Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's....

Just in time for Saint Patrick's Day,

Guinness Marshmallows

This recipe makes about three (3) dozen marshmallows, the first few will be neat but you'll be tempted make giant marshmallow blocks by the end, so your results may differ.

For the Bloom:
  • Three (3) tablespoons (1 ounce or 4 packets, 28 g.) Unflavored Gelatin
  • Four (4) teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup (148 ml.) flat Guinness Stout

For the Sugar Syrup:
  • 1 cup (237 ml.) flat Guinness Stout (basically, dump whatever is left in the bottle....unless you've been drinking it, in which case... Come on! It's flat beer!)
  • 1.25 cup (296 ml.) Corn Syrup or Sugar Cane Syrup
  • 1.5 cup white granulated Sugar
  • pinch Salt

Powdered Sugar for coating and a bit of Vegetable Oil for coating the pan

To flatten the beer, open the bottle and let it sit overnight. If you're in a rush, pour the beer into a bowl and stir with a whisk to release as much of the carbon dioxide as possible. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT attempt to "whirr" the beer in a blender to de-fizz it. You will have Beer and foam everywhere, which could be fun if you're with that "certain" friend, but not today.

Line an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch (23x23-cm.) square cake pan with parchment paper and brush it lightly with vegetable oil. I usually use two pieces of parchment, one going one way and the other crossing it, making sure to leave some extra length flopping over the sides of the pan to make "handles" for easy removal of the future Marshmallows.

To make the "Bloom", sprinkle the Gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the Vanilla and flattened Guinness. Install the whisk attachment to your mixer and go to town until no lumps remain. If you don't have a stand mixer, a hand held mixer works just as well. If you don't have any power tools, a plain old whisk will do the job too, and give you a good workout. The important thing here is no lumps; so, how you get there is up to you.

For the Sugar Syrup, dump the flat Beer into a large six (6) quart heavy bottomed saucepan or enameled cast iron dutch oven, like Le Creuset, and place over medium heat. Simmer the Beer until it's reduced by half, then add in the Corn Syrup, Sugar, and Salt. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan with the bulb in the simmering liquid. Turn the heat to high and bring the Sugar mixture to a boil. As the Syrup heats, it will foam up to nearly fill the pan. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over. When the mixture is between 225°F and 230°F (107°C~110°C), let it bubble for about five (5) minutes and then remove it from heat. Don't just turn the burner off, physically move the pot onto a cool burner. You want the syrup to reach somewhere between 240°F- 250°F (115°C~121°C), any more and you have caramel, which is delicious, but not what we want. If you're having a hard time getting a read on the thermometer but think you're almost there, turn off the heat, stir down the bubbles really quickly using a wooden spoon and take a reading. You'll lose a degree or two of temperature, but you'll know for sure where you're at.

With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour the hot molten Sugar Syrup down the side of the bowl into the Gelatin Bloom. You may need a significant other or third hand with this step as handling molten sugar syrup can be dangerous. Slowly rev the mixer up to high once all the syrup has been added and let it whip for about eight (8) to ten (10) minutes, until it looks like glossy meringue and is very thick. For those of you not using power tools, this is where your forearm workout begins.

Now you've got Marshmallow! Pour the Marshmallow into the prepared cake pan and let it cure, uncovered, out on the counter for ten (10) to twelve (12) hours or overnight.

When the Marshmallows are cured, rub the top with a little Powdered Sugar and turn the Marshmallow bloc out onto a cutting board using the parchment paper handles. Peel the parchment paper off and rub the bottom, now top,  with more Powdered Sugar. Cut the Marshmallow bloc into 18-22 squares of equal size. Marshmallows will keep in a covered container for several weeks.

Chocolate. And Pretzels.
Yes, you read that right. After the Marshmallows have cured and have been cut up into cubes, you can then dip them in melted chocolate and then roll them around in crushed pretzels. Personally, I find that this overpowers the flavour of the Guinness, but I leave this up to you.

Adapted from The Kitchn.