I’ve spent most of my life generally unimpressed by marshmallows. Yes, they’re good for s’mores or in hot chocolate, or even an occasional rice crispy treat. Nothing to write home about…kind of tasteless, bad for your teeth, pretty processed, etc.
But you know how you think you what something tastes like, and then you try a really good one and everything changes? That’s what I feel about homemade marshmallows. Really easy to make, and significantly better than the store bought version. And you can add all kinds of flavors to the basic recipe.
There are several steps, and you do have to watch the heat when cooking the sugar/corn syrup mix, but nothing too complicated.
You start by bringing sugar, corn syrup, water, salt and the vanilla bean seeds to a gentle boil, getting the mixture up to 240 degrees. Then whip it with softened gelatin for 15 or so minutes.
Spread the marshmallow mix into a lined, sugared pan and let it sit for at least four hours or overnight.
Cut them into cubes, or make them into shapes using a cookie cutter. Toss with more powdered sugar, and they’re ready to go! If you hide them from your kids, they will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a month.
If you do make marshmallow shapes, DO NOT THROW AWAY THE LEFTOVERS! They are still perfect marshmallowy pillows of goodness – just not presentation worthy.
Certainly not an every day treat, but these sweeties are perfect for a special occasion. For maybe a Valentine’s Day s’more treat? Or a hot chocolate bar at your next Christmas party?
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2½ tbsp. (3 packets) unflavored gelatin
- 1½ cups (12 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
Place ½ cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface to soften.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, combine the remaining ½ cup water, sugar, corn syrup, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches 240˚ F. When this temperature is reached, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
With the whisk attachment on the mixer moving at low speed, slowly add the syrup to the bowl with the gelatin in a drizzle down the side of the bowl. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and lukewarm, about 12-15 minutes. Blend in the vanilla during the final minute of mixing.
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk to blend. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan well with a dusting of the sugar-cornstarch mixture, reserving the rest. Once the marshmallow mixture is finished whipping, use a lightly greased spatula to spread it into an even layer in the prepared pan. Sprinkle a layer of the sugar mixture over the top to coat lightly. Let stand uncovered at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Remove the marshmallow slab to a cutting board. Cut into desired shape with a pizza cutter or cookie cutter (dip in the sugar mixture as needed to prevent sticking.) Add the marshmallows to a container with the remaining sugar mixture and toss to coat and prevent them from sticking together.