Beyond Homemade Marshmallows
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons gelatin (usually three [7-gram] packages)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup or agave nectar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- About 2 tablespoons butter, or another solid fat, such as shortening or coconut oil, plus more for the knife
- Place 1/2 cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl. Add the gelatin and stir. Let the mixture sit so the gelatin can bloom, about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s blooming when the water reaches a gel-like consistency.
- Meanwhile, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Stir well to mix. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan (do not let it touch the bottom) and turn the heat to high. Cook, undisturbed, until the temperature reaches 245°F, or the soft-ball stage (meaning if you were to squeeze the syrup mixture when cool, it would be only slightly pliable). Remove from the heat.
- Using the stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer, whisk the gelatin mixture on medium speed. Slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once added, turn the speed to high and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. In the last minute of mixing, add the salt and vanilla.
- Mix the cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.
- Grease a deep 8-by-8-inch baking pan with a thin layer of butter. Coat it with 1/2 cup of the cornstarch mixture, knocking out any excess.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Top the marshmallows with another 1/2 cup of the cornstarch mixture. Let the marshmallows sit, uncovered, on the counter to set, at least 6 hours.
- Lightly dust your work surface with some of the cornstarch mixture. Turn the marshmallows out onto the dusted surface.
- Grease a knife with butter. Cut the marshmallows to make 6 rows of 6 marshmallows, a total of 36.
- Coat each marshmallow one more time in the cornstarch mixture. Place the marshmallows in an airtight container until ready to use. They will keep at room temperature for at least a month.
Homemade marshmallows are a different beast than their store-bought counterparts. If you have never made them, put this recipe on the top of your list. I am not saying you need to make them for every s’more — I absolutely don’t — but when you do use them, it makes everything that much more special. The best time to make them is near the holidays, since they keep well and are great to have on hand for hot chocolate. And if you are going through the effort of making them, why not add in flavors? I have given a few suggestions after this recipe, but the possibilities are endless. Makes 36 Takes 30 minutes active time, 6 hours total
- Replace the vanilla extract with 1 scraped vanilla bean pod.
- Replace the vanilla extract with peppermint extract.
- Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon with the salt and vanilla in Step 4.
- Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder with the salt and vanilla in Step 4.
- Stir in 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes with the salt and vanilla in Step 4.
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Reprinted with permission from S’mores! Gooey, Melty, Crunchy Riffs on the Campfire Classic by Dan Whalen and published by Workman Publishing Company.