There’s a type of sleep I like to call greedy sleep.
Greedy sleep. The kind of sleep that oozes from every pore. Upon waking, you find that your bed has never felt softer, your pillow has never been more welcoming. You sink deeper, a thousand beckoning hands tugging your eyelids back down.
It is during such a sleep that I feel true affinity to whales. This must be how a whale feels as it surfaces for air – a gasp, the sudden shock of cold air, the foreign noise of seagulls wheeling overhead. Then down it sinks. The world above recedes into swirling blue as the light slowly fades and the behemoth plunges deep. Its weight carries it down, down, down, down to the deep quiet. The world above is forgotten. Here in the tranquility of the depths, the whale rests undisturbed.
There’s a faint, insistent beeping. I am dreaming. I roll over. It gets louder. I am not dreaming. I sit up and fumble for my phone. Snooze.
Whomp. My head sinks back into the pillow and greedy sleep swiftly enfolds me again in its embrace. And the whale plunges down, down, down into that deep blue tranquility once more.
It seems I write the most flattering things about myself, don’t I? However, I’d like you to know that though I did gain some weight over the holidays, even if I weighed as little as a Victoria’s Secret model I would still feel like a whale. There is simply no better way to describe greedy sleep.
That brings me to marshmallows. To be honest, I made them because I had egg whites sitting in my fridge. I’m not a huge fan of marshmallows, but homemade marshmallows are a thousand times softer and more delicious than those store-bought cylinders. So soft that as I stared at the first picture in my post trying to think of something to write about, I thought about pillows. I would gladly sleep on a pan of these marshmallows.
Though my hair may never be the same again, at least I wouldn’t try to eat the marshmallows. I gotta lose all that holiday weight I gained.
Adapted from Bon Appétit. Do not attempt without a candy thermometer.
Nonstick oil spray
1/2 oz (two packets) unflavored gelatin
2 large egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water, divided
1/4 tsp vanilla (or peppermint extract)
A few drops red food coloring (optional)
- Coat a 9×13″ pan with nonstick oil spray, then sift powdered sugar over the oil.
- Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and let stand until the gelatin has softened, 10-15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. You can do this with a hand mixer too, but I suggest a stand mixer for the comfort of your arms.
- In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Boil the sugar mixture until the temperature reaches 250˚F. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and dissolve the gelatin mixture into the hot sugar mixture.
- With the mixer running, drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the side of the mixer bowl.
- At this point, add the vanilla if you’re making plain marshmallows. If you’re making peppermint marshmallows, beat in the peppermint extract. If you want to tint your marshmallows another color, add the food coloring. Then turn the speed to high and beat until the mixture has cooled slightly, tripled in volume, and become a thick marshmallow creme, about 5-7 minutes.
- Spread marshmallow mixture into pan. To achieve the red swirled effect, drop a few drops of red food coloring over the surface then swirl with a bamboo skewer.
- Let cool for 4 hours or overnight. Or if you’re really impatient, stick it into the fridge for a couple hours. Don’t let anything touch the surface – I guarantee you it will stick and ruin your beautiful smooth marshmallows.
- When your marshmallows are fully cooled and solidified, turn out onto a surface well-dusted with powdered sugar. Cut out into squares using a knife or rounds with a round cutter. Toss cut marshmallows with more powdered sugar.
- Store for up to 4 days sealed well with plastic wrap or plop into mugs of hot cocoa to enjoy right away.