Homemade marshmallows are, in my opinion, nothing like mass produced, over-fluffed, bland, store bought marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are sweeter, denser, stickier, and more flavorful. I will rarely eat a store bought marshmallow unless it’s in a s’more or hot cocoa, but I’ll eat homemade marshmallows straight from the bag! They are delicious! That’s why I knew I had to share them. It may seem a little intimidating to consider making marshmallows from scratch, but they’re actually very easy and only require a few ingredients.
All you need is gelatin, salt, corn starch, confectioners’ sugar, sugar, cold water, corn syrup, and vanilla. You also need to have a candy thermometer, and it helps to have a standing mixer, but I believe you could use a hand mixer effectively with a deep bowl.
Before starting the candy, spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and confectioners’ sugar. Sprinkle some of the mixture into the pan and set the rest aside for later. Shake the pan around so that it is completely coated with the mixture and pour the excess back into the bowl.
To get started with the candy, combine the gelatin and half of the water in the bowl of a standing mixer and allow to bloom. The gelatin is a powder, but as soon as it hits cold water, this is what it does.
I love stirring this. It looks so pretty and interesting. You will cook the mixture, covered for four to five minutes, then uncover, clip the candy thermometer on, and continue cooking for another eight minutes or so.
This is a great illustration of the process. You can see the progress of the sugar melting and the water boiling off in the first three pictures. In the third, the foam is the remaining water boiling away. Under that foam the mixture has become clear as the sugar has dissolved. In the final photo, you can see how clear the liquid is. There is no foaming left on top and the bubbles have become large and thick. The mixture is very syrupy at this point.
With the whisk attachment attached and your mixer on low speed, pour the syrup into the bowl. Once all of the mixture is in the bowl, increase the speed to high. You can increase the speed in small increments to help prevent splashing, but try to reach high speed pretty quickly. This is very, very hot and can severely burn your skin, so be very careful. We have experienced third degree burns around here from errant syrup drops. If using a hand mixer, make sure you have a deep bowl to prevent splashing. And, if you have kids, I would recommend doing this while the kids are napping or otherwise distracted.
Using a spatula sprayed with cooking oil, transfer the fluff to your prepared pan. This is incredibly sticky. I give up on the spatula early and start coating my hands with the remaining starch/sugar mixture and scraping the fluff out with my fingers.
Using a pizza wheel, cut strips into the marshmallows. Periodically dust your wheel as needed. After cutting the marshmallows into strips in one direction, cut them into cubes by crosscutting in the opposite direction.
Pull apart the individual cubes, putting half a dozen or so at a time into the sugar mixture and tossing to coat them. As you remove them from the bowl, gently roll them in your hands to remove excess sugar and place them in another bowl or a zipper lock bag.
This makes a lot of marshmallows. Like a pound and a half or something. They’ll last for a week or two in a zippered bag, but I usually keep them longer. After a couple of weeks the sugar starts to crystallize a bit. I like when this happens because I think it’s fantastic in hot cocoa. The marshmallows melt in the cocoa, but there are tiny, crunchy bits of sugar in them. I love it!!
You may feel the need to use these up before they start to crystallize, so I’ve also included a fun, delicious way to serve them………with chocolate!
I just melted a bag of chocolate chips. You can use milk, semi-sweet, white, or whatever flavor of chips you like. I haven’t tried butterscotch or peanut butter chips yet, but I’m dying to! Here I used milk chocolate chips and poured them into a plastic cup.
But I like them like this. Individually dipped. Like bonbons. The more chocolate on each and every one, the better!!! HRH Beermeister likes the ones that are just drizzled with a little chocolate, like the one in the front of the bowl above. **I don’t know why, but these are only good for two or three days. After that they take on a stale quality.
These seem intimidating to make, but they’re actually very easy, and they are totally worth it, so give them a shot!! And enjoy!
Makes about 1 1/2 pounds
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and confectioners’ sugar. Sprinkle some of the mixture into the pan, and shake the pan around to coat it with the mixture. Pour the excess sugar mixture back into the bowl, and set aside.
Combine the gelatin and half cup of cold water in the bowl of a standing mixer to allow to bloom. Attach the whisk attachment.
In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cook, covered, for four minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Uncover, place a candy thermometer on the pan, and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, about 8 minutes.
Remove the thermometer. With the mixer on low speed, pour the candy mixture into the bowl. Slowly increase your speed to high, being careful to prevent splatter. Whisk on high for 10 minutes, adding the vanilla towards the end of the process.
Using a spatula sprayed with cooking oil, transfer the fluff to your prepared pan. Â Generously coat your hands with remaining starch/sugar mixture and press the fluff into the pan until it’s evenly distributed. Allow the marshmallows to sit in the pan for several hours or overnight.
After the marshmallows have set up, remove them from the pan, and place them on a cutting board, or countertop, lightly dusted with the starch/sugar mixture. Using a pizza wheel, cut strips into the marshmallows, or cookie cutters to cut shapes. Periodically dust your wheel (or cutters), as needed. After cutting the marshmallows into strips in one direction, cut them into cubes by crosscutting in the opposite direction. Pull apart the cubes, tossing them in the sugar mixture to coat them. Gently roll the marshmallows in your hands to remove excess sugar and place them in another bowl or a zip top bag.
Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe.