Are you a marshmallow fan? I’ve always liked them-toasted over the campfire, thrown into a dessert, or even in their cream form smeared on a piece of bread with peanut butter to make a sandwich.
The Deer Hunter is not a fan. He claims marshmallows hurt his teeth-what? How could something so soft and pillowy hurt your teeth? At least his dislike means he can toast all my marshmallows as we sit around the fire, he’s especially good at getting them just right.
A few weeks before Christmas I noticed homemade marshmallows were all the rage on social media sites. I decided to find out if the hoopla was deserved. I found a recipe here that seemed simple enough. I also consulted this recipe. I ended up using a mixture of the 2 recipes.
To make about 2 dozen marshmallows (the amount really depends on how you cut them and how thick you make them) you will need:
- 1 cup of cold water
- 3 envelopes of plain gelatin powder (you can find this with the jello on the grocery shelf)
- 1 1/2 sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or peppermint extract if you’d prefer)
- 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- food coloring-your choice of color (optional)
- non stick spray
- candy thermometer
- a stand mixer, a really strong arm or a helper who will trade out with you during the mixing part
Place the gelatin in the bowl of the mixer and pour 1/2 cup of the water over it, let this sit while you continue with the recipe.
Mix the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan combine the remaining water (1/2 cup), the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place covered pot over medium high heat and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lid and place your candy thermometer in the mixture. You need to cook the mixture until it reaches the 240 degrees mark. One recipe said this would take about 8 minutes, but it was more like 15 minutes for me.
As soon as the mixture reaches the 240 mark remove it from the heat. Turn your mixer on low and quickly drizzle the hot mixture into the mixer. I got totally panicked on this part the first time I made them, but just take your time. Every time I’ve made the marshmallows some of the mixture begins to harden before I can get it all in the bowl and the recipe has still turned out ok for me.
Once the hot sugar mixture is in the mixer turn the speed up to high and allow it to mix until the mixture becomes very thick and lukewarm. One recipe said this would take 12 minutes the other said 6 minutes. Mine took about 8 minutes. In the last few minutes of mixing add the vanilla or the peppermint which ever you prefer. If you use peppermint oil instead of extract only use a drop or two.
While the mixer is doing the hard work, use cooking spray to grease a pan. One recipe suggested using a 13 X 9 pan one said to use a 8 X 8 pan. If you use a larger pan your marshmallows will be thinner, more like mini-marshmallows. If you use a smaller pan your marshmallows will be thicker. The first time I used a larger pan, but quickly decided I liked the thicker marshmallows better so I’ve used the smaller pan since then.
Once you’ve decided on a pan size and sprayed it, pour the cornstarch confectioner’s sugar mixture into the pan and slosh it around covering all sides. Pour the excess back into the bowl for later use.
Pour the marshmallow mixture into your pan quickly. Again-I panicked the first time I made them because the mixture was so sticky. It’s been super sticky every time and they’ve still turned out great. Once the mixture is in the pan you can drop your choice of food coloring on the top and use a case knife to swirl it in or leave the food coloring completely out.
Dust the top of the marshmallows with part of the leftover cornstarch/confectioner’s sugar mixture. You’ll still have some left, keep it for when you cut the marshmallows.
Set the pan uncovered at room temperature overnight or at least 4 hours according to one of the recipes. I’ve always waited overnight.
The next day flip your marshmallows out onto a cutting board. Mine needed a little tugging before they came out. Using a pizza cutter cut the marshmallows into the size you prefer.
Toss cut marshmallows with the left over cornstarch mixture or just dip the cut sides in it.
Once cut and dusted, store marshmallows in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks-if they last that long around your house.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth the marshmallows are good just to eat out of hand. They have a different texture than store bought ones. My favorite way to use them is to pop one into a cup of Granny’s Hot Chocolate-which is the perfect drink for the cold weather we’ve been having this week.