A few years ago, I was wandering around the two very quaint, and adjoining, towns of New Hope and Lambertville, PA. It’s one of those vibrant and pedestrian friendly places, with loads of unique shops and restaurants to savor. A beautiful river runs between the towns, with adorable scenes to be had everywhere you look.
Of course, I was drawn straight to the chocolate shop! I saw, in the glass case, these beautiful homemade marshmallows calling my name. It was my first time trying the homemade kind. Oh, my goodness; they will blow your mind!! Nothing like the store bought kind. Just heavenly. So, ever since then, I vowed to try making them myself. Now, I finally have.
There are two steps to this. First, making the caramel, which takes some patience, as you cannot rush the process. It’s just a matter of stirring at a low temperature for some time, so not to burn it (this is what they call a “dry caramel”). It’s nothing complicated and can be done ahead of time. Preferably, to your favorite soothing music.
Then, the marshmallows, which are pretty quick to whip up. You could start with just making the plain marshmallows to save on labor. But, to miss the opportunity to smell that Lapsang Souchong tea, marrying into the caramel sauce, would be to rob yourself of amazing sensory experience. At least try it at SOME point!
I drew my inspiration for making this delicious recipe, from fellow blogger, Beth Kirby of Local Milk. She is an amazing chef, photographer and writer. You must go to her page on Homemade Marshmallows to read more on the origin of the marshmallow, and on what inspires her. Thank you Beth, for inspiring me to take the Homemade Marshmallow plunge.
Below, I have given you a simple, step-by-step visual of how I made the recipe, in hopes of passing the inspiration along.
The Lapsang Souchong Caramel Sauce
1 candy thermometer
1 cup heavy cream
1 heaping tsp loose leaf Lapsang Souchong tea
2 cups granulated sugar
12 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
My first thought, was how the heck am I going to find this tea. It actually wasn’t too hard. They had it at my local (high-end) supermarket. Plus, there are loads of tea stores around now. If you can’t find this exact one, just try another that suits your nose. You only need a heaping teaspoon full. I spent a whopping $0.66 to get way more than enough.
Bring cream ALMOST to a boil, remove from heat and add tea leaves. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl and set aside.
Melt 2 cups of sugar over medium heat, gently pushing it around occasionally. This is the part that takes some patience. Stick with it, though.As you can see, it will eventually come together with no lumps. It’s supposed to be dark in color.
Once it’s completely melted, add the butter, one tbsp at a time, stirring consistently. Remove from heat, add the salt. Then, very, very slowly stir in the cream.Keep stirring all the time.
Return to heat until it has reached 230 degrees F on the candy thermometer. Pour in heat-proof bowl to cool.
1 candy thermometer
13x9x2 inch pan, prepared with greased parchment paper
1 cup water
3 1/4 oz packets of unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Add gelatin to 1/2 cup cold water, and let stand for 15 minutes. (If you have an electric mixer, do this step in that (with the whisk attachment). I do not have a mixer, so I used a large bowl.
In saucepan, place 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water. Stir over medium heat until dissolved. Increase heat, and boil until it reaches 235-240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
Extremely SLOWLY, pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture, while whisking. Start on low with the electric mixer, then increase to high, once syrup is added. Whisk for 15 minutes in the electric mixer (it took me the same amount of time by hand). But, more importantly, until it pulls away from the sides. Be patient with this, being sure to beat it fully to this stage. You want your marshmallows turn out nice and fluffy. Not flat. Add the vanilla, and whisk for another 30 seconds.
Immediately, pour 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared pan. Work FAST here. Use a greased spatula. This stuff is very sticky, and will start becoming harder to work with rapidly. I even greased my hands.
Pour 1 cup of the caramel sauce onto that layer. (Err on the side of less than more caramel, or the end result will be too runny). Then, pour the rest of the marshmallow mixture on top. Smooth out the top with your greased spatula, pulling with your hands if necessary.
Let sit for 4 hours to overnight, uncovered at room temperature.
Mix the corn starch and powdered sugar together, in a bowl. Heavily powder a work surface with some of the mixture, a little larger than the size of the pan. Then, flip the marshmallows out onto the work surface.
Peel off the parchment paper. Take a greased knife, and coat it with the corn starch mixture. Throw some of the mixture on top of the marshmallows as well, before cutting it into 2 squares. I kept re-greasing my knife as I went.
Once the squares are cut, coat each marshmallow with more corn starch and powdered sugar mix. This will seal in the caramel, and keep everything from sticking too much.
Voila! You’re done. I suggest serving them with fresh strawberries and drizzling the whole plate with melted chocolate!