I was distressed dear readers. There I was, with a packet of gelatin leaves who's expiry date was fast approaching, and I had no idea what to do with them. They were mocking me from within their packaged home at my lack of gelatin-related recipe knowledge. But I was not to be beaten by these gremlin gelatin leaves. I got me on my laptop, I typed in 'gelatin-related recipes' and there shining before me, like the sun breaking free from behind parted clouds, was the word 'Marshmallow', and I knew where my destiny, for that day at least, lay.
Now, this isn't a 'I'll start making these and assume I have the ingredients knocking about' kind of recipe...only to find that I do in fact have about 2 of the required ingredients and therefore must make the long, treacherous journey into town to buy the rest. Oh no. This required strange and fantastical ingredients like Gelatin leaves and 'Liquid Glucose'. I was scared readers, but I was excited.
So to the super supermarket I sped, found some Liquid Glucose next to my future husband Dr. Oetker, and stood before it in awe. It sounded so exotic and science-y. Behold, Liquid Glucose:
Controls the formation of sugar crystals...obviously...
So! After I had finished drooling over my new magical ingredient, I continued with my weird and wonderful marshmallow recipe! Which rather oddly, required me to 'soak my gelatin leaves'. After making enquiries, you don't actually have to have a bath with your gelatin leaves which I have to say I was a little relieved about. You do however soak them in a little bath of their own so they end up looking like a mound of weird, rubbery goodness:
Now, as if everything up to this point hadn't been strange, scary and complicated enough, next I was instructed to combine sugar, water and my glorious glucose in a pan and boil it. That I can handle. But being asked to place my SUGAR THERMOMETER!, actual scientific equpiment! into my concoction, well I have to say I nearly fainted. For at this point I realised I had committed my usual cooking sin of starting something without actually knowing if I have everything I will actually need...and besides I usually run a mile from anything requiring more than a good old fashioned spoon, so you can imagine my alarm at the idea of sugar thermometers...
Not to be dismayed though! I simply boiled it up anyway for the required 10 ish minutes and pretty much guessed using my internal sense of when a sugar mixture reaches 127 degrees/sheer hope, and carried on...
My sugar mixture at EXACTLY 127 degrees!...ish
Then FINALLY it's onto the easy part! Simply plop your gelatin into your sugar mixture, whip up your egg whites to the stiff white peaks we all know and love then slowly, carefully, gently and trepadatiously add your sugar mixture to the egg whites as they're still mixing.
As you can see if you look reeeally carefully at the above picture, there are tiny little bumps in the mixture. Being the amateur marshmallower that I am, I added my hot sugar mixture straight away to my egg whites and as logic dictates, hotness + eggyness = scrambled eggs! So i did get essence of scramble in my marshmallow mix SO to avoid scrambled marshmallow...unless you love it, allow your sugar mixture to cool in a cold metal jug after you add your gelatin for a couple of minutes so you don't end up with lumpy bumpy marshmallow.
So! Then you simply leave your mixture mixing for about 10-15 minutes until its stiff-ish and glossy. I would seriously recommend using or investing in a KitchenAid/Stand alone mixer if you're going to embark on the Marshmallow making journey, otherwise you will end up with some very tasty marshmallow, but no arms if you attempt to do it with a hand whisk. Your call.
Whilst the mixture mixes in the mixer, lightlly oil a baking pan or whatever container (not the inside of your mouth) with oil, icing sugar and cornflour to make for easy release when you tip out your marshmallow. It's RIDICULOUSLY sticky...I blame Mr. Glucose.
So once that's done and dusted ('scuse the pun) You attend to your marshmallow mixture. Taste it because everything must be tasted in its raw state even if it leads to mild food poisoning...
I am warning you though that in the case of our Marshmallow friends, it's even nicer in liquid form, so do try to restrain from eating it all from the bowl before you've at least attempted to let it set...I suggest having a judgemental friend or family member with you when making these as to eat liquidised marshmallow in front of said person would be to bring shame upon yourself and your family.
Doing it alone though is just good sense and a joyous, very tasty moment.
If you still have some marshmallow mixture left at this point, tip it all into your prepared container and simply let it chill out and relax for an hour or 2! I split my mixture into 3 flavours; Vanilla, Lemon and Rosewater then splashed some food colouring on top for added 'Oooh' and 'Aaah' factor. If you do add food colouring afterwards however, the top does remain quite sticky after the rest of the marshmallow has set which makes it annoying to cut, so swirl your colours in before you tip it into your tin for a beautiful swirly effect!
Then all that's left to do is restrain from eating it all before you can show it off...Good Luck!