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These are too much 4th of July fun!!
Lightly spray the inside of a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray. Generously coat it with powdered sugar and set aside.
Pour 1/3 cup of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and stir briefly to incorporate. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, or until the gelatin has softened.
In a saucepan, off the heat, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of water and the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer on the inside of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. Cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 240°F. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush, dipped in water, to gently wipe away any sugar crystals.
With your mixer on low speed, very carefully add the hot syrup into the bowl of softened gelatin. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high. The mixture will start out clear, but quickly turns very white. Beat for about 8 minutes, or until the marshmallow gets very thick and sticky and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl in string-like pieces. This will really give your mixer a workout.
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. With wet hands, press the batter evenly into the corners of the pan. Just keep rewetting your hands to help with the stickiness. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture is firm and cool. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar evenly over the top.
Run a wet knife around the edge of the cooled pan to loosen the marshmallow. Remove the marshmallow from the pan, onto a sheet of parchment paper.
Dip your small star-shaped cookie cutter (mine measures about 1-1/2″ wide) into a shallow bowl of water and then cut the slab of marshmallow into star shapes. This is a sticky job, but it helps tremendously to dip the star cutter into the water in between cuts. Repeat this process until the whole slab of marshmallow is cut.
Note: All of this can be done a day prior to serving. The Pop Rocks, however, do react to air and moisture and should not be applied too far in advance of eating. For the optimal Pop Rocks eating enjoyment, you should be fine to apply the Pop Rocks a couple of hours prior to serving—just keep the marshmallows in a cool dry environment.
To apply the Pop Rocks, only open 1 packet at a time. Press the cut sides of the star marshmallows into the Pop Rocks. Then insert sturdy paper straws (what I used) or lollipop sticks into the stars to finish them off.
Source: Marshmallow recipe adapted from jam it, pickle it, cure it by Karen Solomon (I love, love, LOVE this book!). Pop Rocks inspiration from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!