1. Food

Gingerbread Marshmallows

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Gingerbread Marshmallows photo
(c) 2012 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Gingerbread Marshmallows have the taste--and appearance!--of gingerbread men. These soft and fluffy homemade marshmallows are flavored with plenty of spices and molasses, to give them an authentic ginger taste that's bold but not overpowering. They're adorable when cut and decorated to look like gingerbread cookies, but they can also be simply cut into squares and enjoyed plain, dipped in chocolate, or dunked in hot cocoa.

If you've never made homemade marshmallows before, be sure to check out the tutorial showing how to make marshmallows.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Brown food coloring (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

1. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line it with plastic wrap—the spray in the pan will help the wrap adhere. Press the plastic down against the bottom, corners, and sides of the pan, then spray the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside for now.

2. Place 1/2 cup of cold water in a small bowl, and whisk the gelatin into the water. Let it sit and absorb the water for a few minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, both sugars, the corn syrup, the molasses, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugars, then brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Once the sugar syrup is boiling, insert a candy thermometer. Cook the sugar syrup to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (123 C).

4. While the sugar syrup is cooking, place the egg whites in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the syrup reaches 245 F, start to beat the egg whites on medium speed. The goal is to have the egg whites at firm peaks when the sugar syrup reaches 260. If the whites are ready before the syrup, stop the mixer—do not overbeat them!

5. Microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is liquid and smooth. Once at 260, remove the pan from the heat, take out the candy thermometer, and whisk the liquid gelatin into the sugar syrup.

6. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly and carefully stream the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites. If you have a large (4-cup) measuring cup, or other pitcher with a spout, you might want to pour the syrup into the pitcher first, to make it easier and less messy to pour into the mixing bowl.

7. When all of the sugar syrup is added, gradually increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for about 7-10 minutes, until the marshmallow is opaque, shiny, and very thick. When you lift the whisk from the marshmallow it should slowly stream down into the bowl in a thick ribbon. Sift all of the spices over the marshmallow in the bowl, and if desired, add some brown food coloring to make the color more like that of gingerbread. Mix the marshmallow briefly to incorporate the spices and the food coloring.

8. Scrape the marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Let it sit overnight to set.

9. Once the marshmallow is completely firm, sprinkle the top with a thin dusting of powdered sugar, then remove it from the pan using the cling wrap as handles. Flip it upside-down and coat the top (formerly the bottom!) with more powdered sugar. Use a small metal cookie cutter to cut the marshmallows into gingerbread man shapes. Alternately, you can just cut the marshmallow into small squares using a large chef's knife. Roll the cut sides of the marshmallows in more powdered sugar.

10. If you want to give your gingerbread marshmallow men faces, melt the white chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Pour the melted white chocolate into a paper cone or a plastic bag with the corner cut off, and give them simple eyes and smiles. Allow to set at room temperature completely. Store Gingerbread Marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. They will keep longer than this, but they start to taste stale within a few days, depending on the humidity levels of your house.

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