June 24, 2012

Sunday S'mores: Graham Cracker Marshmallows

Soooo, homemade marshmallows? Easy to make and so much better than the store bought kind. Srsly guys. The only "special" equipment you need is a candy thermometer and a stand mixer. The ingredients are basic and easy to find. It's less than an hour cooking and mixing, and most of that is just watching with very little effort on your part. Then schlop it in a baking dish and let it sit over night. Cut into squares, toss in powdered sugar, and voila! It's also one of the most impressive things that you can tell people.

Sample conversation:
Random person: So what did you do this weekend?
You: Oh, nothing special. Made marshmallows. Watched a couple of movies. You?
RP: You made what now?
You: Marshmallows.
RP: *eyes roll back into head and faints from shock at your awesomosity*

I've been thinking for a while about making marshmallows for Sunday S'mores, but I didn't want to do normal marshmallows. I wanted to do something more s'mores-y. The idea actually came from my brother, who suggested that I fold bits of graham crackers into the marshmallows and dip them in chocolate to make s'mores marshmallows. But I didn't know if the graham cracker bits would get soggy and bits of mushy graham crackers in my marshmallows didn't sound appetizing. So I thought, why not do graham cracker-flavored marshmallows? I know, genius right?
So I did a little research, and you know what I found out? Graham crackers were invented in Bound Brook, New Jersey. You guys. New Jersey is to thank for s'mores! But not just New Jersey; Bound Brook is in my part of New Jersey. Central Jersey (which North and South Jerseyans claim does not exist. Do not trust them.) It's so cool to know that Bound Brook is famous for something other than flooding constantly. (Us locals call it Drowned Brook.)

Anyway, with the research and all, I decided that I would make a brown sugar and honey marshmallow with a little cinnamon, and then I decided to toss it in graham cracker crumbs instead of powdered sugar.
They have a lovely melt in your mouth texture, and while the honey flavor was a little strong for me, it mellowed out the next day and everything melded into a definite graham cracker flavor.

But of course, this is Sunday S'mores, and s'mores need chocolate. I had a couple ideas. These would be magnificent in hot chocolate, but that's not exactly summery. At The Melting Pot, they have a s'mores fondue that's chocolate marshmallow, and they serve it with graham cracker-crusted marshmallows. But I didn't feel like making fondue, too.

Gosh, it's too bad that I don't have a jar of leftover chocolate spread in the refrigerator that I could melt in the microwave and dip the marshmallows in. Oh wait...
Just please remember that while these are very easy to make, hot sugar can be very dangerous. Pay plenty of attention to what you're doing, avoid distractions, and keep the kids in a different room. As Mad-Eye Moody would say, CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
Graham Cracker Marshmallows {Printable Version}
Yield: 77 marshmallows (in theory)
1 cup cold water
2½ tbsp. (2½ packets) unflavored gelatin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray
Powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add ½ cup of the water, gelatin and cinnamon
and let soften. Spray a 7x11” baking dish with cooking spray and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
Set aside.

In a LARGE saucepan, add the remaining ½ cup water, brown sugar, honey, and salt. Heat on low, stirring
constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Heat mixture to boiling. Let boil, without stirring, until
the mixture reaches 240°F (the soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes. Remove
from heat.

Start the mixer on low speed, and CAREFULLY add the syrup to the softened gelatin (please utilize a
splatter shield, if available). Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is off-white, fluffy,
and tripled in size, about 10 minutes. Using a rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray, spread the
mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle liberally with graham cracker crumbs and press
down lightly (optional). Let sit uncovered overnight.

Dust a cutting board with powdered sugar. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter sprayed with cooking
spray, cut the marshmallows into 1 inch squares. Toss in remaining graham cracker crumbs (optional) or
powdered sugar and serve.

NOTE: The sugar syrup is extremely hot and can be dangerous if not handled correctly. It will boil
violently, so use a large saucepan to avoid spills. Use potholders and splatter shields when necessary,
and always avoid distractions when making any kind of candy.

Recipe by Kim