I have a bunch of little thyme bushes all around the garden. Thyme was one of the very first things I grew, and I like them because they are compact and are nice border plants. They also smell amazing and their leaves are hearty, even in frost, so I pretty much have access to thyme year round.
For this marshmallow recipe, I opted to go with lemon juice instead of lemon extract. I love real lemon way above lemon extract. Though extract can have a nice aroma, when you use it, you miss the ZIP of real lemon, right?
- 3 packets (7.5 tsp/0.75 oz) unflavored gelatin
- 1¾ cups cold water
- 2.5 cups of granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt (a big pinch)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (about a whole lemon)
- zest from 1 lemon
- 4-5 sprigs (about 2 tbsp worth) of thyme
- 6-10 drops of yellow food coloring
- ⅛ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- Nonstick spray (or cold butter)
- Empty packets of gelatin powder in a big bowl and put about half of the cold water in there. Let it hang out. The powder will absorb the water and look like a semi-solid, grainy gel. Kind of sandy. Just don't be alarmed if it looks like wax or something.
- Put the rest of the water in with the sugar in a small pan. Over medium heat, pick off the thyme leaves and add to the pan, letting it steep in the sugar and contribute it's thyme-y flavors to the syrup. Once all the thyme is picked off, turn up the heat to high. Attach a thermometer (a pretty important tool in this recipe!) and wait for the sugar to get to 240 degrees F. The sugar will melt and turn clear and syrupy. For all the candy-makers out there, you want to get it to the softball stage. Pull the sugar syrup off the heat right when it hits 240 and set it aside for a moment.
- With an electric mixer/egg beater, start on low speed and start breaking up the gelatin mass at the bottom of your bowl. With your other hand (or with a partner) carefully start drizzling the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture, thyme leaves and all. The syrup will melt the gelatin and it'll be a frothy, warm, semi opaque liquid at the bottom of the bowl. That is normal. Drizzle until all the hot syrup is integrated into the mixture. Add in the lemon juice, zest, and food coloring at this point.
- Then, turn the mixer to high and beat the mixture for a while, about 15 minutes. At first, it will do nothing. But then it'll get puffy and puffier and will become lighter in color and turn into fluffy marshmallow. It will resemble really thick whipped cream or really thick whipped egg whites. Keep going for the whole 15 minutes because at the same time you're whipping, you also want the mixture to cool down a little.
- After 15 minutes, use a greased spatula to scrape the soft marshmallow fluff onto a pile over a greased and powdered-sugar dusted pan. Sprinkle the mass with powdered sugar so it'll be easier to handle. With your greased spatula, try to spread it so it's the thickness you like. I like about ¾ of an inch. You don't have to worry about making it a perfect rectangle. It won't be! But when you cut it up, ppl won't notice. Dust the top with more sugar.
- Let it cool for at least 2 hours at room temperature, as long as overnight. Don't cover it or place it in the fridge because the sugar will become wet and will soak up weird flavors.
- Once the marshmallow mass is solid to the touch, pull it out of the pan and cut into desired shapes. I used a pizza cutter but you can use cookie cutters. You can also use scissors. Dust the pieces with more powdered sugar, so they're not sticky.
This marshmallow will test the strength of your beater. The marshmallow almost bested my beater. But thankfully, my boyfriend saw the marshmallow start to climb up the beater and toward the beater’s “engine” and he stopped the beater before disaster struck. Be careful out there, guys.
You can do a lot of things with these marshmallows besides eating them plain (though that’s really yummy, too). You can make candied yams with these for Thanksgiving. You can make s’mores out of them (with white chocolate bars instead of dark/milk!). You can put them in hot cocoa. You can send them out as holiday gifts for friends and family. You can have marshmallow fights with them. The sky is really the limit with these guys. ;D