Starry Nights in Serendib: Tamarind-Chili Marshmallows

I think I’ve decided when I’m really pleased with a recipe, that’s when it deserves to get its own name. I tried adding another 1/2 c. of tamarind puree to my marshmallow recipe, and it’s just perfect now — that’s what it needed to get the fluffy height and soft pillowy goodness that you want in a marshmallow. I swapped out the corn syrup for honey too, and that gives a more complex, interesting flavor to play with the tamarind. Perfect. Done.

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Starry Nights in Serendib:
Tamarind-Chili Marshmallows, dipped in Dark Chocolate

1 c. tamarind puree
1/2 t. raw red chili powder or cayenne
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
butter (for greasing the pan)
14 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
edible gold stars and crushed red pepper for decorating

1. Combine tamarind puree with chili powder. Empty gelatin packets into bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment), with tamarind-chili puree. Stir briefly to combine.

2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine water, granulated sugar, honey, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat; if it continues, it will swiftly turn into hard candy.

3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.

4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes.

5. While it’s whipping, butter a large 9 x 12 pan and dust with powdered sugar. Prepare an oiled spatula.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly (and swiftly) with an oiled spatula.

7. Dust the top with enough of the remaining powdered sugar to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

8. Turn onto a board, cut into squares and dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining powdered sugar, using additional if necessary. May be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, or frozen.

9. If dipping, melt chocolate (either in microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, or over double boiler), stir until smooth. Dip each marshmallow and let dry on waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle after dipping (you can dip the whole set first) with a sprinkle of cayenne and edible stars.

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