Making marshmallows was something that I never even considered before last Christmas. Snowed in at my parent’s house, we needed marshmallows to complete Dale’s apple-yam casserole. We were, of course, out of them. Little did I know that I was about to witness a holiday miracle: despite Mom telling me multiple times that there was no way we had any gelatin, I found a box in the pantry.
The first venture was an deliciously sticky mess, but produced a batch of flavorful little pillows that were the perfect compliment to the casserole, as well as hot cocoa (spiking optional.) As we know, practice makes perfect, and the second attempt resulted in a lot less powdered sugar flying throughout the kitchen.
I’ll walk you through the recipe I’ve found the most success with: Alton Brown’s Homemade Marshmallows. With this batch, I made small marshmallows, but you could also spread the marshmallow mix into a sheet, then cut it into squares with a pizza cutter once set.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Nonstick spray
To prepare the pans, mix the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Either line four sheet pans with parchment paper, or lay out parchment paper in a place where it can sit undisturbed for several hours. Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust heavily with the sugar mixture.
Put 1/2 cup of water and gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Stir together 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for three to four minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, using a candy thermometer to determine when the batch reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Immediately remove from heat.
While the standing mixer is on low, pour all of the sugar mix into the gelatin. Turn the mixing speed to high. Whip until the mix is thick and lukewarm, about 12 to 15 minutes. During the last minute of whipping, add the vanilla.
This next part has the potential to be an outrageous mess and an extra set of hands will be helpful. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag, either fitted with a large piping tip or left without a tip.
Pipe the mix onto the prepared paper, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight. If things get sticky, add more of the cornstarch mix to anything that is getting stuck.
After sitting, cut the marshmallows into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Add them to cocoa, wrap them up and give to friends, or just put them in a bowl. People will eat them. Enjoy!