My roommate and two of our friends decided to do canoe camping again this year. Everyone but me is pretty much a camping professional. This makes them super cool. Camping, it is what the cool kids do. If I could get over my fear of frogs and learn to love camping, I could be as cool as them.
The canoe camping was really stepped up this year. Both the canoeing and camping skills were tested. The river was more narrow and windy. There were loads of things to canoe around. Rocks. Fallen trees. Rapids. That is right rapids, very very tiny ones, but rapids all the same. It is baffling how the roommate and I didn't tip the canoe.
Last year camping was on a nice sand bar surrounded by river. So it wasn't really camping. This year it was dry land with forest on one side and river on the other. Real camping. Turns out that is not my thing. Frogs die and dry up on the sand bars. Not the case in the forest-river setting. Traumatic.
The trauma was balanced out with homemade marshmallows. I was worried that they wouldn't hold up in the heat. It had been in the 100 degree zone the four days leading up to camping. Thankfully the temperature dropped just in time for camping. They held up great in the 85 degree weather, out of the cooler too.
If you have never tried a homemade mallow, you must. Marshmallow haters even like these. They are way more enjoyable than the store bought kind. It might also be surprising how easy they are to make too. The most daunting part for many will be boiling the sugar, but don't be. I've made homemade mallows several times and they always come out perfect.
This was the first time using this recipe. Usually they are sort of a pain to get out of the pan and cut. The recipe I used to use didn't use cornstarch for the pan or dusting the tops. It turns out cornstarch is the magic key to less sticky cutting and removal from the pan. The little extra effort to make mallows from scratch is worth it. You will be pleased and impress everyone at your next campfire, promise.
Recipe by Alton Brown
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
- Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup water, in the bowl of a stand mixer, with a whisk attachment.
- In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium heat and attach a candy thermometer, cooking until the mixture reaches 240F. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
- Turn the stand mixer onto low speed, and while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes lukewarm and very thick, about 12-15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan.
- Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Lightly spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. Add the sugar mixture to the pan and move around until the sides and bottom are well coated. Return the remaining sugar to the bowl for later.
- When ready, pour the whipped mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to set uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Turn the marshmallows out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust each side with the confectioners sugar mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
|Marshmallow roasting action|