Last summer, we took a family vacation out west to California and Oregon. We spent a few days in San Francisco sightseeing. Whenever I'm going to a new place, I always look for bakeries and farmer's markets to pop in and visit if there's an opportunity. When I mention hitting up a local bakery, my kids roll their eyes and groan, but really, there are worse things I could ask them to do!
The Ferry Building was on the top of my must-visit list. There's the Farmer's Market outside and inside, a beautiful bakery called Miette Patisserie. There were beautiful pastel cake stands and wonderful treats residing in every nook of the store. The painted furniture, the wallpaper, the packaging... it just melded together perfectly. We tried a cupcake and a hazelnut macaron and both were delicious.
When we came home from that vacation, I promptly put the Miette cookbook on my Christmas list. And Mark surprised me with one of the cake stands for my birthday - a small 6-inch cake stand in the prettiest pink. It's one my favorites.
The cookbook arrived in my stocking for Christmas and I was so excited to try some recipes.
I tried the mini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which proved to be addicting. They were gone before I remembered to snap a photo!
And I tried the Miette marshmallows.
These Miette marshmallows are more like the marshmallows you can buy at the store. In fact, the texture was exactly the same - more substantial, more dense. I think these could easily be roasted over a fire with no problem, although I haven't tried to yet. I cut them into circles with a cookie cutter, placed them on a lollipop stick and dipped them in chocolate, sprinkles, crushed candy canes and unsweetened coconut (my favorite).
I liked both recipes for marshmallows, but I think I prefer the Miette marshmallows for eating out of hand or roasting on the fire. For hot chocolate, I may prefer the Epicurious marshmallows. So maybe I should call these "Summer Marshmallows", and the other ones "Winter Marshmallows". Either way, try homemade marshmallows - they are delicious!
And if you find yourself in San Francisco, don't miss the Ferry Building and Miette Patisserie!
Makes about 48 1 1/2-inch square marshmallows
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder (4 packets or one ounce)
1/3 cup water, plus 1/2 cup
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 vanilla bean (I omitted)
3 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Have ready a 9×13 inch pan lightly coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and powdered sugar. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with the mixture. Tap off the excess and reserve.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the 1/3 cup water. Set aside to soften.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar. (Save the pod for another use.) Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Over medium-low heat, cook the mixture to 246 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. When the syrup reaches 230 degrees F, start to whisk the egg whites on low speed. When it reaches 246 degrees F, immediately remove the syrup from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until no lumps remain. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into another pan or a heatproof bowl.
With the mixer still on low speed, pour in a small amount of the syrup, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t splash. Continue to add the syrup in a thin stream; when all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high. Continue to whisk until the meringue has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form.
Scrape it out into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Dust the top with some of the remaining cornstarch mixture. Cover the pan and allow the marshmallows to set for approximately 6 hours. To cut, slip an offset spatula between the marshmallow and the sides of the pan. Invert the slab onto a cutting board dusted with the cornstarch mixture. Using a lightly oiled knife, cut the marshmallows into 1 1/2 inch squares. Dust the cut edges with the cornstarch mixture and store in an airtight container or bag for up to 5 days.