I love making marshmallows. The flavour combinations are endless, they come together like magic, and they never fail to impress. They’re also easier to make than you’d think, which is a major plus. These particular marshmallows are infused with Cream of Earl Grey tea, but you can make them straight-up vanilla marshmallows easily enough (or use your favourite tea instead).
The first question I get about marshmallows is usually “what on earth are marshmallows?”, which is totally fair as they are an extremely odd food-type item. They’re basically the love child of a meringue and jello. You’ll be working with three distinct parts as you make ’em. Part 1: the sugar syrup. This is cooked to 250°F (the hard ball stage), and you’ll definitely want a candy thermometer for this part.
Part 2 is the gelatin mixture, which gives the marshmallows their characteristic “boingy” nature. I know of no vegan substitutes for this, and suspect there aren’t any that are easily available as most vegan recipes I’ve seen that call for marshmallows call for the processed fluff rather that some brand of magical (suspicious?) vegan marshmallow, but perhaps that has changed in the last few years. At any rate, the next part really vetoes vegan alternatives.
Part 3 is whipped egg whites, whipped to medium stuff peaks. This is what makes the marshmallows all light and airy. And that’s it, really.
The start of marshmallow making is generally pretty slow as you wait for the sugar syrup to cook. While this happens you’ll want to grease & icing sugar your pan, and beat your egg whites. You’ll also want to make sure you’re ready for the quick action at the end—be sure you’ve read through the entire recipe before getting started so you know what’s coming. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250°F it is go time… and then it isn’t (it takes a good 5–10 minutes to beat the egg whites and sugar/gelatin mixture into marshmallowy goodness), but hey, that’s show business.
So, what are you waiting for? Whip up a batch of marshmallows for your next camping trip or birthday party. Yum!
Cream of Earl Grey Marshmallows
1 tbsp Cream of Earl Grey tea leaves
1 ½ cups boiling water water
4 tbsp gelatin
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup tea
2 cups white sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
¾ cup tea
2 egg whites, at room temperature
Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves in a strainer and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves and discard. Divide the liquid in half.
Combine half the liquid with the gelatin and the vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat to dissolve the gelatin in the liquid and keep heated. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Lightly grease a 8 x 8″ (20 x 20cm) pan and generously dust it with icing sugar.
Combine the remaining water, white sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan, preferably one with high sides. Heat until the sugar dissolves, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Boil until the thermometer reads 250°F (121°C). Do not stir—disturbing the mixture will encourage it to re-crystallize, which will result in a rock hard clump of sugar that will be really hard to clean up. The syrup will hold at boiling, 100°C (212°F), for quite a while before heating further as all the water evaporates off.
While the sugar mixture burbles away, beat the two egg whites in a clean glass or metal bowl until they form medium-stiff peaks.
When the sugar mixture reaches 250°F (121°C), whisk in the gelatin mixture. Be careful when doing this, as the temperature difference will cause the mixture to burble up like mad. You need to work quickly at this point. With the beaters running, slowly add the sugar/gelatin mixture to the egg whites, beating until the mixture is thick and silky—it’ll take a while (at least 5–10 minutes). Quickly transfer the marshmallow mixture to the icing-sugared pan, spreading it out with a silicone spatula. Leave to set for at least 2 hours, and then cut into cubes with a lightly greased knife. It’s a good idea to cut some big 1″ (2.5cm) cubes, suited for s’mores, and some smaller ½” (1cm) cubes for cocoa.