Full disclosure: marshmallows are awkward.
Think about it. When do you eat them? Oh, never. In hot chocolate, maybe. In Rice Krispie Treats, perhaps, if you're having a nostalgic snacking moment. It's just weird to sit around popping marshmallows, unlike, say, chocolate chip cookies.
That said, I think it is important to make another key point. Homemade marshmallows are absolutely delicious.
These are not the wimpy, half-stale marshmallows of your childhood. They are light, melt on the tongue, and full of flavor. This version calls to mind tropical paradise (or sunscreen, if you're a cynical 16-year-old sister).
And you might not believe me, but they're really easy. My favorite part is letting my Kitchenaid do its thing for 15 minutes.
This is just one of those recipes that must be made so you can say you did. Insert "I was making some marshmallows last night..." before any sentence, and I promise you will be stopped dead in your tracks.
Rightly so, since this marshmallow deserves to be savored in both its physical form and its role as a kitchen conquest.
toasted coconut marshmallows*
2 cups dried coconut
3 (1/4-ounces) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Toast coconut in a shallow baking pan in oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Oil 9-inch baking pan, then sprinkle bottom with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water in bowl of mixer and let soften while making syrup.
Heat sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup water in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, washing any sugar crystals down side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Put a candy thermometer into syrup and continue boiling, without stirring, until it registers 240°F (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat and let stand until bubbles dissipate.
With mixer at low speed, pour hot syrup into gelatin in a thin stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to high and beat until very thick, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and beat 1 minute more.
Spoon marshmallow over toasted coconut in baking pan and press evenly with dampened fingertips to smooth top (it will be very sticky), then evenly sprinkle top with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours.
Run a sharp knife around edge of marshmallow and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip into 3/4-inch squares.
Put remaining toasted coconut in a small bowl and dredge marshmallows in it to coat completely. *gourmet 2007