I always wondered how marshmallows were made – the puffy soft sugary goodness seemed like it would be elusively difficult to replicate in my own kitchen, so I always just bought whatever I could find at the local market whenever we wanted to make S’mores, or have a few in my hot cooca. As my husband reminded me when I told him of my plan to make marshmallows last week, the first time I saw Alton Brown make them on TV one night, I incredulously stated it seemed pointless to put so much work into making something as simple as marshmallows. Turns out, homemade marshmallows really are THAT much better than the store-bought product. And, they are actually incredibly easy. Really easy. Like, 15 minutes start-to-finish make-on-a-weeknight-after-a-long-day-of-work easy. Bonus, they also use mostly things you already have stashed away in your pantry. The most time-intensive part is preparing the pans, so your homemade marshmallows don’t stick. They take very little cooking, and I’m pretty sure they are fool proof.
This year instead of making cookies for family and friends, I opted to make homemade hot cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows for gifts. The best part is you can flavor them however you want – I chose to make candy cane marshmallows, and vanilla bean marshmallows. They came out beautiful, and they are super tasty.Maybe Santa would appreciate some homemade marshmallows tonight instead?
Homemade Marshmallows – from MarthaStewart.com
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- Confectioners’ sugar, sifted (to coat)
Prepare 2 9×9 square baking dishes by coating with cooking spray. Line each with plastic wrap, and then spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray as well.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl, with a hand mixer nearby), place 1/2 cup cold water and the gelatin. Let soften for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, place sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. With your stand mixer on high (or hand-mixer on high), slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and the vanilla bean seeds. Mix on high for 10-12 minutes. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray, and working quickly use the spatula to transfer the warm marshmallow to the baking dish. Spread evenly in the pan. Let sit for at least 2 hours (up to 24 hrs).
Remove marshmallows from the pan together with the plastic wrap to a cutting board lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel away the plastic wrap from the side. Spray a pizza cutter with cooking spray. Cut marshmallows into 1.5 inch wide strips. Then cut each strip into 1.5 inch pieces, to form cubes. Toss with sifted confectioners sugar, and keep in an airtight container.
Candy Cane Marshmallows – adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Follow recipe as above, omitting vanilla extract and vanilla bean. Instead, add 3/4 tsp peppermint extract. Transfer quickly to the prepared pans and spread evenly. Add drops of food coloring (I used red and green) on top of the marshmallows. Using a bamboo skewer, swirl the food coloring through the marshmallow. Let sit as above, and then slice as above. Enjoy!