Corn Starch is Your Best Friend, Part 2

As I learned in part one of this series, making homemade marshmallows is rather simple.  I am kicking myself for not having tried sooner!  Now the ice has been broken, and this surely won’t be the last time I am up to my ears in cornstarch and sticky deliciousness.  I have a list of different flavors I’d like to try next, fun shapes to make using my cookie cutters, and plenty more creative ideas of how to use them.  First up was chocolate mint marshmallows.  For part two here, it’s marshmallows using the same base of ingredients – sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, water.  And the same basic steps too: mix water with gelatin, heat sugar and corn syrup, pour cooked sugar into gelatin mixture while beating.

This time, no egg whites.  But a whole lot more beating time.  So here’s one recipe where I would definitely say that having a stand mixer is a good thing, if not necessary. You may have arms like Popeye and an unlimited amount of patience, but I am not quite sure a hand mixer would be strong enough to withstand this heavy and thick a mixture.  (I’ll have to give it a go and report back, hopefully with hand mixer still intact!) Fortunately I was with a friend who has a heavy duty stand mixer – and high quality espresso powder.  And so it went, batch two: espresso marshmallows!  Coffee being my very favorite flavor of confections and ice cream and chocolate bars, these were my favorite!  So soft and fluffy too, squishy like the perfect homemade marshmallow should be!

Homemade Espresso Marshmallows

Instead of just adding espresso powder, we made a small cup of coffee and added that.  I imagine the extra liquid altered the texture of the marshmallow, and thus required even more beating for the marshmallow to firm up.  As the whisk did its work, my eyes were stuck on the pretty swirls of the coffee blending in.  It reminded me of spin art we used to make as kids, pouring the paint on to our paper as it spun on a record player. And even though it seemed like an awful lot of very dark coffee, it quickly faded to a light caramel color, and the flavor mellowed with all that sugar.  Best of all – the aroma was extraordinary!

Homemade Espresso MarshmallowsHomemade Espresso Marshmallows

Again, with the extra liquid, the marshmallow didn’t firm up as much as the chocolate mint marshmallow did.  You’ll be even more attached to that box of cornstarch this time!  Be very generous with your sprinkling, and be sure to coat all sides of your cut marshmallows.

Homemade Espresso MarshmallowsHomemade Espresso MarshmallowsHomemade Espresso MarshmallowsHomemade Espresso Marshmallows

Feel free to be creative with shapes and sizes.  I started off with the traditional French style guimauve in long strips.  But because they were so delicate and not quite stiff enough, squares worked much better.  I made medium size and more minis again too.  Both were really excellent in a hot chocolate, and simply melted in your mouth after a minute or two.

Homemade Espresso MarshmallowsHomemade Espresso Marshmallows

Here’s the recipe below.  And oooh, I can’t wait to share the last and final part of this series… so stay tuned once again!

Espresso Marshmallows
Based on recipes by Paul Lukas (New York Sun, June 2005) and Molly Wizenberg (Bon Appétit, July 2008)

About 1 cup cornstarch
1 cup cold water
3 1/4-oz packets unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons espresso powder

Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 degrees Celsius).

With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve espresso powder into boiling water in a small cup. Stop mixer and pour coffee in to marshmallow. Start slowly and then beat at high speed for another 10 minutes or so.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the marshmallow onto the baking sheet or into the pan and spread well.  Dust the top with cornstarch and let the marshmallow set in a cool, dry place. Let stand uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Once they are set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you?ll have to rinse and dry it frequently, or keep dipping in cornstarch. Have a big bowl with the remaining cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you?d like ? into squares, rectangles or strips (as they?re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you have 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

Keep the marshmallows in a cool, dry place.

20 Responses to “Corn Starch is Your Best Friend, Part 2”

  1. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Ohhhhh, more marshmallow. Wonderful. I love the picture with the espresso mixing in. You said you thought it reminded you of spin wheel art. It reminds me of blowtorched meringue!

    Can you send some over? 😉

  2. Kerrin says:

    Can I send some over ? How about a little exchange – some of your beautiful macarons for some of my squishy marshmallows ? …of which I’ll have to make more, since I obviously finished them all already ! And oooh, blowtorched meringue, I’d like some of that too ! 🙂

  3. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    OR, if I can’t send something to you (you know, pesky customs), maybe I can make something and eat it on your behalf! 😉

  4. Kerrin says:

    Well fine, but that’s not as much fun…. for me ! 😉

  5. Lani says:

    Expresso marshmallows, well that is perfect for me! Love to have one as a snack in the late afternoon with ice coffee. What a treat that would be! Your photo of the expresso mixing looks like marble! Love it! You can almost taste the stickiness of the ingredients and the marshmallows melting in your mouth.

  6. jkiel says:

    these might make smores a lot more tasty!

