In Advanced Baking we moved onto confections, and we had our choice of what to make: marshmallows, fruit jellies, caramels, hard candies, etc. Half the class opted for marshmallows - to distinguish ourselves, Marianne and I opted to sandwich ours between French macarons and forgo the usual layer of jam.
Marshmallows are one of those things that are readily available in the grocery store so you never really think about making it. For me, those are the things that are most fascinating to make, the ones you take for granted (ex: mayonnaise, peanut butter, most condiments really). The freshly made versions also end up tasting better, not just because the ingredients are fresh there are no additives/preservatives but also because you can customize the flavor!
To make marshmallows I had to soak sheets of gelatin - which start out like sheets of thin plastic but become soft and rubbery once it sits in water:
This bloomed gelatin sheets are then whipped into italian meringue (sugar water cooked to 240F softball stage and poured into egg whites whipped to medium peaks):
Then I added flavoring (rose water) and food coloring (pink) to customize the marshmallows. We were a little limited with flavoring since they had to be in essential oil form (and not, for example, fruit puree form), since otherwise it would change the consistency of the marshmallow.
Here's the finished product on sheet tray. It had to sit a bit in order to firm up. And to prevent it from sticking, we oiled parchment paper and put it both beneath the marshmallow layer and on top.
Meanwhile Marianne set to work with the French macarons. Here she is piping them the batter (with a little green food coloring added):
They had to sit out and develop a skin on top before they were baked. See them rising?
Then came time to assemble. We cut the marshmallow into ridged circles (for the macaron sandwiches) and hearts (just for fun), which were then rolled in a half cornstarch half powdered sugar mixture. Other groups cut theirs into even funner shapes like octopus for example.
The circle shaped ones were sandwiched between the macarons:
Mine before I ate it :)
I really liked the contrasting textures, the crispy/chewy macaron exterior with the soft marshmallow interior. Apparently one of the dishwasher ladies liked them too, because she asked Chef to buy a whole box to take home. First time anyone has ever purchased my treats!