Last year for Easter and the celebration of all things Spring, I conquered my fear of the great mallow from my pastry chef days and rocked out some passion fruit and toasted coconut marshmallows. This year, I wanted to give homage to my new home by the Bay, and use some Meyer lemons a work friend grew in her back yard. Meyer lemons taste like your average lemon, but they are a tiny bit sweeter. Not orange sweet, and they still retain a bit of that bitter lemon flavor that helps to cut through the sugar-laden mallow.
And I am proud to say that for two years running, no Kitchen Aids were hurt in the making of my marshmallows. Holla!
Back in the day, marshmallow candies were actually created from an extract derived from the march mallow plant, which grows in damp areas like marshes and is commonly found in Asia and Europe, where it used to be used as a medicinal plant. Egyptians were mixing the marsh mallow plant with honey to create candy for royalty and gods as far back as 2000 BC. The marshmallow we know and love today was created in 1850s France, using marsh mallow sap whipped with egg whites, corn syrup, sugar and water, although these days, we use gelatin in place of marsh mallow sap.
The marshmallow started out as an expensive, artisan treat in Europe, and mass production cut prices and production time, turning it into penny candy for children. Thanks to clever marketing, the marshmallow was reinvented again in the 1920s & 1930s as a main ingredient for special occasions in the U.S., like dinner parties and family events. Yes, folks, this was the invention of gelatin molds with marshmallow bits floating in them, and cookbooks that used marshmallows in every section of the book. A very awesome time, indeed. Today, thankfully, we tend to enjoy marshmallows in dessert settings only, save for the occasional side dish of sweet potatoes.
When making marshmallows, I like to use the Alton Brown marshmallow recipe found here with my own adjustments. For the lemon, I used inspirations from this Emeril recipe. Here is the altered recipe with photos and my tips–it creates a light and fluffy marshmallow with a sweet and tangy lemon kick that you can really taste. Hope you enjoy!
Recipe: Leena’s Meyer Lemon Marshmallows
Summary: Sweetened puffs of awesome, citrus-flavored goodness.
Yield: 50 marshmallows
- 1 1/2 packets of unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup of Meyer lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/2 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 6 oz of granulated sugar, roughly 3/4 cup
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- nonstick oil spray
- yellow food coloring
- Before cooking anything, set up your station. Because most people do not read recipes all the way through before starting then, let me say this up front–marshmallows turn into cement in a matter of minutes once finished, so proper station set up is important to prevent you from looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Set up your mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix together the confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Spray the pan (half of a regular sheet pan works well) with the spray oil, then sift the sugar-cornstarch mixture on top, making sure to coat all the surfaces where the mallow will touch, roughly 1/3 of the pan.
Set up a small bowl of hot water for you to dip your hands in when removing mallow from bowl. Also set up a spatula sprayed with nonstick oil.
- Mix the lemon juice with the gelatin until it dissolves.
Place inside of mixer bowl.
- In a nonreactive pan, place the water, lemon zest, sugar, corn syrup and salt.
Heat covered over medium high for 3 minutes, then remove cover. Cook until the temperature reaches 240 F, then remove from heat immediately.
- Turn the mixer on low, and slowly pour in the syrup directly over the whisk.
Once all the syrup is in, turn the speed up to almost as high as it can go, and let it whisk the mixture until it has cooled down and is light and fluffy, anywhere from 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla and food coloring (if desired) during the last few minutes of whipping. While the mixture is whipping, it will go through three stages that will tell you the recipe was correctly made. It should look like this:
These are not official stages, mind you, just something I like to look for whilst making this recipe.
- Working quickly, remove the whisk attachment and the bowl from the mixer. Bang the whisk on the side of the bowl to release any stuck-on mallow. Using the oiled spatula, scrap the mallow from the bowl onto the prepared sheet pan (remember to only use 1//3 of the pan). Dip hands in water if the spatula stops working so you can easily dig the last of the mallow on the sheet pan. Dip hands in water again, then spread out mallow to an even, fairly thick layer onto the 1/3 of the sheet pan. If you start stick to the mallow again, just dip hands in hot water bowl again.
- When all mallow is in pan and shaped, sprinkle the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture on top of the mallow.
Allow to dry at room temp for four hours or up to overnight. When ready, remove the mallow to a cutting board sprinkled with more confectioners sugar and cornstarch to prevent it from sticking. I like to use scissors and a bench scraper to cut my mallows into the desired size, then I toss them in more sugar-cornstarch mix until all sides are coated. This will prevent them from drying out and sticking to each other. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
You can forgo the lemon juice, zest and food coloring, and just use one half cup of water for the recipe and the mallows will be vanilla-flavored. I also love to lay toasted coconut on top of an oiled sheet pan before laying down the vanilla mallows, and then I top then with more toasted coconut, and roll them in more when I cut them. SO good. I have also replaced the water with fruit juice, like passionfruit, with decent results for a subtly fruit-flavored mallow.
Cooking time (duration): 30
Diet type: Vegetarian
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Microformatting by hRecipe.