Lavender Marshmallows

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Guys! Guys! Guys! (To be shouted in the Brooklyn accent of my tiny niece) I beg you, I implore you, make your own marshmallows, it’s an absolute revelation.

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The inspiration for this recipe came from evening at Mark Hix’s marvellous restaurant Tramshed. What sets Tramshed apart is the fact that its menu is super simple, offering you the main course choice of either chicken or steak. Between the 4 of us, we ordered both a whole roast chicken and a massive steak and let me tell you, these guys know what they’re doing. However, it was the dessert that really knocked me out.

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Our choice of dessert consisted of a chocolate fondue with fresh mini donuts and marshmallows for dipping, insanely decadent. I don’t think I’d ever eaten a freshly made marshmallow before and they just blew me away. They were fluffy, sweet and moist, they melted almost instantly in the mouth and, thankfully, they bore absolutely no resemblance to the packaged, chemical ridden variety.

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I knew I had to try making them myself, but on researching recipes I discovered that I didn’t own all of the requisite kitchen equipment, you simply can’t make marshmallows without a sugar thermometer. Thankfully my boyfriend is sufficiently crazy about marshmallows (and things containing sugar in general!) to surprise me with a sugar thermometer as part of my Christmas present. There was no longer any excuse and after a short hunt for liquid glucose, I was ready to go.

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I found a recipe for mint marshmallows in the Primrose Bakery Celebrations cookbook (the same book that gave me the idea for Sloe Gin & Tonic Cupcakes) but being a massive fan of floral scented flavours (I’m an absolutely nut for Parma Violets) I decided to switch out the mint for lavender.

This has to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The  heavily scented lavender works beautifully with the delicate, melting texture of the marshmallows. The only risk is blowing through the whole batch in one sitting. It’s nice to share, kids.

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I found the recipe a little intimidating at first, but it turned out to not be as complicated as I feared and went surprisingly well. However, I did make one rather silly error. The marshmallows are super sticky, hence the requirement to douse them with a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar at every available opportunity. Unfortunately, this slipped my mind when I came to cover them to leave them overnight.

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I’d made them in much too shallow a tin (leading to a small, overflow ramekin of additional marshmallows) so when covering the tin with foil, it touched the surface of the marshmallows and instantly stuck! This meant the loss of the beautiful purple marbling that I had painstakingly created. Don’t make my mistake people, make sure your overnight covering doesn’t touch the marshmallows!!

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Lavender Marshmallows
Adapted from Primrose Bakery Celebrations
Makes around 25 – 30 depending on how big you cut them

100g cornflour
100g icing sugar
20g powdered gelatine
125ml cold water
1tbsp edible lavender
240g granulated white sugar
95g golden syrup
30g liquid glucose
60ml cold water
2 egg whites
6 – 10 drops of purple food colouring (optional)

Start by lightly greasing then lining a 20cm square baking tin using parchment/baking/greaseproof paper (if you have a silicone tin then you can skip this step).

Sift the cornflour and icing sugar together into a large bowl and then resift enough of the mixture into the prepared tin to create a depth of about 3-4mm. Put the tin to one side.

Now get your stand mixer ready for action with the whisk attachment. (You can use an electric hand whisk, but it will be trickier to manoeuvre)

Next, in a cereal bowl, mix the powdered gelatine with 125ml of cold water, stir and leave aside for 10 minutes. During this time the mixture will become jelly like.

Now grind up the lavender in a pestle and mortar with a teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Once it’s been broken up slightly (you’re not looking for a fine powder here) mix it into the rest of the granulated sugar.

Place the lavender infused granulated sugar, golden syrup, liquid glucose and 60ml of cold water into a small saucepan. Put the saucepan on a high heat and swirl it occasionally to combine the ingredients. Bring to the boil and insert a sugar/candy thermometer. Once the mixture is boiling don’t stir it as it will crystallise. Every so often wipe down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.  Once the syrup reaches 115C remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatine until it has dissolved.

Whilst the syrup is heating, place the 2 egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer. Once the sugar syrup reaches 112C whisk the egg whites at a high speed until they are firm but not dry. Switch off the mixer.

Once the syrup and gelatine have been combined, start the mixer again at a low/medium speed and drizzle in the syrup/gelatine very gradually in a thin stream. Continue whisking at a medium speed for 10 minutes, by which time the bowl will have become cool to the touch.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it evenly. Quickly put drops of food colouring (if using) over the surface and swirl them around using a toothpick to create a marbled effect.

Leave the marshmallow to sit, uncovered, for 3 hours. Then cover the tin, ensuring that the covering doesn’t touch the surface of the marshmallow, and leave overnight.

The next day, remove the marshmallow onto a chopping board that has been coated with the remaining cornflour and icing sugar mixture. Chop the marshmallow into the desired size chunks with a sharp knife and roll in the cornflour and icing sugar.

The marshmallows will happily last a few days in an airtight tin. Enjoy!

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