Rhubarb Marshmallows

On Friday, I mentioned that I needed a project on Thursday afternoon to keep my mind off the day's events.   I went grocery shopping, and decided that marshmallows would be a good project.  I got some gelatin, and hoped that I had everything else I'd need.  I also couldn't resist getting some rhubarb.  It was just sitting there, and I'm so used to having it growing in the backyard at mom and dad's house, that it's been strange to not have the option to make rhubarb sauce whenever.

By the time I got home, I had decided that rhubarb marshmallows sounded like an intriguing idea.  And I've discovered that most possible ingredients can be used to flavor marshmallows.  Even hot pepper.  Seriously.  So, I figured it was worth a try.

And, I was right.  Right away, I found a recipe.  It didn't seem too much harder than regular marshmallows.  I figured it was worth a shot.  

Except, I didn't have enough eggs.  Or enough rhubarb.  Or cream of tartar.  So, back to the grocery store it was!

By that point, I didn't have time to do any more than chop the rhubarb before I had to run some errands.

Later in the evening, I started for real.  I ended up letting the rhubarb sauce simmer for almost an hour, I think.  I was waiting for it to get really sticky, and it wasn't getting there.  Then I realized that corn syrup wasn't as viscous as I thought, and a thick soup was a better way to think of the consistency I was looking for.

Straining it was an adventure, as the only mesh strainer I have holds about a single serving of berries.  But it worked.  And I even ended up with some lovely, thick rhubarb sauce as a leftover!

Meanwhile, there was some Greek-yogurt vodka sauce-esque pasta sauce on the stove.  That's another story for another day.

After dinner, it was time to make the actual marshmallows.

Hummingbird High suggested using a pastry brush to brush sugar and cornstarch on the sides of the pan, and I tried it.  It worked wonderfully.  I couldn't believe it.  After all those times of trying to not make a mess while shaking the pan and such, this was so simple.

Then, making the marshmallows involved lots of stirring sugar and water on the stove, beating egg whites, and beating the mixture of the two into a lovely white froth.

This recipe suggested starting the mixer on low about 16 degrees before the sugar mixture is done.  I wondered if this would be long enough to froth the eggs, but it does take quite a long time for those last few degrees.

I actually ended up starting to clean up the kitchen while it fluffed up in the mixer.   It was perfect timing.

And on Friday morning, I cut them up.  The humidity didn't help much, but they came out eventually.  And they weren't fluff goo like the ones I made after Christmas.

The sugar/cornstarch mixture did disappear almost as soon as I packaged them because it's been so humid, but they are still not too sticky, so that is ok by me.

I don't know that they taste strongly of rhubarb, but they are definitely different.  They are white, so I was expecting the first few to taste normal.  They are definitely less sweet, and I am used to them now.  They are a unique treat.

On Friday night, in the ridiculous heat, NES and I went on a picnic!  NES does not like marshmallows much (which I don't quite understand . . . ), otherwise I would have brought some!  Instead we had bacon and cheddar sandwiches, chips and carrots.
 As warm as it was, it was nicer by the water.  We had a lovely evening with our picnic and reading.
And then I had some banana ice cream, but this time with Nutella!  Between the Nutella and the ripened bananas, it was much, much better!  Mmmmm.
Also, this weekend, we celebrated Gram's 94th birthday.  Especially after this past week, it was such a blessing to have this celebration.  I really think that I appreciated it more after losing HGM last week.
We had a lovely lunch by the water.
There was even a cute little goose family.  The goslings were awful cute.

And cake!  Can't forget cake!
 And as much as I missed having HGM there with us, it was a fun weekend, and great to be with family!

Rhubarb Marshmallows
from Hummingbird High

Rhubarb Syrup:
4 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-1 inch pieces
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine water, sugar and rhubarb and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Once boiling, turn heat to low so the liquid is simmering.  Simmer for 40-60 minutes, or until fruit is soft and the liquid is thickened: think thick soup.

Ladle the sauce into a mesh strainer (or a strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a heatproof bowl.  Allow at least 1/2 cup of syrup to drain.  Allow to cool.

Marshmallows: (makes about 48 1 1/2 inch marshmallows)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 oz. (4 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
1/3 cup and 1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup rhubarb syrup (from above)
3 egg whites
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
pinch cream of tartar

Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Using a pastry brush, dust the edges and bottom of the pan with the mixture.  Reserve all excess.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup of water.  Whisk briefly and set aside to soften.

In a 2-3 quart saucepan, combine the 2 cups of sugar, rhubarb sauce and the remaining 1/2 cup water.  Clip a candy  thermometer to the side of the pan, and cook the mixture over medium-low heat.  Stir often, and if it looks like it will boil over, remove it momentarily from the heat.

Meanwhile, as the sugar mixture boils, mix the egg whites, vanilla, salt and a pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of a mixer.

When the sugar mixture reaches 230 degrees, begin to whisk the egg whites on low speed.

When the sugar mixture reaches 246 degrees, remove the syrup from the heat immediately.  Whisk in the gelatin until smooth.  Pour the syrup through the mesh strainer into a heatproof large measuring cup or bowl.

Slowly add a small amount of the sugar mixture into the egg mixture, being very careful the hot mixture doesn't splash.  Once combined, add the rest of the sugar mixture in a thin stream and raise the speed to medium-high.

Beat until the meringue has cooled and stiff peaks from, which should take 15-20 minutes.

Scrape the meringue out into the prepared 9x13 pan with a rubber spatula (the marshmallow will stick less), and spread evenly into the pan.  Let sit for one hour, then cover and let sit for approximately six hours (or overnight).

Turn out the marshmallows onto a cutting board that has been dusted with some of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture by loosening one end.

Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares using a lightly oiled serrated knife.  Drop the marshmallows into the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to cover the sticky sides.

Store in an airtight container.


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