While we were recently overseas in Australia, my son became quite the babycino connoisseur. For those outside Australia, a babycino is basically frothed milk served in an espresso mug with a dusting of cocoa and sometimes marshmallow on the side. If I was having a coffee, he would insist on having one himself. The first time he got a marshmallow, I was worried. My son is super active, what would he do with that extra hit of sugar? Turns out I didn’t need to worry, he took one look at the marshmallow, squeezed it, sniffed it and threw it on the ground. I don’t blame him, I can’t remember the last time I ate a store bought marshmallow. I find them dry, floury and usually tasteless.
My mother always made marshmallows at home. Soft, pillowy ones in a variety of colours. It’s something I’ve taken to doing too, as they’re sure to impress and they’re super easy. A couple of years ago, I boxed red and green marshmallows and gave edible Christmas gifts for friends.
This weekend is Labor Day weekend in the US. Traditionally a day to celebrate the American labor movement, it has also come to mean the unofficial end of summer. Next week the kids are back at school. Most locals celebrate with BBQs, trips to the beach and in our neighbourhood a BBQ and street party. This will be my contribution to the event, some pillowy soft marshmallows. Labor Day parties tend to be themed red, blue and white, so are my marshmallows.
- 375g white sugar
- 20g gelatin (powdered)
- 1 cup of water divided
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- food colouring (optional)
- 1/2 cup icing sugar, for dusting
- In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 a cup of water and all the sugar. Place on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining water, stir and set aside to soften.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, wait for it to come to the boil. Leave for 1 minute then add the softened gelatin. Stir briskly until all the gelatin is mixed into the sugar.
- Bring the mixture to the boil once again, and leave for 30 seconds before taking it off the heat. Cool.
- Pour the cool sugar mixture, vanilla essence and food colouring if you’re using into the bowl of your mixer. Mix on medium speed until the mixture becomes fluffy, meringue-like and doubles in size. At this point, if you lift up the beater you should get a thick ribbon of marshmallow that stays on the surface for a few seconds before settling back into the mixture.
- Pour the mixture in a greased 8in x 8in tin or glass dish. Leave to set; overnight at room temperature is best.
- When set, turn out the marshmallow onto a board generously dusted with icing sugar. Use a well greased knife to cut the marshmallow into cubes and toss in the icing sugar. I usually place the icing sugar and marshmallow in a plastic container with a lid and shake.
- Store in an airtight container.
If you want a layered effect like my picture, simply repeat the above steps (leaving the icing sugar until you are finished) using a larger tray and leaving a couple of hours in between each layer.
Adding flavours to this recipe is very simple, you can simple omit the vanilla and add an essence of your choice. Essences like rosewater and peppermint would work perfectly.