Friday, August 10, 2012


"Why are you making marshmallows? They're like a dollar a bag," my mom asked me, echoing the question that's already been asked about four times. I scowled and shook my head.
"It's not the same at all! They're so much better. I'll prove it to you," I promised. And besides, they'd been on my to-do list for a while (and on the Sweet 100 List, which I'm kind of determined to complete someday). So when a friend offhandedly mentioned that he'd been wanting to make homemade marshmallows, I jumped on that opportunity. 

Marshmallowery is a good intro to candymaking, since you're working at fairly low temperatures (relatively speaking. Do NOT touch the boiling sugar). I still consider myself a novice in the field, having never really worked with sugar past the firm ball stage of cooking (around 250ºF). So if the project failed for some reason, I probably wouldn't ruin any pans or hurt myself too much.

Though it's possible to do it alone, I recommend doing any sort of candymaking with a friend (or enemy, if you're into that sort of thing). It's nice to have an extra pair of hands, since everything has to move fairly quickly. And it's fun to have someone to poke marshmallows with. Remember to put some in your pocket for secret eating!

Notes - Our marshmallows had a layer of toasted coconut on the bottom, but you should do whatever flavor you want. The possibilities are endless. I have my eye on mint chocolate chip for next time. Additionally, we also 2/3'd the recipe, since I only had an ounce of gelatin. Do what you need. Still made more than enough.

1.5 ounces gelatin
8 ounces cold water (or coffee, mmmmm, coffee marshmallows…)
11 ounces corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup
8 ounces water
28 ounces sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved for another use
ample powdered sugar for dusting (1 cup or more)
Unless you have a supercharged motor on your hand mixer, I don’t think it will survive this recipe. Use a stand mixer if at all possible.
Have a lightly greased 9”x13” pan at the ready.
So. Combine the gelatin and water together in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Set aside.
In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot, combine the syrup, water, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean scrapings. Set over medium heat and stir gently, taking care to not splash liquid (and thus sugar crystals) up the sides of the bowl. Once the mixture starts to simmer, stop stirring and put a lid on it for 5 minutes, letting it go to town (this lets some steam build up in the pot to “steam off” any sugar crystals stuck on the sides of the pot.).
Warning: if you use honey, the smell will be awful. Barnyard and hay and all kinds of musty awful. The end result will taste awesome, but getting there will fill you with doubt. Hold the course. It’ll get better. Mine smelled likes cows even though I used corn syrup. Hmm...
After 5 minutes, remove the lid and stick in a candy thermometer.
Keep cooking, undisturbed, until the mixture reaches 240°. Then shut off the heat and let it stand until it cools to 210°. This is important.
Once the mixture has cooled to 210°, and taking a goodly amount of caution as this mixture is super hot, pour all of it into the mixing bowl with the awaiting gelatin. Fit the bowl with the whisk attachment and crank it up to medium-high speed.
You are gonna let this thing whip it, whip it good until the mixture has really increased in volume, doubled? tripled? It will nearly exceed the bowl at any rate.
Once you’ve shut off the mixer, move quickly. There’s no delicate way to put this: it’s gonna be a sticky mess. But that’s half the fun, so don’t stress it. Set the whisk attachment aside (or give it to a small child if you really want to see what a mess looks like) and scrape the marshmallow goo into the prepared pan.
Get your fingers a little damp and pat down the mixture. Lift up and smack the pan a few times against the counter to dislodge any air bubbles and help it level out more. The goal is for more or less even.
Dust the top of the giant marshmallow with some powdered sugar (I forgot to do this....getting the plastic off was such a pain!), cover in plastic and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Rejoice! You’ve done all the hard work, now for the best part!!!
Get a cutting board ready by dusting it with powdered sugar. Take your pan of chilled marshmallows and literally reach your fingers between the ‘mallow and the pan, and pull that guy right outta there.
You’re now holding one giant marshmallow pillow
Dust the exposed bottom of the ‘mallow with some more powdered sugar.
Use a hot knife to cut the marshmallows into about 13, 1” strips. You’ll have to stop periodically and clean your knife. Once the strips are cut, roll them about in some powdered sugar so none of the sides are sticky.
Now use the knife to cut each strip at 1” increments. Of course, the marshmallows are probably close to 2” tall, so they won’t be perfect cubes, but rather rectangles.
Toss these cut pieces in more powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking.
So store these guys in an airtight container or a big zippy bag. They’re essentially nothing but sugar, so they have a terrific shelf life. Weeks. Months even, if you refrigerate them. A year in the freezer.



  1. I've been making these as treats for a couple of years now, and I have to say that my favorite flavors are raspberry and mint chocolate chip.
    If you like pumpkin pie, try making pumpkin pie marshmallows. Then use them to make smores.
    And you're right - marshmallows from the store are not at all the same, and are actually kind of gross by comparison.

    1. Pumpkin pie marshmallows sounds truly marvelous.


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