Vanilla Bean Marshmallows – Do I dare compete with Jean Georges?

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My first encounter with homemade marshmallows was sadly only a few months ago at Jean-Georges in NYC. I say sadly because they are amazing and 10 times better than any Jet Puff marshmallows. You can see Jean-Georges vanilla bean marshmallows on Photo Hungry! along with a thorough review of their food.

I decided to try to recreate the vanilla bean marshmallow I had so long ago at Jean-Georges; they give them “free” at the end after you pay for a hundred some dollar meal. Actually, my task was not so great – instead I used an Alton Brown recipe and used vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. I like using Alton Brown for recipes that require specific techniques and that can be temperamental because he is so good at explaining everything. He’s got a great video too that I found helpful:  Alton Brown Marshmallows. I also found this recipe made with no corn syrup that I’d like to try at some point:  Food.com.

Time for the recipe and let’s see if you agree Jet’s got nothing on these.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Adapted from Alton Brown’s Homemade Marshmallows

Yield:  about 9 dozen marshmallows

Ingredients

For the Marshmallows

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 oz granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼  tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped

For the Coating and Pan Prep

  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray

Directions

  1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
  4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

First, the gelatin and water in the stand mixer bowl.

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While that gelatin sits, the sauce pan is boiling up some sugar mixture. Don’t be like me, use a smaller and taller saucepan. Mine was so wide that I couldn’t even submerge the whole candy thermometer. Oh well, it still reached 240 degrees F.

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Then you pour the hot mixture into the gelatin that was sitting at the bottom of the bowl. It starts out looking like below.

 

 

 

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Then it gets nice and white, and of course fluffy. Then I added the vanilla beans that were scraped from the pod.

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Be sure to prep the pan – use a generous coating of the corn starch and powdered sugar mixture. This stuff is soooooo sticky if you don’t do this step correctly.

 

 

 

 

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See how it sticks to the beater?

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A yum. Then I glopped it into the pan.

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Now this is the direction for making those squared marshmallows. You certainly don’t have to do this. The marshmallow is made at this point, you are just shaping it now and letting it set. It needs to sit for a few hours to firm up and cool down. I am tempted to try round cookie cutters to cut them afterwards next time. This may be a lot of work though…we’ll see. So smooth this nice and flat.

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Then sprinkle the cornstarch and powdered sugar on top.

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And after four hours or overnight, plop it on a cutting board and slice it up!

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Looks like a fluffy cloud.

I used a pizza roller to cut it into strips.

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You can see the vanilla bean in this photo.

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And then like Jean-Georges, I used kitchen shears to cut the strips into nice squares.

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And then rolled it in a bowl of the corn starch/sugar mixture to coat the freshly cut ends. Then I put them into little candy packages with homemade labels on them.

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Next Christmas I’m going to make hot cocoa kits with these and give them as gifts! If only I discovered how easy it was to make these sooner.

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