If you love chocolate-covered cherries, you've gotta try this recipe! Cherry marshmallows, packed with cherry flavor and lots of chopped maraschino cherries, are given a dunk in chocolate before serving. They're a fun departure from typical Vanilla Marshmallows, and are perfect for gourmet s'mores or gift-giving.
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherries
- 2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1/4 ounce each)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons cherry extract
- 1 tube pink gel food coloring
- 1 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)
- 12 ounces chocolate candy coating
1. About 30 minutes before making the marshmallows, finely chop the maraschino cherries. Place them between thick layers of paper towel, and press well to remove as much moisture as possible. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to dry out (longer is okay.) Having moist cherries will make your marshmallows gooey, so try to get as much liquid out as possible.
2. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with cling wrap, extending up and over the sides.
If your roll of cling wrap isn't wide enough, overlap two strips of plastic wrap. Spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Place the room temperature egg whites in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
4. Pour 1/2 cup of the cold water in a small bowl, and whisk in the gelatin. Set the bowl aside to let the gelatin "bloom," or absorb the water.
5. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, and stir in the granulated sugar, the light corn syrup, and the salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any stray sugar crystals. Insert a candy thermometer.
6. Cook the sugar syrup, without stirring, until the thermometer reaches 260° Fahrenheit. This will take 10-15 minutes, so while you're waiting for the sugar to cook, microwave the gelatin bowl for about 20 seconds, until the gelatin liquefies.
7. When the sugar syrup reaches 245° Fahrenheit, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed. The egg whites should be well-beaten and be able to hold firm peaks at approximately the same time the sugar syrup reaches 260° Fahrenheit.
8. When the sugar syrup is at 260°, remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the liquid gelatin mixture. It will bubble up and steam a bit, so watch your hands during this step.
9. The hot sugar syrup now needs to be added to the egg whites. If your saucepan does not have a spout, pour the syrup into a large mixing cup or pitcher with a spout, to give you more control over the process. Turn the mixer to low, and with the mixer running, slowly stream the hot sugar syrup into the beaten egg whites. Try to pour the syrup close to the sides of the bowl, so it doesn't hit the whisk and splatter everywhere.
10. Once all of the syrup is added to the whites, gradually increase the speed of the mixer until it is running on medium-high speed. Whip the marshmallow until it is very thick, shiny, and opaque, about 8-10 minutes depending on your mixer. When you lift the whisk from the marshmallow, it should slowly stream from the whisk in a thick ribbon. Add 2 tsp cherry extract and a few drops of pink food coloring, and mix them in well. Taste the marshmallow, and add additional cherry flavoring, if desired, until you get a nice strong cherry flavor. Add the chopped cherries, and stir them in.
11. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Let the marshmallow sit and rest, undisturbed, at room temperature until it is completely set, about 8 hours.
12. When you're ready to cut the marshmallow, dust your work surface with powdered sugar, and sprinkle a layer of powdered sugar on top of the marshmallow. Flip the marshmallow face-down on the work surface and peel the foil or cling wrap off the back. Dust a large chef's knife with powdered sugar and cut the marshmallow into long thin strips, cleaning the knife frequently as it gets sticky. Cut the strips of marshmallow into small squares. Toss the marshmallows squares in powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking together. Dust off as much excess powdered sugar as possible.
13. Place the chocolate coating in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Cover several baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Hold a marshmallow by the corner, and dip half of it in the melted chocolate. (If you prefer, you can dip the whole thing in chocolate!) Put it on a baking sheet, and repeat with the rest of the marshmallows. Refrigerate the trays briefly to set the chocolate, for about 15 minutes. Once set, you can store the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.