Indulge: Balsam Fir Marshmallows
Recipe and Photos by Carey Nershi
¹∕³ cup balsam fir needles, plus a few stems
½ cup grain alcohol or
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup organic light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ¾ tsp. balsam fir extract
¼ cup confectionery sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
Balsam Fir Extract
Combine needles, stems, and alcohol in a jar and store in a dark dry place for one week, shaking the contents once every day. Once the week is up, filter out and discard the needles and stems. Store the extract in an air-tight jar. It will keep indefinitely.
Balsam Fir Marshmallows
Combine the gelatin and ½ cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining ½ cup of water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Cover and heat on medium high for 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240°F. (During this time you can lightly swirl the mixture, but do not stir.) As soon as the mixture reaches 240°, remove it from the heat.
Turn your mixer on low and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high. Whip until the mixture has thickened considerably and is slightly warm, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Add the fir extract during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping, coat a 9x13 pan with a light, mild flavored oil (such as canola). Mix together the confectionery sugar and cornstarch, then add it to the pan and spread it around until the pan is coated on all edges.
Transfer the remaining mixture to a bowl. When the mixture has finished whipping, pour it into the pan and use a lightly oiled spatula to spread it around evenly. Lightly cover the top with some of the sugar-cornstarch mixture, and reserve the rest for later use. Let the marshmallow set uncovered for at least 4 hours. Once the marshmallows have set, turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them into 1-inch squares with a large chef’s knife or a pizza wheel. Once cut, toss each marshmallow in the remaining sugar-cornstarch mixture to lightly coat. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.