Earl Grey Salted Caramel Marshmallows
As I may have mentioned in a recent post, marshmallow is my second favorite dessert “flavor” (my first is lemon). Thrown into hot cocoa, smushed into s’mores, melted on top of ice cream, or simply eaten by the handful, I typically can’t get enough. They are also surprisingly easy to make - with the right tools - and to adapt into various flavors. The basic process is blooming gelatin in water; boiling a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to 240F degrees; whisking them together in a mixer for ~10 minutes; adding flavoring (if you hadn’t already); and letting it set in a parchment & powdered sugar lined pan for 4-24 hours. Ta da! Make sure you have a candy thermometer and a mixer, and you’re good to go.
Interestingly, some marshmallow recipes include egg whites making them similar to meringue. Also probably why some folks call a meringue frosting (or "7-minute frosting”) is sometimes interchangeably called a marshmallow or fluff frosting. Some recipes have egg whites and some don’t* - I can tell you I MUCH prefer without. Before I started making my own I used to think I didn’t like homemade marshmallows at all, but then I found that I simply preferred recipes without eggs whites because they were much more similar to the kraft marshmallows of my childhood that hold a special place in my heart. But making them yourself means you can make fun flavors, and impress your friends (they also last longer)! And, really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
*According to food blogger/scientist Stella Parks from Bravetart and SeriousEats (two of my favorite blogs), egg whites used to be essential to aerating the syrup before electric mixers. Now they're kind of a vestigial ingredient.
Adapted from Localmilkblog.com
MAKES a whole bunch of marshmallows, depending on the pan size you use and how you cut them
1.5 cups water
2 tablespoons earl grey tea
2 packets (.5 oz total) gelatin
2 cups sugar (400g)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup (208g)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup salted caramel (my favorite recipe is here)
small mesh strainer (for the tea)
stand mixer with whisk attachment (or hand mixer if you don’t mind running it for a long time - you may end up needing to mix the marshmallow mixture for up to 15 minutes instead of 10)
9x9 or 9x13 pan (if you choose the former your marshmallows will be taller)
Steep 1.5c boiling water with 2TB of earl grey tea, covered, for 10 minutes. While you wait, prepare your pan by cutting two opposite strips of parchment exactly to size to line your pan, and then evenly disperse some powdered sugar to coat the bottom.
Once done, strain 1/2c and place in fridge or freezer to get very cold. Strain another 1/2c for use, and drink the rest or discard.
Once cold, pour the first 1/2c over your 2 packets of gelatin in your mixer bowl, taking care to get all the gelatin wet. Let stand for at least 10 minutes, or as long as it takes to complete the next step.
Combine the other 1/2c of tea with 400g sugar (2c), 1/4tsp salt, and 208g corn syrup (2/3c) in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine thoroughly as you begin to heat it, but once warm stop stirring and affix a thermometer to boil to 240F degrees.
Once it reaches temperature, immediately add it to your gelatin mixture in the stand mixer bowl, and start whisking on medium high.
Mix on medium high for 10 minutes. The color will lighten significantly, and it will smell terrible (don’t worry).
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix on high for 2 more minutes, or until the mixture is almost the consistency of a stiff-peak meringue (meaning when you stop mixing and lift the mixer head it shouldn’t fall from the whisk too much before stopping). During these last 2 minutes, prepare your spatula by greasing it with butter or shortening.
As soon as the mixing is done, spread your marshmallow mixture into the pan; then spoon salted caramel over it and drag it with a toothpick or cake tester to make the design pictured above.
Chill in the fridge uncovered (or covered loosely with aluminum foil) for at least 4 hours, or as long as you’d like before cutting them. (Normally you could just let them stand at room temperature, but it’s easier to cut these when cold because of the caramel.)
When ready to cut, coat a large cutting board with powdered sugar, then turn the marshmallow block out upside down onto it. Grease or wet a sharp knife before each cut (wiping it clean after each), and cut marshmallows into preferred size. Toss the cut marshmallows in powdered sugar.
Marshmallows will keep in tupperware up to a week at room temperature, a few weeks in the fridge, or indefinitely in the freezer.