Monday, January 2, 2012

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
Homemade marshmallows have been on my culinary agenda for quite some time now. Especially around the holidays when it seems like all anyone can talk about are the endless amounts of Christmas cookies that sit on the kitchen counter for weeks. I felt like it was really my duty to mix up the ordinary dessert spread for the season. It was finally time for marshmallows to take center stage among other more ordinary holiday treats. Although it may seem like the directions are long, these are deceptively easy to whip up and make perfectly seasonal gifts when wrapped up.

Cooking spray
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Heat a nonstick skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot place the flaked sweetened coconut in it and allow to toast for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the coconut is lightly browned all over and fragrant it is toasted properly. While the coconut is toasting, line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with plastic wrap and coat the plastic wrap with cooking spray. Spread toasted coconut in an even layer in bottom of pan and set aside.

Next, sprinkle the gelatin over the half cup of cold water in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining quarter cup of water, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat for about fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in softened gelatin.

While the sugar mixture cooks, beat the vanilla, salt, and egg whites at with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining quarter cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in gelatin and sugar mixture, beating until very thick, about 5 minutes. At this point the mixture should resemble marshmallow fluff. Spread the marshmallow mixture over the toasted coconut in the baking dish. Coat 1 side of another sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray. Place plastic wrap, coated side down, over the marshmallow mixture. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least eight hours.

Sprinkle powdered sugar and cornstarch in an even layer over a cutting board. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the marshmallows and invert the baking dish onto the cutting board. Using a very sharp non-serrated knife, cut marshmallows into squares and enjoy!

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