Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lemon, Honey and Cardamom Marshmallows

I bought a full pound of decorticated cardamom seeds just for fabulous recipes such as this, as well as Finnish breads.  I do love cardamom.  And I love the ease of these marshmallows because I don't have to make up a batch of marshmallow syrup before hand.  They come together in about an hour if you're familiar with the process, and taste like a lemon bar or lemon meringue pie in a tart little marshmallow package.  Only slightly more exotic.  My girls love these.  Which actually kind of surprises me since they are pretty puckery and a slightly more adult taste I would think.  But they loved the cinnamon mocha marshmallows too.  Both fabulous flavors are creations of the wonderful Eileen Talanian.  Go buy her bookNOW.  It is so worth it.  

Beautifully published and presented with lovely photographs, it makes a great coffee table book too.  Although mine is quite obviously used often and not fit for the coffee table anymore.  I discovered the book a little over a year ago after a long quest to find a corn free marshmallow recipe.  Eileen simply makes her own invert syrup out of cane sugar.  Problem solved.  And in a much tastier way than corn syrup too.  The marshmallows have a wonderful clean flavor with less gumminess and more pillowy softness than with corn syrup versions.  And all that I have tried have been amazingly fabulous.

(This was a birthday party mix of vanilla, strawberry and honey lemon cardamom.)  The strawberry ones tasted like fresh strawberry jam.  Seriously yummy.  But back to the flavor at hand.  I'm passing this one on because it is a great flavor and takes less prep than some of the others.  I love Eileen's method because for regular marshmallow batter, there is no drizzling hot syrup into a moving mixer.  (That said, her marshmallow fluff, which does involve drizzling, is indescribably awesome.)  Just mix the gelatin bloom into the cooked sugar syrup, dump it all in the stand mixer and let her go!  From gelatin soup to marshmallow in 12 minutes or less.  You will need a stand mixer if you value your arms.  And you will need a candy thermometer.  I cannot stress enough the need to calibrate your thermometer for candy making.  Water boils at 212ºF, stick the thermometer in the boiling water and adjust your recipe temp accordingly.  These honey based recipes turn out slightly softer than standard marshmallows so you could go a couple degrees higher if you wanted it more firm.  Honey is also more hygroscopic, so they may tend to get sticky if you don't coat them well enough.  I sometimes come back and do a second dusting and I toss a couple spoonfuls of coating into the storage bag or container.  Don't want these lovelies sticking together now.  Also, I would recommend remembering to zest your lemons before you juice them.  Much easier that way.  ☺  One last tip: honey boils up more than sugar syrup or corn syrup, so use a large enough pan.  I use a 2 quart pan for a half batch.  Nothing worse than a pan of boiling honey and sugar deciding to share half its contents with your burner after you put the lid on...  ;)

Lemon, Honey and Cardamom Marshmallows
from Marshmallows Homemade Gourmet Treats by Eileen Talanian

For the bloom:
3 tbsp unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the base:
2 tbsp cardamom seeds (removed from the pods)
¼ cup water
½ cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup honey
pinch salt
1½ cups granulated cane sugar (I use organic evaporated cane sugar)

Additional flavoring:
1 tbsp minced freshly grated lemon zest

Prepare a pan by coating it with nonstick spray, then wiping it lightly with a paper towel so that only a thin film of oil remains.  (Your pan size will determine the thickness of marshmallow, if you want thicker squares, use a smaller pan; thinner marshmallows, a larger pan.  I use an 8x8" pan for a half batch and they are about an inch and a half thick.) 

Make the bloom.  Place the gelatin in a small bowl and whisk in the lemon juice until smooth.  Set the bowl near the stove.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and toast the cardamom seeds for a minute or 2.  Lightly crush them and put them into a tea ball.

Place the remaining base ingredients into a 4-quart saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring gently to moisten the sugar.  Bring the base to a boil and put the tea ball into the base, immersing the cardamom seeds.  Turn off the heat.  Cover the pan and let the spice steep in the base for 30 minutes.

Bring the base back to a boil.  Cover the pan and boil for 2 minutes.  Remove the cover, insert a candy thermometer, and cook the base until it reaches 240º F.  Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed.  Remove the tea ball and thermometer and gently stir the bloomed gelatin into the cooked base. 

Update: I have found that having the syrup too hot can result in a somewhat gooey or stringy texture in the finished marshmallows because the high temperature degrades the gelatin.  Best to let the syrup cool to around 212º before adding to the gelatin.

Pour the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer and gradually increase the speed to high, beating for 12 minutes.  You can cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel to avoid splattering hot liquid on yourself.  Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the zest.  

Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula or wet hand.  Allow to cure for at least four hours or overnight, uncovered, at room temperature.  

When you are ready to cut, lightly sprinkle your work surface with some of the coating mixture and ease the marshmallow slab away from the sides of the pan.  Flip over gently, releasing onto the cutting surface.  

Cut into square or other shapes, or use cookie cutters to cut the marshmallow into fancy shapes.  Toss the cut marshmallows in the coating mix, shaking off any excess coating.  (Use an oiled knife to cut.  Sometimes after the first few cuts, you can let the knife dry with any residue on it and it will work better.  You'll figure it out.)

Place the coated marshmallows in an airtight container, with wax paper between the layers, and leave a corner of the lid slightly ajar.  The marshmallows will keep this way for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.  (They also freeze fabulously.  Just mind repeated thawing on the honey based marshmallows - add more coating to prevent sticking.)

Basic coating:
1½ cups confectioner's sugar
½ cup cornstarch (I use tapioca or arrowroot.  I don't recommend potato as it swells too much and affects the texture.)

Sift the sugar and starch together, or put them into a food processor and pulse until there are no lumps.  Store the coating indefinitely in an airtight container. 

Participating in  Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist


  1. I am delighted to find your blog and this post. We have an upcoming camping trip with the inlaws in a week, and last year, I basically outlawed smores. It wasn't fun being the bad guy, but seriously, I didn't want to let my kids ingest Corn Syrup laden marshmallows. I couldn't find a corn syrup free recipe! Until now...

    I don't have a stand up Mixer like a Kitchen Aid. I have a hand held one. Do you think I could do it? Or would it be worth the effort to borrow one?


  2. I'm so glad you found this, I actually searched for over a year before finding corn free marshmallows and THE BOOK. And what a coincidence, I just made a batch of vanilla marshmallows to send with the grandparents for my daughter on a camping trip this week. I used Lyle's Golden syrup (cane sugar syrup) as a straight stand in for the marhsmallow/corn syrup for half a batch and they are yummy! Now, to your question. I have seen one person achieve a loose marshmallow batter with a handheld mixer. I think it is possible but you run the risk of burning out your handheld and then being stuck. It would not be possible to finish by hand. So, if you have a friend with a kitchen you can borrow, I would highly recommend it. It took me about half an hour to whip up that vanilla batch having done it numerous times before. Here is a link to the full recipe for the vanilla marshmallows with homemade invert syrup from the book:
    Good luck! And remember to calibrate your thermometer! ☺

  3. Thank you! I'm headed to the store right now, and will be calling my aunt very soon to see about taking over her kitchen:)


Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.