Sunday, December 26, 2010

Basic Vanilla Marshmallows

Why make marshmallows when you can buy them at the store for cheap? Here are my reasons:

- They taste better - plus, you can customize them to taste like vanilla beans, cocoa, or coconut if you like!
-They're a fun project if you like do-it-yourself ideas.
-They make a great gift when stacked on sheets of waxed paper in a jar!

I will give a disclaimer to this project: While making marshmallows is not HARD, it is nothing if not MESSY. There was a moment in the process when I looked down at my hands and it looked like I had taken a gooey S'More and stuck my hand right in the middle of it. But later, when we drank mugs of homemade hot chocolate with our buoyant vanilla marshmallows floating jubilantly and slowly melting into sweet goodness, the mess was a distant memory.

This recipe, one of the simplest ones I found for marshmallows (no egg whites necessary), comes from Karen Solomon's book "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects", an excellent DIY book that I've been playing around with lately.


2/3 c. water, divided
3 (1/4 oz) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c. white sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
Pinch kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. powdered sugar, for dusting (sifted)

Lightly oil the inside of a 8x8 inch pan with vegetable oil. Generously coat with sifted powdered sugar; set aside.

Pour 1/3 c. of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until the gelatin has softened.

In a saucepan, off heat, combine the remaining 1/3 c. water and the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place the pan over the medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and make sure it does not touch the bottom. Cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 240F. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush (or a clean paintbrush), dipped in water, to gently wipe away any residual sugar crystals.

With the mixer on low speed, very carefully add the hot syrup to the softened gelatin. Add the vanilla, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until the mixture becomes very white, stuff, and sticky.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. With wet hands, press the batter evenly into the corners of the pan. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture is firm and cool.

Sift the powdered sugar into a shallow dish or bowl. Run a wet knife around the edge of the cooler pan to loosen the marshmallow sheet. Remove the marshmallows from the pan. Cut into 16 or 36 squares, wetting the knife often to keep it from sticking. Toss each marshmallow in the powdered sugar until completely coated.

Store marshmallows in a single layer or in layers separated by waxed paper. They will keep at least 1 month when stored airtight at moderate temperate.


  1. My sister's Christmas gift every year is marshmallows. She has perfected her own recipe and loves to add new flavors. Some I remember from years past (and this year) are: gingerbread, cinnamon (red hots), coconut, peppermint, banana nut, vanilla, chocolate, etc. Everyone's favorites by far are cinnamon (red hots) and coconut. Mmmm, I'm sad mine are already gone this year. I'm not ready to start making my own. :)

  2. What a handsome plate of fluffy, gooey lovelies!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!