I have never done a lot of confection making, and normally draw the line with any recipe that requires a candy thermometer. We haven't had a lot of luck using thermometers either for candy or oil in the past, so I just avoid the recipes that require them. A friend of mine posted on facebook, that if we ended up with a snow day she was going to make marshmallows with the kids, and snow day we had with 12+" on the ground and more falling. Now that sounded like a fun project and a perfect break from snowball fights and snowman making. She texted me the recipe and I was ready to tackle it.
It started out shaky because the recipe also included another nemesis of mine, gelatin. I haven't had a lot of luck using that successfully in my jam making, but I have come to attribute that to not adding the ridiculous amounts of sugar necessary, so what the hay, lets try it. I was able to find the instructions to test the molten sugar the old fashioned way, without the candy thermometer, and it was a breeze! Once the water (1/2 C.), sugar (1/2 C.) and corn syrup (3/4 C.) reach the right temperature (250 degrees), then you just pour it into the water and gelatin mixture that has been sitting in the Kitchenaid just waiting to be embellished and mix it for a good 10-15 minutes on high, adding 1 tsp. of vanilla part way through. It will become a snowy white and glossy.
What's next? Just pour the gooey goodness into a greased square dish, either plain, or sprinkled with toasted coconut. If you are using coconut, then sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut on top (1 C. Total) and let it set for at least twelve hours.
This morning, I loosened the edges and dumped it out onto a cutting board. Then I lightly greased my kitchen shears and cut them into lovely marshmallow chunks.
I have gotta say, that not only am I not intimidated by confections any longer, but I am not so sure I can ever go back to store bought marshmallows again....so good!