Considering how easy it is to make marshmallows and how appealing they are, it’s surprising that they are so infrequently made at home. They are way more tender and flavorful than store-bought, especially when a little honey is incorporated to round out the taste. They also don’t have all sorts of strange ingredients. Use them to make S’mores or microwave Fudge, toast them in the fireplace, top the sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving, or float them on mugs of steaming hot chocolate. This recipe I use comes from ‘The All-American Dessert Book’ by by Sweet Diva Nancy Baggett.
It’s easy to produce a variety of marshmallow flavors and divine colors simply by adding some citrus, mint, or other flavoring oils (not extracts) and an appropriate food color to the basic recipe. You can also turn out eye-catching “gourmet-shaped” marshmallows using whatever cookie cutters you desire. Homemade marshmallows are wonderful dipped in chocolate. I like that some specialty supermarkets offer homemade marshmallows in their bakery department. Homemade marshmallows are so much more wonderful than commerical bags of marshmallows, you may never go back to using them. Marshmallows are not vegetarian or vegan due to the addition of unflavored gelatin.
Makes 96 generous 1-inch marshmallows
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (3 to 4 packets)
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons water (divided)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup organic light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 drops almond extract, to taste (optional)
- 3 to 5 drops candy flavoring oil, to taste (such as oil of lemon, lime peppermint or crème de menthe) OPTIONAL
- 2 to 4 drops liquid food color, as desired OPTIONAL
- 1 cup powdered sugar, for dusting marshmallows
Prepare the pan: Line a 9×13-inch Pyrex baking dish with wax paper, allowing the paper to overhang the ends by about 1 inch. Evenly coat the paper with nonstick spray.
To make the marshmallows: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until the gelatin softens, about 6 minutes.
In a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, honey, salt and the remaining 3 tablespoons warm water until well blended. When the sugar dissolves, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring. Boil for 20 seconds. Stir in the gelatin mixture, vanilla and almond extract (if using), and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until the gelatin completely dissolves.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the flavoring oil and/or food color, if desired. Using a mixer (with a whisk-shaped attachment, if available) and gradually raising the mixer speed from low to high, beat until the mixture is stiffened, lightened and very fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.
Shaping the marshmallows: Coat a rubber spatula with nonstick spray, and use it to scrape out the marshmallow mixture into the prepared Pyrex baking dish, spreading it evenly to the edges. Very evenly coat a sheet of wax paper with nonstick spray, then pat it down on the marshmallow surface. Let the mixture cool and firm up at room temperature, at least 6 hours and preferably 24 hours. (The mixture will become firmer and easier to handle if left for the full 24 hours.)
To cut the marshmallows: Sift about one third of the powdered sugar onto a cutting board. Lift the marshmallow slab out of the baking dish. Peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Invert the slab onto the powdered sugar and peel off the other sheet of wax paper. Sift about a third of the remaining powdered sugar over the top of the slab. Using lightly greased kitchen shears, a pizza cutter, or a lightly greased, large sharp chef knife, cut the slab crosswise into 12ths and lengthwise into 8ths to form 1-inch marshmallow cubes (you can make them larger if you like). Dust all the cut surfaces with powdered sugar to reduce their stickiness. As necessary, clean off and re-grease the knife.
Storage: The marshmallows will keep, stored loosely packed in an airtight container (with wax paper between the layers) in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let come to room temperature before serving.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2014
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.