While I am completely aware that marshmallows are traditionally toasted over a fire, I think I've actually done it this way about once in my life. That's sort of pathetic saying it out loud - or writing it out loud, I guess - but I only remember doing it once. On the other hand, I have tried quite a few eccentric ways of toasting a marshmallow without the typical fire. When I was younger, I tried it over a candle. Of course, the other thought that naturally followed was to try it over a lighter, which I believe I did too. And most recently, as in this week, I did it in the toaster oven. Needless to say, the only one of these three methods that basically worked was the toaster oven one.
My marshmallow toasting experiences are therefore rather bleak. In fact, the most authentic experience I've had wasn't even outdoors, but instead made use of an indoor fireplace. Perhaps that's why I've never been crazy about marshmallows. My sister loves them and can't get enough, but I've always stuck to other treats, like anything with chocolate in it. Nonetheless, my eyes have opened up to the beauty of a simple marshmallow ever since I made these homemade ones.
All marshmallows are supposed to be light and fluffy, like little edible clouds of sweetness, but until you really taste a light and fluffy marshmallow, I don't think you know the true meaning of that description. Homemade marshmallows are the epitome of sweet airiness, a true treat to enjoy. The bonus is that they're also incredibly easy to make, so long as you have a stand mixer to do all of the heavy lifting for you!
I realize that there are quite a few marshmallow recipes out there, which presented a dilemma for me while I was deciding which to try. However, I settled on this recipe because of the fact that it contains no corn syrup, while most recipes do. I was a little worried about whether this would affect the end result, but I was pleased to find that it didn't. The marshmallows came out every bit as beautiful and fluffy as I was hoping. Homemade marshmallows? Definitely worth the effort!
Big, soft, fluffy marshmallows are easy to make and fun to eat. Plus, making them at home means no corn syrup or other controversial ingredients!
- Yield: about 40 jumbo marshmallows (depending on size you cut them) 1x
- butter, for greasing pan
- confectioner's sugar, for dusting
- 2 envelopes of gelatin (or 2 tablespoons)
- ½ cup cold water
- ¾ cup boiling water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1-½ - 3 teaspoons vanilla extract*
- Butter an 8" square** baking dish and line with parchment paper. Butter the bottom and sides of the parchment and dust generously with confectioner's sugar to cover all of the buttered area.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine gelatin and water and mix with the whisk attachment for 1-2 minutes on low, or until the gelatin appears to have dissolved (the mixture may be thickened and look a bit bubbly). Let sit while you prepare the syrup.
- In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and set over medium heat, combine boiling water, sugar, and salt. Whisk frequently until the mixture begins to boil (the water will stop boiling once you add the other ingredients).Once boiling, stop whisking and allow to boil for 15-20 minutes, until the candy thermometer reads 236 F. Remove from heat and slowly pour into mixer. Add vanilla.
- Beat the ingredients together at medium speed for 20 minutes. It will start out looking brown from the vanilla and very liquidy but will become thick and white like marshmallow creme and expand a lot.
- Butter a spatula and pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared dish. Smooth the top with the back of the spatula, starting at one corner and moving up, down, and across the dish in a swirling motion until you reach the opposite corner. Place in the freezer, uncovered, overnight.
- Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and dust the top with confectioner's sugar. Lift the marshmallows out of the dish using the sides of the parchment, and carefully peel the parchment down from the sides of the marshmallows. Butter a pair of kitchen shears and cut the marshmallows into strips, and each strip into cubes (size as desired).
- Dust a surface with confectioner's sugar and coat the remaining sides of the marshmallows (those that have not yet been dusted) in the confectioner's sugar.
- Store marshmallows in an airtight container in the freezer.
*I used 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon), and the extract was quite detectable in the flavor of the marshmallows. To make the taste more subtle, I would suggest using less - as little as 1-½ teaspoons. Once the marshmallows have been whipped and are ready to set, you can always taste them and whip in extra vanilla if desired.
**For bigger, taller marshmallows, use an 11" x 7" dish.
Recipe Adapted From: Visions of Sugar Plum
I hope I have you dreaming of s'mores now, because that's what this week is all about! In case you haven't been tuned in, I'm having a s'mores-themed week of blog posts to celebrate this blog turning one year old (on Thursday, July 11!) First up was Graham Crackers, and now that we have marshmallows too, get ready for an extra-fun finale! See you soon. :)