Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sweetest Mistake

I was experimenting with my basic marshmallow recipe, using golden syrup instead of the corn syrup, and accidentally left the sugars to boil too long. They went past the soft ball stage (which is where you should stop it) and straight on to hard crack.


But guess what you get when you let it go that far?

Marshmallow taffy stuff! At least I've proved my point that golden syrup changes the flavor. For the better. For those who have not sampled the joys of golden syrup, it has a taste somewhere halfway between caramel and butterscotch. Bless the Brits, this stuff is far superior to corn syrup. I get mine (Lyle's is my brand) at my local grocery megamart which has an aisle dedicated to 'foreign foods' (heh, what's foreign about tea, aside from brand name?) but you can also get it on the internets.

I picked it up for a treacle pudding recipe I found in one of my British cook books, and promptly got hooked. I thought I'd try it in my marshmallow recipe, and while the flavor worked, I think I'll have to be careful the next time I make these. The golden syrup heats up much, much faster once you get past the jelly marker on my thermometer than corn syrup does. I turned away for a few moments (I could turn away for an hour using corn syrup at that same stage) and the thing had boiled all the way up to hard crack by the time I'd put down the towel.

This does not, necessarily, ruin the batch. The resulting marshmallow taffy things are a lot chewier, more dense and have less loft--hence, marshmallow taffy things--, but they still taste fine. I'm assured that when put in cocoa they not only float, they melt and the butterscotchy-caramel flavor adds an extra, high-end-coffee-shop-cocoa zing to it.

I'm going to try my experiment again, this time watching the thermometer like a hawk. If I can get them to fluff, I bet the taste would be even better. I love experimenting in the kitchen. I feel so Alton Brown!

And, since yesterday was rather wretched, I'm going to be skivving off today. My plans: finish this post, take my vitamins, finish breakfast (croissants with apple butter, maple chicken sausage and coffee), cast on my Thorrin's Hooded Cowl project and then go to a movie. Either True Grit or Green Hornet, can't decide which. Then a nap and maybe more knitting and/or reading, culminating in my lesson tonight and a leisurely dinner.

Ah, I love Fridays!

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