I hate to be one of those people who talks about the weather, but seriously what is going on? May is spring, not summer. And yet, we’re supposed to be getting 90-degree weather today. For the past three days, I have suffered in a house whose thermostat reads 80-85°. Sure, I could turn on the air conditioning, but I won’t. On principle. I am boycotting this weather.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Mother Nature really gives a crap if I’m protesting. And probably gets some kind of sick pleasure in watching my self-inflicted torture. I do not do heat well. Everything I did this weekend was slowed down and extra-sweaty. And my hair is just. Out of control. And I’m a little angrier at everything.
Since the weather has decided to play tricks on me, I got in the mood for one of my favorite summertime treats: s’mores. But I didn’t feel like breaking out the fire pit and putting my face in front of some flames on an already scorching hot day. I mean, shouldn’t s’mores really be a winter dessert, because you actually want to be around a fire then? Blah blah camping, I know.
I also don’t do camping well. It’s not so much that I hate nature, but we just aren’t on the same page. I have crazy bad allergies, so there’s that. Plus, my eczema makes sweating pretty unbearable. And then there are bugs? What part of this is fun? But I’m still grateful to the Girl Scouts for inventing s’mores, because is there any better flavor combination than marshmallow, graham crackers, and chocolate?
I hope you realize that the answer is no.
I first made marshmallows almost exactly two years ago. I made them almond flavored and my husband went nuts for them. And even though homemade marshmallows aren’t super difficult, there is a lot of mess and there is waiting involved. So I haven’t made them since, despite my husband’s frequent begging.
And since I was feeling whimsical, I cut the marshmallows into star shapes. And completed the makeshift s’more transformation by dipping them in milk chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.
Unfortunately, I think I’ve developed a gelatin allergy, because my lips and tongue get really tingly after I eat these marshmallows. And yet I keep eating them. These aren’t my favorite things I’ve ever made, but they are fun and kind of addicting to eat just because they’re cute and on sticks. If you have kids that need entertained, decorating marshmallow pops is probably a great project for them. Just be prepared to clean up a gigantic mess when it’s all over. You’ve been warned.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided
- 3 quarter-ounce packets (21 grams) granulated gelatin
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 1 cup (328 grams) light corn syrup, divided
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (60 grams) sifted confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup (170 grams) milk chocolate chips
- 4-5 rectangular graham crackers
- Lollipop sticks or paper straws
- Wax paper
- Dab some vegetable shortening on a paper towel. Grease the sides and bottom of a 13x9-inch pan with the shortening and set aside.
- Place ½ cup cold water in a large heatproof bowl (this will be used as a double boiler later, so choose an appropriate bowl!). Sprinkle gelatin over the top of the water. Don't stir it; the gelatin will soak up the water.
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and place on stove over medium-low heat to bring water to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, ½ cup (164 grams) corn syrup, and ½ cup water. If you have a candy thermometer, clip it on the side of the saucepan.
- Put the remaining ½ cup (164 grams) of corn syrup in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- When water is simmering in your first pan, place the bowl of gelatin over it and stir with a spatula until the gelatin melts. Remove from pan. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the gelatin into the corn syrup. Keep the mixer on low.
- By this time, the sugar mixture should be about ready, in "soft ball" stage (between 235-240°F; it will have become transparent and amber in color). When it gets to this stage, remove it from the heat and take out the thermometer. Return the saucepan to medium heat for 1 minute, then slowly pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high for 5 minutes. The mixture will get white and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, then turn the speed all the way up for 1 minute.
- Quickly pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with sifted confectioners' sugar. Chill for at least 3 hours, uncovered.
- Using a knife, loosen the edges of the marshmallow slab and remove it with your hands onto a surface lightly dusted with confectioners' sugar.
- Sift ½ cup of confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Grease your cookie cutter with shortening, and dip in confectioners' sugar before cutting out shapes. This will help prevent the marshmallow from sticking inside the cutter. Push out the marshmallow shape and roll each in confectioners' sugar to coat the sticky edges. After all shapes have been cut out, cut the remaining pieces of the marshmallow slab into pieces with a knife, rolling each piece in confectioners' sugar. Store them in an air-tight container to eat or use for s'mores or hot chocolate.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening for 1 minute on 70% power. Stir, and return to the microwave for 10-15 second intervals, stirring after each, until chips are completely melted. Do not microwave on full power, or you will burn the chocolate. Alternatively, melt the chocolate and shortening in a heat-proof bowl over a double boiler.
- Crush graham crackers into small pieces into a bowl. Insert a stick/straw into the base of each marshmallow. I found that it helped to twist the sticks as I pushed them in. Dip the top of each marshmallow in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the wet chocolate. I used a small bowl underneath the marshmallow to catch the crumbs as I did this. Shake off any excess crumbs over your catch-bowl, then place the marshmallow pops on wax paper to dry for about an hour, or until chocolate has hardened.