As you might have guessed by the title, you don't need a sugar thermometer for this recipe (yes I was surprised and suspicious when I started experimenting, too!) Also, these are eggless marshmallows, and don't need glucose or corn syrup, either. Basically this recipe is about as simple marshmallows get.
This was also an excuse to try out a new no-bake folding pan I found while shopping online for pretty moon cake moulds (which will make an appearance in the autumn... patience!)
I got this pan (along with the moulds) shipped to me all the way from Singapore. You can actually find this pan on this side of the globe, but the reason why I ordered it from Singapore is a story for another day.
You don't have to use a folding pan, though: as long as you grease and flour any pan well, you'll be fine. Also, if you want plain marshmallows, simply omit the strawberry flavouring and freeze dried strawberries.
-2tbsp gelatin powder, soaked in 8tbsp water
-450g caster sugar
-Pinch of salt
-1tsp strawberry paste (or strawberry flavouring and few drops of pink food colouring)
-1tbsp freeze dried strawberry bits (for topping)
-Butter and cornflour for greasing and dusting
1) Grease an 8" square pan with butter and dust liberally with cornflour
2) Put the sugar, salt and 125ml water in a pan and heat on a low to medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved (it'll go from cloudy white to clear with a bit of surface foam)
|Looks like too much sugar but...|
|Give it a little stir, heat and...|
|... All dissolved!|
3) Add your soaked gelatin, stir until dissolved and bring to a boil
4) As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl (Pyrex is perfect)
|(Don't worry about the yellow hue)|
5) Let cool for a few minutes, and whisk on a low-ish speed until it begins to thicken and go white (be careful not to splash yourself with the hot sugar mixture!! I used my little hand mixer, but if you have something like a Kitchenaid or any stand mixer use that)
|Not done yet, but ready for some colour...|
6) Once it's thickened up quite a bit, add your flavourings and colourings, and continue to mix on high until very very thick and pillowy
7) With an oiled spatula or spoon, scrape into your prepared pan, sprinkled over the freeze dried strawberry bits and let set at room temperature (NOT in the fridge or it'll go soggy from the moisture) for at least four hours
8) Turn out onto a cornfloured surface if you don't have a collapsible pan (bottom side down so you don't cover up the red strawberry bits) and cut into squares with an oiled knife. Lightly dust any exposed sticky sides with more cornflour too: this will stop the marshmallows from sticking to each other
9) Stack up into a squishy soft strawberry mountain and enjoy!
My final verdict? Homemade marshmallows beat store-bought any day, and are super easy to make: so don't buy 'em, make 'em!