Mom and I had always wanted to try our hand at making marshmallows, and so it became our after-snow-day project this past weekend. It was so much fun and my, oh my, are they good! Beats the pants off those perfectly-circular, processed Jet Puffed variety that used to pass as marshmallows for me, but no more.
So, let me walk you through how to make this delicious confection everyone can enjoy! Nothing is overly complicated, but there are several steps involved and it is a bit of a process.
And, I will also share with you the things I learned from this first effort and what I would do differently next time. Because, there will be a next time.
recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook, 2002
(Yield: 20-40 marshmallows, depending on size of squares you cut)
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup. It will become very thick.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.
Be very careful as you do this step. That syrup is very hot!
After all the syrup has been added, put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick. This process will take approximately about 15 minutes.
And it will grow…
Add the vanilla and mix again once more thoroughly to fully incorporate.
Look at that! I love how glossy and thick they become. (and I love that little precious pottery bulldog peeking around the mixer)
With a sieve, generously dust an 9 x 13 inch non-metal baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top with damp fingertips, and dust with more confectioners’ sugar.
They don’t have to be perfect, just get it into a single layer.
Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out. At least 8 hours or so.
When ready to cut, use a flexible, serrated knife, to loosen the edges around the pan, and cut them into squares.
It helps if the knife has been run under hot water and dried in between cuts to keep the edges clean and the squares more uniform in size.
Just take your time! It’s a process.
Dust them with more confectioners’ sugar on all sides and keep in an air-tight container with layers of parchment paper in between the layers so they don’t stick together.
Will keep up to 2 weeks time.
**A few Notes:
- I later learned that the trick to getting the marshmallows out of the pan is to line the pan with parchment paper, so that the sides overlap and you have wings, or tabs to pull up on. Then, sprinkle the bottom of the pan completely with powdered sugar, as we have done, and lightly grease the side of the pan with a non-stick cooking spray. They should lift out easily, and then you can turn out onto a powdered sugar covered board and cut into desired shapes.
- Tips on cutting: The real secret to clean lines when cutting is the more powdered sugar, the better! Don’t shy away or skimp on the sprinkling. It is the same concept as flouring your cookie cutters when making cut-out cookies. Sugar your knife in between making cuts, and occasionally, rinse clean in warm water so that the knife glides along the marshmallows and prevents it from tearing.
- Wanting to cut out into shapes? Lightly grease and then coat your cutters in powdered sugar and then press firmly and lift the shapes out. Continue to dust the cutters in between each cut to prevent sticking. Use shapes like hearts, stars, squares and circles for best results as the shapes are more simple and not quite as intricate.
- A great variation on this original recipe would be Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. You can see full recipe here. Those would make beautiful homemade gifts wrapped up in a clear, glassine bag with a nice bow.
My favorite way to enjoy them?
Floating in a mug of hot chocolate with a good book in hand curled up in my favorite arm chair on a slow Sunday evening. Truly, the best things in life are so simple and often free. Such a simple pleasure.