A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sugar overload

Last week, for 4th of July, Ed and I made marshmallows. Why, you might ask? Well, I'll have to get back to you on that.

Anyway, after Ed asked if I could make them "low calorie" and I explained that basically all marshmallows are is sugar and water, we went to the store to buy sugar in all its forms - granulated, corn syrup, powdered. The recipe is actually pretty simple, except that I'm not a candy maker. First step was to see if I had anything that could serve as a candy thermometer. We did have a small digital thermometer which went high enough so decided that would suffice.

Then I had to go online and find out what the crap "soft ball stage" meant! Still not sure I understand that concept but it turned out to not matter. We mixed the sugar, syrup and water and let it boil. Now the fun part - checking the temperature. Remember that meat thermometer? Well, the head of it is about 3/4" and there's no way to clip it to the pan. So Ed and I had to take turns holding the dang thing in the middle of the pan to check the temp. You can only hold it for so long before the steam and heat begins to melt the skin from your fingers so this was NOT the fun part! Plus the steam sort of obliterated the readout so mostly we had to guess. It finally got to what we thought was the right temperature so we said, "what the hell."

The next step is to pour the scalding, sugary liquid into the mixer to mix with more water and gelatin. WITHOUT getting any on your bodily parts as super hot sugar tends to stick and then pull your skin off. Remind me to tell you about my experience making popcorn balls in 7th grade Home Ec and the scar from the blue sugary syrup that is still on my forearm 50 years later.

But finally we got it all mixed and put it into the pan which was lined with parchment. Of course, Ed had to run to the store to buy parchment paper because we didn't have any. After we spread it in the pan, we put red and blue food color dots on top and ran threw them with toothpicks to give the marshmallows a festive flair.

One of the biggest problems I had was washing the bowls and utensils before Ed could lick all the marshmallow batter off them and sink into a diabetic coma! That was not easy. This little glob stayed on his chin and neck for the longest time!

A few hours later we cut them into squares and rolled the in powdered sugar. They actually came out quite good and everyone loved them. Much better than store-bought. Ed wants to make this a new family tradition for big events. I may have to invest in a real candy thermometer.


the thrifty ba said...

look at you brave woman! i have always wanted to try and make these...now that you have proved that normal people (aka not martha) can make them, i think i will try.
if i make it back from camp...

Mellodee said...

Being married to a gadget geek, I can proudly say that we DO have a candy thermometer, with clip! We've had it for probably 35 years or so. It's never been used, you understand, but we have it!!