Christmas spiced marshmallows

Christmas spiced marshmallosThese are a lovely way to get your fix of Christmas spices without having yet another mince pie or bite of gingerbread house. They are a lovely handmade gift to give away too, presented in a cellophane bag tied up with some festive ribbon.

Equipment
  • A medium to large heavy base saucepan
  • A sugar thermometer
  • Cake tin about 20cm x 20cm (or whatever you have around this as there’s no need to be exact) or a slab – this is to pour the marshmallow into or onto for setting
  • Stand mixer or bowl and electric hand whisk
Ingredients
  • Cranberry juice – 120 ml
  • Star anise – 1 ‘star’
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 stick
  • Glucose – 35 ml
  • Sugar – 450 g
  • Egg whites – 2
  • Gelatine leaves – 8
  • Cherry brandy – 20 ml (you could also use amaretto or an orange liqueur)
  • Food colouring – pink or red – optional if you think the marshmallows need some extra colour
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting (that’s a 50:50 mix of cornflour and icing sugar) – a good few tablespoons full
  • Chocolate (your choice of dark or at least 50% cocoa solids milk) – 200 g
Method
  1. Tip the cranberry juice in the sauce pan with the sugar, star anise and cinnamon, and bring to a light  simmer for 3-4 mins. Stir to check that the sugar has dissolved
  2. Remove the star anise and the cinnamon
  3. Add the glucose and put the sugar thermometer into the pan, if you’ve not done so already
  4. Bring to a boil and leave to get to 130 C / hard ball stage
  5. While the juice and sugar syrup is heating whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks
  6. Put the gelatine leaves into cold water to soak
  7. When the syrup has reached the right temp, take the pan off the heat and plunge the base into cold water
  8. Start to whisk the (already whisked-to-a-peak) meringues and pour the syrup in as you are whisking – be careful as the syrup is scalding hot and the whisking could flick it out of the bowl at you
  9. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine
  10. Add the gelatine and the cherry brandy now and keep whisking
  11. This is the time to add the food colouring if you want a vibrant colour
  12. Whisk on a medium to high speed until the marshmallow mix cools and really thickens – this could be 10 minutes
  13. Lightly grease your tin and copious dust with the confectioners sugar – including the sides. If you think you’ve added enough you probably still haven’t! Make sure you cannot see any of the tin, not even in the corners as the marshmallow WILL stick! Alternatively, dust a marble slab to pour the marshmallow on to
  14. When it’s cooled pour the marshmallow into the tin/onto the slab – it won’t go far as it’s so thick. It should also self-level
  15. Leave to cool fully – at least an hour and then dust the top with more sugar
  16. Tip out of the tin if you used one
  17. It can be cut with a sharp knife dusted in more confectioners sugar – and roll the cut marshmallow in the sugar on your counter to cover the newly-cut ends
  18. Tap off the excess confectioners sugar from the cut marshmallows
  19. Snap the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Temper the chocolate if you want a glossy finish (see my post on tempering temperatures)
  20. Layout a sheet of baking paper – enough to space out all the marshmallows on
  21. Pick up each marshmallow and half dip in the chocolate, laying out each one in turn on the baking paper to cool and harden
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