All the recipes in this book will come together in more or less the same way. Here’s a run-down of what should happen in each step. Refer to this section if you find yourself needing tips or visual cues while engaging in sweet, sweet mallow-making.
The Bloom: “Blooming” gelatin refers to softening it in a liquid before using it in a recipe. Prepare your bloom nice and early to ensure it’s fully hydrated. First, put your cold water or other liquids in a small heatproof bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over it before whisking. You’ll get fewer lumps this way. I recommend 5 to 10 minutes of blooming time, but there’s no such thing as letting a bloom go too long—more time is always better than not enough. When I’m ready to deal with the bloomed gelatin, I melt it with a quick 20- to 30-second zap in the microwave (or over simmering water in a double boiler, if you’re micro-less) and then give it a good whisking. Finally, I rub a bit of the mixture between my fingers to make sure there are no undisolved granules before adding the bloom to the mixer bowl.
The Syrup: The base for all the recipes in this book is a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, water, and a touch of salt, melted to a syrup and then boiled to a certain temperature. Sometimes I’ll throw in additional liquids, depending on the flavor. Whatever is in the syrup pot is what you’ll stir together gently over high heat. When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup comes up to a bubble, clip a candy thermometer onto the pan. From there, just keep a keen eye on that temperature until it reaches the degree indicated in the recipe. You can also stir the mixture occasionally if you wish or if the recipe calls for it to prevent burning.
The Mallowing: In this step, the bloomed gelatin, hot sugar syrup, and air come together with the help of an electric mixer . . . and pure, pillowy magic happens. I never tire of watching fresh marshmallow billowing up in my mixer bowl. At this stage, you might add extra flavorings to the batter, and you’ll pour or pipe it into a waiting pan or molds and dust it with a coating before letting it cure. You might notice that my method for marshmallow-making is different from most. Many other similar recipes have you whisking the bloom into the hot syrup and then pouring the whole lot into a running stand mixer on high speed. I’ve done it this way, and you tend to get a whole lot of sugar syrup spinning onto the sides of the bowl rather than into your mallow batter, along with a good chance of ending up in a burn unit. Not delicious, really dangerous.
About 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows
5 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
½ cup cold water