In my opinion, hot chocolate season is in full swing. Which means, we should totally make marshmallows. And if you're not a hot chocolate person, then have you ever tried a vanilla steamer? I had never had one until a couple years ago when I tried it from the Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco (although I now know that many coffee shops offer them as well). Not going for a vanilla steamer? OK, well, what do you think about just adding a marshmallow to your afternoon cup of coffee?
If that sounds silly to you, hang on. What if I told you that it was a marshmallow lightly laced with espresso? Oh yes. Now I've got your attention. These marshmallows are indeed caffeinated, but it's really not too strong. The entire batch contains about the equivalent of a 1/2 cup of strong coffee (so don't feel bad if you do add one to a cup of coffee!). The final marshmallows also appear a little more tan/brown than I think they look in these photos. Don't let my kitchen window light deceive you. 🙂
If you've never made homemade marshmallows before, I think you'll be surprised by how easy it really is. The only special equipment you need is an electric mixer (hand held or a stand mixer) and a candy thermometer.
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder*
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
*You can substitute the espresso powder with strong brewed coffee instead for a similar taste. Simply substitute the 1 cup water with 1 cup of coffee. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature before use.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup of the water with the gelatin. Just pour the gelatin over the top of the water and let that sit while you work with the sugar.
In a medium sized pot, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, espresso powder, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to reach 240°F (also called "soft ball"). Watch that the mixture doesn't boil over from the pan. Just give it a stir if it seems too close. Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat.
Turn your mixer (with the gelatin water) on low. If your mixer has a splash guard, here's a good time to use it. Carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the mixer while it's running. Be careful when working with hot sugar! Now pour in the vanilla extract. Turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for about 5-6 minutes until the batter looks fluffy, like marshmallow cream.
In an 8×8 square pan, spray on a thin coat of nonstick cooking spray. Then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and a little more espresso powder so you'll get some pretty flakes in your marshmallows. You could use a larger, rectangle baking pan for a thinner marshmallow. Totally up to you! I like to make mine thick and then cut them into small cubes or shapes. So that's why I use a square pan. Pour in the marshmallow cream. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and espresso powder. Then cover and allow to set for at least three hours, or overnight.
The next day gently peel the marshmallows out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice into squares. Or you can use cookie cutters to make shapes! Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
I'd love to hear about any fool-proof vegan marshmallow recipes you have. I'll take book suggestions or website links, whatever you have as long as it's a recipe you've tried before that's worked. I've been wanting to have a vegan marshmallow recipe that I can recommend to ABM readers since I often get asked if I have one. I've been trying out vegan versions this past year (I think I've made four so far), and none of them turned out to be a recipe that I felt was worth sharing. So, if you have one, especially if it's your own, I'd LOVE to try it out. So let me know. 🙂
Thank you in advance, Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.