Thursday, 27 October 2016

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

Candy making is magic, it is the alchemy of the kitchen. You take this mundane ingredient, sugar, and you transform it. All that is needed is a little heat and a little time, and what's the result? Well, it's up to you. You might conjure up a rich, dark toffee or a delicate nest of ephemeral sugary strands. Perhaps you'll create soft pillowy clouds, like these lovely and light marshmallows. Whatever your wish, the magic is in the process, as simple sugar takes on it's noblest form, candy

This is the third marshmallow recipe that I've posted on the blog. I started making candy a few years ago and marshmallows were one of my first successes. The basic marshmallow recipe is fairly straight-forward and it lends itself creative interpretation. You can easily change up the flavour and colour of your marshmallows and make them into seasonal treats. 

Now it's obvious to all of us, I'm sure, that pumpkin spice is the flavour of the fall. But that's not the only reason that I decided to try making pumpkin spice marshmallows. The marshmallow candies are so delicate and creamy and sweet, so that kick of cinnamon and ginger works wonderfully well in combination. And when you add one (or two, or three) of these little guys to your hot cider or coffee, it's like really, really good. Nothing basic about it!

And pumpkin spice is a sort of flavour bridge between the autumn Halloween season and the Christmas holiday season. It's just a lovely wintery flavour that's most enjoyable from September to January.

Before I get to the recipe, I feel I should say a few words about pumpkin spice. Just for anyone who lives under a rock and your rock doesn't have a strong wifi signal, and you have somehow missed out on the rise (and fall, and hipster comeback) of the now practically political, pumpkin spice. So just to be clear, we ARE talking about a simple spice blend. And I'll give you the recipe for this mix, because, if you are looking for pumpkin spice post July, there's a good chance you'll be staring into the abyss of an empty Bulk Barn bin. 

At first glance, the autumn of 2016 didn't seem so different from any other. Style bloggers were wearing chunky knit sweaters and posing with Starbucks take-out cups #pumpkinspicelatte; moms were buying pumpkin spice candles; Instagramers were photographing pumpkin spice donuts; and almost all human peoples were holding their iPhones above their heads and taking pics of the foam on their pumpkin spice flavoured coffees. It was just another September. But then, in a flash, pumpkin spice got so hot... it was cold. It was basic. 

Now pumpkin spice, like Hunter boots, has always been an attribute of the basic bitch. But this year, things really rolled down hill for this flavouring. It was a classic case of 'so hip it's square' for pumpkin spice. 

What followed was a strange and confusing time. For many of us, walking into a coffee shop meant being engulfed in battle between 'cool' and 'tasty'. Truly an impossible situation. For a week no one knew what would happen.

Then just the other day, I walked by a cafe, and they had a sign outside that read, "Not too cool for pumpkin spice". 'Could the battle be over so soon?', I thought.  But truly, pumpkin spice is too delicious and seasonally appropriate to be tossed aside in the struggle against basic bitchness.

And so my advice to you, dear reader, is to find yourself a hipster coffee shop that puts all that political pumpkin turmoil up front, and deals with it for you via the use of an ironic, yet beautifully hand lettered chalkboard.  You're welcome.

So, here's the recipe. Because, I'm not kidding, pumpkin spice blends are selling out! You may have to make it yourself (like I did), but don't worry. It's pretty much just cinnamon. 

Pumpkin Spice
3 Tbsp Cinnamon  2 tsp Ginger  2 tsp Nutmeg  1.5 tsp All Spice  1.5 tsp Clove 
Makes 75 grams of spice. (Credit to the Bulk Barn for developing and issuing this recipe).

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows


For Marshmallows
1/2 cup water
2.5 Tbsp powdered gelatine

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup light (clear) corn syrup
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
Simple syrup to taste
2 cups icing sugar
Oil spray (for greasing pan)

For Simple Syrup
2 Tbsp pumpkin spice
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar


Note: You’ll need a stand mixer and candy thermometer to finish this recipe.

Start by making the pumpkin spice simple syrup. Mix equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan. Add pumpkin spice. Heat until boiling to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Grease a 9 x 13” pan with butter or oil. Dust pan with icing sugar and set aside. (For thick marshmallows use a smaller pan, 8 x 8” works well). 

Begin by softening the gelatine: pour 1/2 cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the gelatine over the surface of the water. Let sit until needed. 

Combine sugar, light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt in a 2-4 litre pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved completely. Increase heat to medium/high and heat until boiling. Continue to heat the mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 240 F on a candy thermometer. 

Remove the sugar from heat. Set your stand mixer to ‘stir’ and begin to pour the hot sugar into the gelatine. Once the sugar in incorporated, set mixer to high and mix on high for 9 minutes. The mixture will become white and fluffy and should almost triple in size. 

Add simple syrup to taste, (I used a few large spoonfuls), and beat mixture on high for one additional minute. You can also add food colouring at this point if you like. Scrap marshmallows out of bowl into prepared pan. Smooth the top as best you can. It helps to coat hands in icing sugar and move the marshmallow around with your fingers. Let sit, uncovered, for 8 hours or overnight. 

Next day: Dust a large cutting board with icing sugar. Remove the entire sheet of marshmallow from the pan, using a large offset spatula to help pry it up and out. Place on the sugared cutting board. Cut marshmallows into squares using a lightly greased knife, or cut marshmallows out with a greased and sugared cookie cutter. (A small circle works well). Roll each freshly cut marshmallow in icing sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 7-10 days. 

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