Before I headed back to work properly last month, I had a couple of days to take full advantage of getting into the kitchen and having a creative session. I also had a couple of days to take full advantage of a lie-in followed by a day in the sunshine; so I’m sort of ashamed to say the creative session didn’t really spring to much. Only sort of ashamed, as who could blame me for choosing not to be in a hot and sweltering kitchen, on some of the hottest days of the year so far.
In the end I did make something; something that didn’t really involve being a slave to the oven, and just 10 minutes of being stood over the hob… marshmallows! I’d like to say that out on my cycling travels in the sunshine, there had been a flash of juicy brain activity that said ‘yes, this is what I’ll do’. However, the thought process behind them isn’t that glamourous or inspiring. In all honesty they were just a whim and something to satisfy an overactive sweet tooth with nothing in the house that could really do the trick.
What did inspire me though was that the Other Half had made marshmallows as gifts, along with other bits and pieces including some awesome homemade fudge, to go in Christmas hampers. I remember them being not as difficult as I thought they would be, and scrapping down the bowl and the beater was just like eating marshmallow fluff. Awwww the stuff a twitchy sweet tooth’s dreams are made of.
Now there was a little cheating on the marshmallow front thanks to Sainsburys and one of my favourite times of the year… Christmas (in July)!
This year the Sainsbury’s Christmas Press Show took place at the beautiful Somerset House, full of festive fun, food, styling and goodies. Bustling with media, writers and bloggers alike, the contrast of the holly wrapped banisters, decorated Christmas trees and a festive foodie fayre, looking over out of the terrace with a glass of Processco in hand to the courtyard below full of families enjoying the sun, and children running through the foundations; you’d be forgiven that you’d just stepped out into an dimension. Now if someone can arrange for the same weather to appear in December, I’d be most grateful! (I’ll be posting a proper review of all the fantastic things Sainsburys has on offer closer to Christmas).
But in the depths of a burdening goodie bag, was something that I was most excited about a “Marshmallow Kit”, so I decided to road test it. I’ll review the kit properly with all the other goodies later in the year, but it was relatively simple to use; the usual high boiling sugar alerts and being careful apply of course. Anyway, I also made a batch using Ian’s tried and tested basic recipe, with I tweaked up a little with the help of a jar of dulce de leche and a great Speculaas spice mix which The Speculaas Spice Company kindly sent me to try out. Putting them all together you get squishy, bouncy marshmallows rippled with a sticky and sweet caramel, tinged with the warm and spicy Speculaas! In fact although I made these in the middle of the summer, they would be absolutely perfect for an autumn sweet treat curled up with a mug of hot chocolate or for Halloween or Bonfire night.
- 10 x Gelatine Sheets
- 500g Caster sugar
- 4 tsp Liquid glucose
- 200ml Cold water
- 2 Egg whites, large
- 1 tsp Speculaas spice mix
- 4 tbsp Dulce de Leche
- Line a square baking tin or a brownie tray with clingfilm and sprinkle with a good layer of icing sugar.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the gelatine sheets one by one.
- In a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar, liquid glucose and the cold water.
- Gently heat the sugar mixture on a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Over a high heat, bring the sugar mixture to the boil, until it reaches 125-127C (firm ball stage) on a sugar thermometer. Take extra care as the sugar mixture is very hot and sticky.
- As the sugar is boiling, using a stand mixer beat the egg whites until they are stiff. I prefer a stand mixer as it keeps my hands-free for dealing with the sugar mixture.
- When the sugar mixture has reached the firm ball stage, carefully pour the mixture steadily into the egg whites, whilst the stand mixer is still beating.
- Remove the gelatine sheets from the cold water and gently squeeze out any excess water.
- Add the soaked gelatine sheets one at a time, to the whisked egg and sugar mixture, whilst the stand mixer is still beating.
- Add the Speculaas spice mix and continue beating the mixture for 10 mins until the mixture is thick and just pourable.
- Scrape half the mixture into the lined baking tin and using a palette knife, spread out the mixture.
- Add a dulce de leche on top of the marshmallow mixture, and using a palette knife swirl the caramel into and through the mixture.
- Leave the marshmallow to set for 2 hours. Do not keep the marshmallow in the fridge as it will not set properly.
- When the marshmallow is firm, gently turn the marshmallow out onto an board dusted with icing sugar, and cut with a sharp knife dusted in icing sugar.
The marshmallows can be kept in an airtight container for up to one month. They are best kept between layers of baking paper to stop them from sticking together.