Yes, you read that right.
Want to be sure? I’ll type it out again for you.
You really shouldn’t just sit there with your mouth agape; that’s a little rude. ;)
Homemade marshmallows – I have always wanted to try my hand at making candy of sorts. The lovely Jen (an aforementioned dear friend) and I have made homemade peppermint patties before (which were amazing, by the way). But as for tackling an actual let’s-boil-sugar-keep-track-of-temperature-and-worry-about-humidity sort of situation, I’d never done it and it seemed a tad daunting. Especially considering that I live in Florida, where 100% humidity is standard.
A few weeks ago, Jen and I started plotting a weekend visit and a “campfire” in the pit on her patio…the week had been pretty tough…and it was only Wednesday. S’mores were necessary. This seemed the perfect opportunity to attempt marshmallow-making, and I was reminded of a recipe I had seen a while ago on one of my absolutely favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is…
For BEER marshmallows. Brilliant, right?
So – naturally, I took a cool, clever idea like that and added a healthy helping of blatant nerdy-ness. Just can’t help myself, I suppose. I am, after all, part of a collective youth sometimes referred to as the “Potter generation.” I grew up with the Harry Potter books…and many of my friends did as well. And I kinda sorta love them…a lot.
As a result of that love, there will be butterbeer. Enter: Butterscotch Schnapps and Cream Soda. This is our smooth, sweet butterbeer flavor. It may sound a little crazy, but it really works! I have to say, I was elated at how well these turned out – if you are a Potter fan and have tasted the butterbeer available at Universal’s theme park, you’ll note the similarity…but, you’ll also likely find that the warm, buttery (what I always imagined from reading the books) flavor is a little more present in these.
I should also mention that they were very well-received by Jen…and her whole family. More than one of the end-result, puffy indulgences left the plate before we were out by the fire.
“Double, double, toil and trouble –
fire burn and sugar bubble!”
Yeah, I went there.
By the way, these really weren’t difficult to make. They have a decent sit and wait time (at least four hours to let them set), but otherwise, a simple and whimsy treat.
See that? I even managed this without a stand-mixer. Easy-peasy, cross my heart.
Juggling a bowl, a pot of hot sugar, and a hand-mixer? No big deal.
And totally worth it. They are wonderful on their own. However, I advise enjoying an open fire outdoors on a cool evening and toasting these sugar-clouds until their crisp outsides hide a decadently melted center. They make great s’mores too, and they’re especially delicious when shared with friends.
Just try and avoid diving in face-first. Share, be nice, make friends – all good things…like marshmallows.
Inspired by the Potter novels and adapted from How Sweet Eats and Alton Brown (love!)
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 to 3 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps
Plus cold, flat cream soda measured up to 1 cup, then divided in two
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Oil or nonstick spray and confectioner’s sugar to coat pan
To flatten the cream soda, pour it into a bowl and whisk it to remove the carbonation. You don’t have to whisk for very long, just to get rid of the fizz. I did this first and then stuck the bowl in the refrigerator to make sure it stayed cold while I prepped the pan.
Oil or spray a 9 x 13 baking pan and coat with a liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar. You want to make sure the pan is well-covered to save yourself from a sticky mess. Set pan aside. Combine 2 to 3 tablespoons of butterscotch schnapps and the cold, flat cream soda in a measuring cup and measure up to 1 cup. This is your butterbeer! Separate it by half. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric stand-mixture with a whisk attachment, if you have such technology), pour half of the cold “butterbeer” and the 3 packets of gelatin. Set aside. If, like me, you are lacking a shiny, pretty stand-mixer, I suggest you have a hand-mixer nearby for later steps.
In a medium saucepan, combine the other ½ cup of butterbeer, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Over low heat, whisk until sugar is dissolved – about 4 or 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Continue to cook the sugar mixture until it reaches 240 degrees F (soft-ball stage). Immediately remove from heat.
Grab the bowl with the gelatin mixture and slowly pour the sugar mixture in while starting to mix with the hand-mixer on low speed. After all of the sugar mixture is added, turn the hand-mixer up to high speed. Whip until mixture is very thick, fluffy and has cooled to lukewarm – this will take about 15 minutes. In the last minute of whipping, add the tablespoon of vanilla. With an oiled spatula, scoop out and pour marshmallow fluff into the powdered sugar-prepped pan. Smooth the fluff & spread it out evenly in the pan with spatula. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Allow it to sit uncovered to firm up for 3-5 hours.
Once firm and more marshmallow-like than fluff-like, turn the pan upside down over a cutting board. Cut the huge marshmallow rectangle into whatever size pieces you’d like…I sprayed a pizza cutter blade with oil (using a Misto, you could also use nonstick spray) and cut the marshmallows with that. The cut sides will be sticky. Lightly dust marshmallows with powdered sugar once cut. I found it easiest to have a bowl filled with powdered sugar standing by and to dip each marshmallow in it and on each side (just to prevent the marshmallows from sticking together). They can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.
My apologies for the disorderly pile of delectable fluff…the bonfire beckoned.