  7. Sylvia says:

    I never try to make marshmallows before. looks very easy, don’t it? You marshmallow “saga” is amazing, very well explained and what a flavors!!!

  8. Kerrin says:

    Lani, oh definitely – it looks like marble above ! So true.

    jkiel, if I hadn’t eaten them all up so fast, they would have made excellent s’mores. Time for a new batch. BUT… even though I didn’t make s’mores with them, you’ll see real soon what I did do. Part 3 – quite tasty too ! 🙂

    Sylvia, thanks for the great comment. So glad you’re enjoying. And yes it really was pretty easy – as long as you have the right ingredients and tools (mixer, candy thermometer). Try it !! And let me know how it goes…

  9. Amber says:

    I use powdered sugar instead of cornstarch for my marshmallows. It adds a bit more sugar, but it works just as well as the cornstarch.

  10. Amy @ The Q Family says:

    You just put 2 of my favorite things and merge it together. I could probably snack the whole thing in one sitting. 🙂 Where can I buy this if I don’t do cooking stuff? 🙂

  11. Lizounette says:

    Kerrin, I think you have given me the encouragement to try my hand at marshmallows, too!

    Aside from the mixture being harder to mix due to perhaps the extra liquid – did the non-egg-white batch do just as well?

  12. Kerrin says:

    Amber, absolutely. You can definitely use powdered sugar to coat the marshmallows — instead of cornstarch, or as a mixture with cornstarch. I was afraid of mine getting too sweet. Excellent tip, thanks for sharing !

    Amy, 2 of my favorite things too! And yes, it’s very dangerous – they disappear VERY fast. Especially as you’ll see them in part 3 – you’re going to love it then !! As for buying espresso marshmallows – perhaps try a high-end food shop for French style marshmallows, or even your local supermarket to see what they’ve got. When I was living in the US, Whole Foods had some good options.

    Lizounette, go for it !! 🙂 It took me a while before I finally tried – and now I’ll be making them often. The non-egg white batch did just as well, if not better. My next batch of marshmallows will be with this recipe again, just without the liquid and perhaps a different flavor. The liquid made it “easier” to mix, as it wasn’t nearly as stiff as it should be though. You’ll have to report back about your very own homemade marshmallows, pretty exciting I’d say !

  13. Amy @ The Q Family says:

    Now, I can’t wait for part 3. 🙂 Thanks for the tips I will definitely check them out and see what I can find.

  14. Solo Road Trip says:

    Is it strange that I think these are so lovely just to LOOK at?! Something about the texture, the creaminess of the interior dusted by the powdery cornstarch, the way they sort of meld into each other when stacked. Very tactile. Very nice.

  15. Akila says:

    Just found your site. Love the drawings at the top. I’ve made marshmallows a couple of times, but I’ve never used cornstarch. I always use powdered sugar too and I haven’t found that they get very sweet. Do the marshmallows end up tasting like cornstarch?
    My absolute favorite use of homemade marshmallows is not to make marshmallows but instead to use it as a topping for S’mores Pie. Deb has the recipe at Smitten Kitchen. Think s’mores but about 10,000 times better. I am going to try making that recipe in miniature version with a chili chocolate base in the next few weeks.

  16. Kerrin says:

    Solo Road Trip, thanks so much ! I love the look of them too.

    Akila, so glad you found the blog here, thank you for your comment. And wow, sounds like you’re more of a marshmallow expert than I am. I will definitely use powdered sugar on my next batch then. When you use cornstarch, there is no flavor whatsoever – they just lose that stickiness. Coat them, but then shake off as much excess as possible. It’s a magical ingredient when making candy! Many recipes call for a mix of both cornstarch and powdered sugar. Sounds like a good idea to me. But the best idea of all – S’mores Pie ?! I love Smitten Kitchen, and am totally going to look up that recipe right away, thanks so much !! You’ll have to report back here on your mini s’mores pie with a chili twist… sounds outrageous ! 🙂

  17. Y says:

    Fantastic looking marshmallows! I like your choice of flavour.

  18. Shirley@kokken says:

    Hello, I have also just started making marshmallows. I have so far only worked with fruit flavours… will definitely experiment with the flavours you have here. However, I have up till now, chosen to pipe my marshmallow… and as my piping skill is still terrible, they tend to look like pink dog poop… 😛 I have the pictures to show…(LOL)

  19. Kerrin says:

    Shirley, fruit flavored marshmallows sound fabulous – so many different fruits to choose from, and such colorful marshmallows in the end ! As for pink dog poop – perhaps less fabulous, but pretty hysterical I’d say!! haha! I bet they still tasted delicious… Thanks for sharing.

  20. El says:

    I tried making them before but they didn’t come out very good. I definitely have to try yours!

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