I’m back! I know, you probably didn’t miss me (…or notice I was gone? Sniff) but I missed you! Our friendship is unequal like that, and I don’t mind. Last week I took a mini blogging break and visited a friend in San Francisco, read a book, ate all the things, and remembered why I love sleep so much. It was fantastic.
The best part, though is that I came back totally recharged and ready to jump back into the kitchen! Last week I attempted a version of these grapefruit marshmallows (one of several kitchen failures) and they were so disappointing. The texture was great, but the grapefruit flavor was so light, it was practically absent. They tasted like bland sugar, mediocrity, and broken dreams. I wanted my marshmallows to have the distinct sweet-tart taste of a fresh ruby red grapefruit, and those sad little squares were not cutting it.
So this week brought attempt #2, and this time the marshmallows turned out perfectly. My big change was to reduce the grapefruit juice used in the recipe. I boiled it down until it was half of its original volume, yielding a sticky, potent syrup that condensed the essence of grapefruit into one small but powerful package. I also added a bit of fresh grapefruit zest, and a pinch of citric acid to boost the sour factor. (Optional but lovely!) This batch of marshmallows is wonderful—pillowy, soft, with a sour citrus tang tempered by a bit of sweetness.
These marshmallows are so good and addicting on their own, I considered leaving them plain for the blog post. I also flirted with the idea of toasting them and making some kind of citrus-white chocolate s’more, which is probably going to happen in my kitchen in about 2 minutes now that I’ve typed it out. But in the end, I decided to pair marshmallows with their natural soulmate, chocolate.
Why chocolate-covered marshmallows? There are few things more perfect than biting through a crisp semi-sweet chocolate shell and finding a soft, puffy marshmallow inside. The bitterness of the chocolate and the sour marshmallow somehow work together to make this candy sweeter than either element would be on its own. And finally, flowery prose aside, big squares of chocolate-dipped marshmallow just look rad with a few decorative garnishes arranged on top!
I finished these beauties with a sliver of candied grapefruit rind (homemade) a bit of candied ginger (storebought) and a sprig of sugared rosemary (also homemade). I’d considered adding some candied ginger or powdered ginger to the marshmallow itself, but ginger can be such an overpowering flavor, I think the hint of it on top of the marshmallow is the perfect amount. I got the idea to add rosemary after a back and forth with Stella from Bravetart on Twitter, and it added a lovely woodsy, herbal undertone. You are, of course, free to omit any or all of the garnishes, and top your chocolate-covered marshmallows with sprinkles, nuts, coconut, or nothing at all!
If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before, you are going to be shocked at how different—and how much better—they are from their storebought cousins, and you might also be a little mad you’ve been wasting your time with the packaged kind for all of these years. Release the anger, move on, and be glad that you now have fluffy, sweet-tart grapefruit marshmallows in your life.
- 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice, from 2-3 medium grapefruit
- 1 cup cold water, divided use
- 3 envelopes (1/4 oz each) unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- Pink and orange gel food coloring, optional
- ¼ – ½ tsp powdered citric acid, optional
- 1 tbsp fresh grapefruit zest
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- 1½ lbs semi-sweet chocolate for dipping, optional
- Garnishes like candied citrus rind, candied ginger, and sugared rosemary (optional, see below)
- Spray a 9x13-inch pan lightly with nonstick spray, and press cling wrap into the pan, overlapping two sheets if necessary so that the bottom and sides of the pan are covered. Smooth the cling wrap down, then spray it with a light coating of nonstick spray. Set aside for now.
- Pour the grapefruit juice into a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and let it slowly bubble until it is reduced by half and you have ½ cup of grapefruit juice. This might take 10-20 minutes, depending on your stove and pan.
- While you wait for the grapefruit juice to reduce, combine ¾ cup of water and the powdered gelatin in a bowl and whisk them together. Set them aside so the gelatin can bloom. Pour the room temperature egg whites into the clean bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- When your grapefruit juice is reduced to ½ cup, combine it with the remaining ¼ cup water, the sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt in a medium saucepan. It will bubble quite a bit as it cooks, so make sure the pan you choose will let it triple in size. Place the pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil, then stop stirring and insert a candy thermometer.
- Continue boiling until the mixture reaches 260 degrees F.This process will take awhile, so move on to the next steps while the sugar syrup cooks, but be sure to check the sugar syrup frequently so that it does not go above 260 degrees.
- Microwave the gelatin for 25 seconds, until it liquefies. When the sugar syrup nears 245 degrees, begin to beat the egg whites on medium-high speed. Beat them until they hold firm peaks, but do not overbeat or they will be crumbly. If the egg whites are ready before the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature, stop the mixer until the sugar syrup is ready.
- When the sugar syrup is at 260 F, carefully whisk the liquefied gelatin into the sugar syrup. Turn the mixer to low, and gradually pour the sugar syrup into the beaten egg whites in a thin stream. If your saucepan has a spout you can pour it from the saucepan, but if it does not, I recommend pouring the syrup into a large measuring cup or pitcher so that it is easier to pour. The sugar syrup is very hot and it can cause painful burns if it accidentally spills or splatters.
- Gradually increase the speed until the mixer is running on high, and beat until the marshmallow mixture is shiny, thick, holds its shape, and is completely opaque, about 10 minutes. If you want to intensify the color, add a drop or two of pink and orange food coloring. Finally, add the grapefruit zest and citric acid, and gently stir them in by hand.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top flat with an offset spatula. Let the marshmallow set overnight, uncovered, at room temperature. Once the marshmallow has set, dust your workstation with a generous layer of powdered sugar, and dust the top of the marshmallow with more sugar.
- Lift the marshmallow from the pan using the plastic wrap as a handle, and flip it facedown on the prepared surface. Peel the plastic off the top of the marshmallow, and dust the top of the candy with more sugar. Cut the marshmallow into small squares using a sharp chef’s knife.
- If desired, melt or temper the chocolate. (I recommend tempering—see why, and learn how, at this blog post.) Dip the marshmallows into the chocolate, and while it’s still wet, top them with your decorations of choice.
- Undipped marshmallows are best soon after they are made, but if your environment is not too humid, you can store them up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. You may need to roll them in powdered sugar again before serving. Chocolate-dipped marshmallows will last a little longer and are good for up to two weeks.
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