Holiday Puzzle Piece Marshmallows
Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:00AM
Mari in gifts, treats

holiday puzzle marshmallows peppermint orange christmas treeMarshmallows strike me as a year-round food item, particularly a summer and winter treat. It's probably because I associate them with fires, like beach bonfires and fireplaces. I've toasted them over a gas stove in desperation but there's nothing quite like sitting in front of a big cracklin' fire, spinning a stick in your hand faster and faster so you get a perfectly toasted shell. Jet-Puffed and Campfire are super convenient to have around but they can't come close to a homemade marshmallow in terms of flavor or texture. Perhaps it's the omission of tetrasodium pyrophosphate or dextrose that makes homemade marshmallows taste so much better. I don't know but whatever it is, I have zero self-control when faced with a tray so it was a good thing I was making these as gifts. 

Martha Stewart Magazine is such an awesome source of ideas and inspiration. I love the swirly pattern of her peppermint marshmallows but since my Christmas present theme was Monogram Holiday Assortment, I couldn't just give people cubes. THAT just wouldn't work. I'm sure Martha would understand and approve...

holiday puzzle marshmallows peppermint orange christmas treeholiday puzzle marshmallows peppermint orange christmas treeFor the recipe I basically used the ingredients from Smitten Kitchen (one additional egg white), combo'd the techniques from David Lebovitz and Martha Stewart, added one teaspoon orange extract for the white batch and one teaspoon peppermint extract for the swirly batch. My one major modification was not sprinkling any confectioners' sugar or cornstarch on either the pan or marshmallow batter before the marshmallow batter was set. I forgot to not "flour" the surface when I made the white, orange blossom flavored ones and you can see how crusty the marshmallows became. Instead, by just oiling them, they remained smooth.

Perhaps for a future batch, instead of swirling the red dye in after the marshmallow batter is spread into the pan, I'll drop it into the stand mixer for 10 seconds or so at the end. As you can see in the above image, the food coloring didn't really penetrate past the first quarter to half-inch. (Annoyed? Just a tad and damn it, I don't have time to make another batch before my holiday deadline.)

holiday puzzle marshmallows peppermint orange christmas treeI cut each piece into 2-inch squares with my go-to plastic wheeled pizza cutter (which I greased occasionally) and a canola oil-dipped cookie cutter. Once the two centers were exchanged, I lightly dabbed a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and confectioners' sugar on the surfaces so the squares wouldn't stick to one another. Too much of the powdery mix and you can't see the swirly pattern very well.

I can imagine cutting out other shapes too or just making two different colored marshmallows (still flavored differently though). It'd be perfect for a baby shower or wedding.

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