in the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Once bloomed, add the hard cider.
As soon as you reach temperature, pour the hot cider/brown sugar mixture all at once to the gelatin/cider in the mixer. Starting at the lowest setting, bring the whisk to medium-high speed and let it whip until the marshmallow was at soft peak, light tan and shiny (this should take about 10-15 minutes).
Transfer the whipped marshmallow into a prepared pan and smooth over the top. Then sift the remaining powdered sugar in an even layer over the top, and set, covered, at room temperature overnight to set up.
Once set up, use a lightly oiled knife to cut the marshmallows into roughly 1”x1”x1.5” cubes. (Alternatively, at this point you could roll them in powdered sugar and call it a day). I melted the chocolate over a double boiler, then dipped each cube in, using a fork to gently cover each one. I set the cubes on parchment to cool.
I finished the marshmallows with a light dusting of cinnamon. From there, they can be eaten immediately, stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks, or wrapped in squares of parchment and given away as gifts. Enjoy!
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