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Problems with Marshmallows, HELP!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So, I am not a professional pastry chef. I work as a chef in a small restaurant, We have been selling chocolates (truffles mostly) and macaroons that we get from a pretty good vendor. Anyway, my boss wants us to start doing our own chocolates and candies. Last week she comes to me with a recipe for marshmallows that she wants me to try. Plan being that we will make a few different kinds, have them available for our customers that order our hot chocolate (which I make from scratch, it's real thick), sell them as they are and have some to dip in chocolate, etc.


This week I gave the recipe a try (it is this one btw: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html ) and it bombed. frown.gif

They tasted good (I just started with regular vanilla flavor, nothing fancy yet) but the texture was totally off. They were really dense and heavy. Not spongy and light at all. Can some one help me with what I did wrong? Or maybe this is not a good recipe? (tho the feedback was mostly positive)

 

I followed the directions exactly, some things that threw up a red flag for me:

 

The sugar, corn syrup, and water, even tho I was heating it over medium/high heat it took way longer than 8 minutes to come up to 240 F. (It was probably closer to 20 minutes) It was a fairly dry day (I am in Texas where humidity can be an issue) and the kitchen was not very cold or warm.

 

I used our kitchenaid mixer with the balloon whisk to whip it all up (gelatin packs in cold water in the bowl). Sugar was drizzled slowly along the side of the bowl with the whisk going on lower speed. When all the sugar was added I flipped it up to high, it went good for about the first 5 minutes, then the mixture just stayed in the middle of the whisk, not fly around the bowl as I expected it to. I whisked the mixture for 13 minutes (split the difference of their suggestion of 12-15 minutes), adding the vanilla extract on minute 12.

It came out of the bowl with great difficulty (as expected) but I oiled my hands to push the majority of the mixture out of the center of the whisk, so it went into the pan that had been dusted with the cornstarch/confectioners sugar mixture it was heavy and dense.

 

Could it be the water? We have very hard water here in Texas and I don't think our water goes through a filtration. Should I try using bottled water?

 

Should I use the paddle attachment instead of the balloon whisk?

 

Oh, and I did use Domino pure cane sugar, not beet sugar. and Karo brand corn syrup.

 

 

Any suggestions? I have ZERO experience with candy making, but I wanted to take this challenge on to learn. Thankfully my boss is very understanding and has even less candy experience than I do. (well she really has no kitchen/cooking experience either) And I am excited about making them. I have lots of ideas for different flavors and what all we can do with them. I really want this to work!

post #2 of 15

No, use the whisk.  See if you can "aim" the hot syrup into the center of the bowl-not along the sides where it cools down too fast.

 

Sounds like the sugar syrup might have been cooked too hard. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 15

I agree with Foodpump - it sounds like the syrup was cooked too hot.  You need to check the calibration of your thermometer - I have seen this happen so very many times at work.  There are a lot of inaccurate thermometers out there.  Easiest way to check is to bring water to a rapid boil and check the temperature.  If it doesn't read 212 F exactly, that is your problem.  

post #4 of 15

You have cooked your sugar to the hardball or crack stage. Use a sugar thermometer and as stated above pour in a constant drizzle towards center of bowl. D not overwhip.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys so much!!! I had a sinking feeling about the sugar boiling. I kept pacing back and forth watching it while it was bubbling knowing something wasn't right. I am headed out to the store now to go get some gelatin, I am gonna try it at home with your suggestions and see how they turn out.

 

I watched some you tube videos last night and it seemed like I over beat it too. Just about every video I watched said to beat it 6-12 minutes, not 12-15.

 

May just get a new candy thermometer too. smile.gif

 

Thanks again! I'll post back when I get them done

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Another question, do y'all use silicone pans for your marshmallows?

I watched one video where a lady used a silicone cake pan, and they seemed to pop out real easy. I do however live in a small town and cannot find a square silicone cake pan. I am gonna just use a regular metal pan lined with parchment today but I wonder if it would be worth it to order one for future use (as I suspect my boss will have me making lots of them)

post #7 of 15
Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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post #8 of 15

For marshmallows, it wouldn't be worth getting the silicone.  Just line whatever pan you want with plastic wrap and spray it well with pan spray.  I also spray my knife when I cut them and I haven't had a problem with them coming out of the pan.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks Jelly, good to know.

 

I have them "curing" now. I think they are gonna turn out this time. I took the sugar to 235 F. and whipped it in my kitchen aid for about 8 minutes. It looked much different that from when I first made it. Much fluffier and the mixture didn't get stuck in the middle of the whisk like it did the first time.

 

post #10 of 15

I agree with everyone else about the sugar, but have a few more suggestions for you.  I make marshmallows all the time.  Be sure you whip the mixture until the bottom of the bowl is room temperature.  Once you get the mixture into the pan, cover it with the cornstarch/10X mixture and let it set overnight at room temp before attempting to cut them.  Once cut, keep dusted with the cornstarch/10X mixture to prevent them from sticking together. 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone! I just wanted to post back, I have been crazy busy at the restaurant the last couple weeks but the marshmallows have been working out GREAT. Below is a picture of a batch I made with all of your suggestions and they turned out awesome! These I used a knife to cut, but since then learned that a pizza cutter works much better. I rolled the cut sides in some valentines colored sprinkles and our customers loved them! I have been making just plain batches to put in our hot chocolate and this week I am working on fruit ones (strawberry and raspberry) that we will dip half in dark chocolate for valentine's day.

 

Thank you so much for the help!!!

 

 

Marshmallows

post #12 of 15

I am so glad they worked out - they look fabulous!

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks! Here are the plain vanilla ones I made. We sold out of these today. I also made Dulce De Leche ones this morning and I only have about 1/2 the batch left. They just FLEW out of the door!

 

DSC_0001-1.JPG

post #14 of 15

Haven't been online lately, but this got me interested because you said you drizzled the sugar into the bowl with the bloomed gelatin. I've only used one recipe before, and it's worked out pretty well. And I agree that you need to be careful to not overcook the sugar because the marshmallows will eventually deflate. The technique I use is to bloom the gelatin in a separate bowl (I use sheets), and when the sugar gets to the proper temp, I dump in the gelatin and stir it. Then I pour the whole mess into the mixing bowl and beat until cool, adding the salt and vanilla after about 3 minutes.

 

I'm curious as to what other techniques anyone else has used.

 

And your finished product looks great, Momandchef. How did you get the sprinkles to stick?

 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

I just poured the sprinkles on a plate and as I cut the marshmallows I dipped the cut sides into the sprinkles and gently tapped off the excess. I did dust the tops and bottoms in the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture.

 

As soon as I got the temp. of the sugar figured out, and the whipping time everything turned out perfect. I just allow the gelatin to bloom in the mixing bowl and I have been slowly pouring it into the bowl while the whisk is going. as soon as all the sugar is poured in I crank the speed up to high and let it go for 8-10 minutes. It has been making perfect marshmallows every time.

 

The dulce de leche I added cinnamon to the dusting powder and they were a huge hit. A lady came in yesterday had one in her hot chocolate then promptly purchased 8 more to take home.

I am cutting them into 1 1/2" cubes, selling the plain vanilla ones for .50 cents each and the flavored ones (I've made so far the dulce de leche, Raspberry and black cherry) sell for .75 cents each. The fruit ones I have come to realize need to be re-dusted to keep from sticking to each other.

 

We threw some dark chocolate into the tempering machine yesterday to do strawberries and I drizzled the leftover chocolate over a few of the raspberry ones. Those were really good.

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