Originally posted: Dec 2010; updated Feb 2014
I am a marshmallow fan. My favorite way to have them is in hot chocolate, by the campfire. Following closely behind – toasted (again by the campfire). The first time I had homemade marshmallows, I was converted. There’s just something about a homemade marshmallow – something, yes, something (as you can read, I can’t really describe that something). So, I’ve always wanted to make them but thought they were very difficult since they involved something called a candy thermometer. I decided to take action one day at Canadian Tire when I saw a candy thermometer for $6.99. This was my first time using a candy thermometer so it was kinda tricky.
Things I learned on my first few attempts:
– Every candy thermometer works differently – ensure you read the user instructions. My candy thermometer needed to be at least 2.5 inches into the liquid in order to register an accurate temperature. I didn’t do it for my first two attempts, thus resulting in burnt toffee.
– A stand mixer would be VERY helpful in marshmallow making. I had to pour the sugar syrup with one hand and mix with the other (and of course prayed real hard my bowl wouldn’t fly off the counter).
– The first recipe I tried was a little weird. Then I tried Martha Stewart’s recipe (rare moment guys, I rarely touch this housewife’s recipes) with success and Alton Brown’s recipe with greater success. Conclusion, I like Alton Brown’s the best.
Making homemade marshmallows is actually relatively easy. You just need to get the techniques right (which isn’t too hard) and you’re on your way to ‘something’!.
*UPDATED: I updated this post with some pictures from my recent effort (Feb 2014) making marshmallows using my stand mixer and oven probe thermometer (doubled as a candy thermometer). Using the stand mixer and oven probe thermometer made things sooo much easier.
Alton Brown’s Homemade Marshmallows
(taken from here)
- 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
- Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
- In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
- Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
- Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
- When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
For miniature marshmallows:
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.
- Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, 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.
- Cut 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.