The first 6 or so times I made candy, I was able to bring sugar to a precise temperature without the use of a candy thermometer. I know now that I was just getting lucky, but at that time, I of course arrogantly thought that it was my cray cooking skillz. A failure to reach the soft ball stage on the sugar for some marshmallows was the reason that not one but two recipes failed this past weekend. The first was a simple rice krispy treat that was studded with potato chips. The second was a s'mores brownie.
You know the brownie drill. Melted chocolate and butter, some eggs and sugar, mix together and add the flour. I got this batter ready early so that when the marshmallow was ready I would be able to use it right away.
Gelatin and water blooming.
The sugar, corn syrup, and water boils and needs to come to exactly 140 degrees. You then pour the sugar into the gelatin mix and whisk for about 12 - 15 minutes to get marshmallow. I think my sugar only got to about 125. My infrared doesn't work when making candy because of all the bubbles.
The taste of the treats with the kettle chips mixed in was awesome, especially right away when I was mixing in the fresh marshmallow. They even solidified nicely after being in the fridge overnight because of the gelatin in the mix, but the issue was that the rice krispies got soggy. The sugar in the marshmallow hardened slowly so it seeped into the cereal, a process that would have happened faster if the sugar was brought properly to the soft ball stage.
For the brownies, I first wanted to broil the marshmallow to give it that campfire taste. You can see how soft the marshmallow was in this picture, but I trekked forward just to see what would happen.
Nice browning. I was cautiously optimistic at this point.
I have seen many s'mores brownies recipes with the marshmallow on top and they all look pretty, but they don't look that tasty or realistic or easy to eat in my opinion, so I decided to try putting the marshmallow in the middle. I sandwiched it between two layers of Gram crackers thinking that maybe the crackers would sop up the slightly watery marshmallow.
What happened instead was the sugar from the marshmallow invaded the rest of the brownie and seemed to prevent it from cooking! I normally cook this brownie batter for about 30 minutes, but this time after 45 it still had the texture of undercooked brownie.
These were way to sweet for me to even think about eating, and didn't exactly taste like s'mores. My roommates however seemed to have no problem finishing off the entire batch over the weekend. The krispy treats on the other hand got thrown out after being untouched for a few days. After this and one other previous incident, I have learned my lesson and will not make candy again without a candy thermometer!