Last night I drempt I was eating a really big marshmallow.

When I woke up this morning, my pillow was gone!

I won’t apologize.

In case you haven’t guessed, today I made marshmallows. Not just any marshmallows either…pumpkin marshmallows!

I’ve been feeling like delving into the candy-making world as of late. I think it might have something to do with the upcoming sugar-induced holiday, aka Halloween. You all also know of my love of pumpkin. Therefore, the obvious conclusion would be to make some kind of pumpkin flavored candy. While pumpkin truffles were an obvious choice, I opted for something a little different, since I wasn’t feeling chocolate at the time. Also, many pumpkin truffle recipes called for white chocolate to coat them. I cannot stand white chocolate. Call it blasphemy if you will, but I just don’t like the flavor. Maybe it’s because of how it’s made–basically just sugar and cocoa butter.  http://www.history.com/videos/white-chocolate#white-chocolate Whatever it is, I am not a fan. Sticking to the darker version.

So, truffles out. It got me thinking, what kind of candy could I make instead? I thought about the chocolate, which led me to think about one of my favorite treats: s’mores. And what is an integral ingredient of a s’more? That’s right, the marshmallow.

The original recipe I’m about to share with you called for corn syrup. I am vehemently against corn syrup, in any form. So, I’ve substituted the corn syrup for a homemade simple syrup. It’s still sugar, but I feel better about its properties; I do realize that this recipe is pure sugar. It’s not good for you by any stretch of the imagination. Most candies aren’t. Still, I am picky about what food or ‘food’ I put in my body, and try to make the better choices when I am able to. So, that being said,  I replaced the 1 cup of corn syrup with 1 cup of sugar mixed with 1/4 cup of water. It makes a very viscous simple syrup, that behaves the same way as corn syrup.

I also did not use food coloring to make the marshmallows a ‘pumpkin’ color. Since I used real pumpkin puree, they came out a beautiful orange all by themselves. I understand that as cooks we want our food to be aesthetically pleasing, but I see no reason to add color…I can deal with my marshmallows being a pale orange, instead of a vibrant orange.

These marshmallows are delicious. They didn’t quite get as fluffy and puffed up as store-bought marshmallows, but that’s to be expected. They tasted just like little slices of pumpkin pie without the crust. Superb.

Pumpkin Marshmallows
Adapted from About.com

Ingredients

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1 cup homemade simple syrup
1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch

Method

1. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl, and sprinkle a generous dusting of this sugar/starch mixture over the entire pan. Set the pan aside. Save extra sugar/starch mixture for later use.

2. Place 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir briefly to distribute. Let the gelatin sit and dissolve for at least 5 minutes.

3. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of water, simple syrup, and the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and insert a candy thermometer.

4. Allow the mixture to cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees on the thermometer. Brush down the sides occasionally with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization.

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5. Once the sugar syrup reaches the proper temperature, remove it from the heat immediately. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer bowl. Be careful, as the syrup is extremely hot.

6. Start the mixer and gradually increase the speed until it is running on high. Whip the marshmallow mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is stiff and shiny. You can tell it is done when you stop the mixer and lift up the beater, the marshmallow will slowly drip back down into the bowl in a thick, shiny stream. Think Fluff.

7. While the marshmallow is mixing, place the pumpkin puree in a small bowl and add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

8. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the pumpkin puree into the orange marshmallow, stirring until the candy is well-mixed and there are no streaks of pumpkin visible.

9. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Allow it to sit and firm up at room temperature for at least 8 hours. And see? Look at that brilliant orange?! Who needs food coloring?

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10. When ready, use a butter knife, or cookie cutter, to remove the marshmallows from the pan.

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