Serves: 12 to 16 people
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (powdered), such as Knox
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cornstarch, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts (or another favorite nut, toasted)
1/2 roasted Scharffen Berger cacao nibs (optional)
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water to dissolve and soften. Set aside.
2.In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with the 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-high heat.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
4. When the syrup reaches between 210 degrees F and 220 degrees F, increamse the speed of the mixer and beat the egg whites until they are thick and fluffy (do no overbeat).
5. When the syrup reaches 245 degrees F, as the mixer is whipping, slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk (which can cause it to splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl). (You will use this saucepan again, to melt the gelatin, so don't wash it yet).
6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup and swirl it to dissolve (it should be hot enough to dissolve the gelatin). Pour the liquefied gelatin into the egg whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla and continue to whip for 5 mins., or until the mixture is room temp.
7. Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar together. Using a sifter, dust and 11x17 inch baking sheet evenly and completely with cornstarch. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallow mixture into a layer on the pan. Set the sheet aside to dry for atleast 4 hours, or preferably overnight, uncovered.
8. Using a pizza cutter or scissors dusted with the powdered sugar and cornstarch m ixture, cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces. Toss the pieces in the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Working in batches, place the marshmallows in a wire strainer and shake vigorously until the excess sugar and cornstarch mixture falls away.
9. Cover a baking sheet with plastic wrap, parchment, or waxed paper.
10. Chop up all of the chocoalte. Place 16 oz. of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt it over simmering water, stirring frequently, until it is fully melted and smooth.
11. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and stir in teh remaining 4 oz. of chocolate. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the temperature falls to the low 80 degrees F range.
12. "Flash" the bowl over the simmering water by putting it back over the water for 3 to 5 seconds at a time, stirring frequently, until the temperature reads between 88 and 91 degrees F. You'll need to flash it several times to get it to the correct temperature. Don't be tempted to keep the chocolate over the heat until it reaches the proper temp; it will continue to rise after you remove the bowl from the heat. (if the temperature rises over 91 degrees F, you'll need to begin the process all over again.) Now your chocolate is "tempered".
13. Immediately toss the marshmallows, peanuts, and cacao nibs into the tempered chocolate until just coated, stirring as little as possible because the chocolate cools as it is stirred and will set up quickly.
14. Heap the Ro