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Home-made marshmallows

Recipes

Re-create memories of Friday night takeaways, family road trips and lolly bags on the way home from school with this marshmallow recipe from new cookbook 'Milkbar Memories'.

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In Milkbar Memories, chef and prolific cookery author Jane Lawson presents many of the nostalgic recipes that define growing up in 1970s Australia – malted milkshakes, musk sticks, banana splits, neenish tarts and vanilla slice, all made from scratch with natural ingredients.

The treats may be old-fashioned, but Lawson’s recipes have been created to suit the modern cook who feels like a trip down memory lane.

“The word ‘marshmallow’ conjures whimsical imagery of sweet youth, does it not?” writes Lawson. “Airy pillows of fanciful delight. This recipe and the flavour variations are guaranteed to turn you away from supermarket versions for life.”

Marshmallow

I suggest making marshmallows on cooler, less humid days – when working with sugar, the weather can play a big part in the final outcome. Sugar can be a sticky trickster like that.

Milkbar-Memories_CVR-resized

Recipe and images from ‘Milkbar Memories’ by Jane Lawson, $39.99, Murdoch Books.

Ingredients

mild-flavoured cooking oil spray
20g gelatine sheets (12 sheets, each 7 x 11.5cm)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
375ml (1½ cups) cold water
250ml (1 cup) liquid glucose
1½ tablespoons honey
275g (1¼ cups) caster (superfine) sugar

For coating
125g (1 cup) icing sugar mixture, sifted
125g (1 cup) cornflour, sifted

Method

Spray a 20 x 30cm baking tin evenly with cooking oil spray.

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 5 minutes, or until softened. Squeeze out any excess liquid, then place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and 125 ml (½ cup) of the water. Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer and gently mix the gelatine and liquids together.

Pour the remaining water into a saucepan with a pouring lip. Add the glucose, honey and caster sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has just dissolved. After this point, do not stir at all. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to run around the inside rim of the pan to ensure there are no sugar crystals lurking. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the electric mixer onto medium–low speed. Pouring carefully, gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the gelatine mixture in a stream. Once the gelatine mixture has melted, you can add the rest of the syrup more quickly. Cover the top of the bowl with a tea towel to collect any splatters if you like and increase the speed to high. Whisk continuously on high for 20 to 25 minutes — make sure you go the whole distance, as the time is needed to cool and stabilise the marshmallow. You will end up with a thick, glossy, fluffy mass, like soft-peak meringue.

Use a spatula to scrape the marshmallow into your baking tin and very gently smooth over. Leave to set at room temperature for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight if you can, to let the texture and flavour settle. If it is a really hot, humid day, set the marshmallow in the fridge. When ready to coat the marshmallow, combine the icing sugar mixture and cornflour and sprinkle a little on a clean work surface. To release the marshmallow from the tin, you may need to run a hot, wet knife around the inside edge of the tin. Sprinkle some icing sugar mixture over the top of the marshmallow and smooth over with your hands. Turn the marshmallow out onto your work surface, sprinkle more of the mixture over the top and smooth over.

Using a sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into 3cm x 4cm rectangles. Dip any exposed marshmallow edges in the remaining icing sugar mixture.

Store your marshmallows in an airtight container to keep the moisture out. To stop them sticking together, stack them in single layers, sprinkling each layer with any leftover icing sugar mixture, and placing a sheet of baking paper between each layer.

They will keep in a cool dark place (or in the fridge in warm weather) for up to 1 week. They will start to break down a little after this time, and not look so pretty, but will still taste good.

Note: Try flavouring the marshmallow with essences or fruit juice.

Makes about 50 pieces

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