Vanilla bean marshmallows

I've always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with these little treats. When I was about six, our lovely old neighbour gave me a bag of those really huge marshmallows to eat on a road trip. They made me feel really sick, possibly because I scoffed them down, and I didn't eat them for a few years. Then, years later we went camping and I toasted some over the fire. One unruly marshmallow fell off my stick and onto my pyjamas. I remember peeling it off, but I must have missed some as I woke up many times throughout the night thanks to sticky marshmallow all through my sleeping bag! 

Toasting marshmallows over the fire remained a camping tradition and, I must admit, I actually like them better toasted. Sometimes, I just toast marshmallows over our gas stove, but I once ate one straight off the fork that I had toasted it on, and ended up with four burnt stripes on my lips. Yeah, I didn't think that one through - I remember hearing my lips actually sizzle! It's becoming evident that I haven't had many great experiences with marshmallows… so I decided to make some! Luckily, it went well.

I hadn't made marshmallows since I was a kid because (somewhere along the line,) I developed this idea that they're made only with raw egg whites, sugar and gelatine. I just can't do raw things, so I was super excited to find out that marshmallows are egg-free! They're actually pretty easy to make, and so much yummier than anything you can get from the shops. I'm excited to report that they toast well, too.

What you'll need:
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
230g glucose syrup
330g caster sugar
1/2 cup water
Scraped seeds of one vanilla bean
Candy/kitchen thermometer

Dusting mix:
1 cup pure icing sugar
1/4 cup cornflour

What to do:
Line a 20cm x 30cm cake or slice tin with non-stick paper and grease lightly. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the warm water and gelatine until combined.

Place the glucose syrup, sugar and water into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves or until the syrup comes to the boil. Allow syrup to boil (without stirring!) until it reaches 115C on a kitchen thermometer. Turn off the heat and remove the thermometer using a tea towel or oven mitt as it will be hot!

Turn your electric mixer on to high speed and pour the syrup in in a steady stream. Add the vanilla bean seeds. Continue to beat the mixture on high for 5-7 minutes or until it becomes super thick, glossy and sticky.

Working fast, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it out and into the corners as much as possible. Grease another sheet of non-stick paper, place it on top of the marshmallow and then smooth it all out. Refridgerate for 1-2 hours or until marshmallow has cooled completely and firmed slightly.

While the marshmallow is setting, make the dusting flour by combining the icing sugar with the cornflour in a bowl. 

Once your marshmallow has set, spread a generous amount of dusting mixture over a chopping board. Remove the top layer of greased baking paper and lift the marshmallow out of the tin. Flip it face-down onto the board and peel off the remaining sheet of baking paper. Spread some more dusting mixture over the marshmallow and chop into cubes. Drop each marshmallow cube into your dusting mixture and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

If you're having trouble getting your marshmallow away from the baking paper, pour boiling water over a tea towel and rest the hot towel over the baking paper for no longer than a minute. This will ensure that you can peel the paper away easily.

When chopping up the marshmallow, you may find that your knife starts getting too sticky. Just dust some of the icing sugar mix on it after each slice.