Monday I brought you homemade graham crackers. Well, nothing goes better with graham crackers than marshmallows. That’s right. I made marshmallows, a food DIY project I’ve been meaning to attempt for some time. This is another recipe from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it and Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon, which I can’t say enough good things about. Marshmallows are one of those things that that are hard to imagine homemade – they come in a bag and you use them to make s’mores, or to go with hot chocolate. But what are they actually made of? I never put much thought into it. Now I can tell you that marshmallows are made from corn syrup, sugar, and gelatin. Yup. How does that combination yield something that is light and fluffy and delicious? Magic is the only answer. Making them really is a kind of alchemy.
You allow the gelatin to soften in water while you stir corn syrup and sugar to 240F. Then you add that to the gelatin along with a bit of vanilla and stir, stir, stir until it turns into a thick, white, sticky substance (watching the transformation is the magical part). Pour that into an oiled baking pan and allow to set. That’s it. I really recommend using a stand mixer if you have one, but I am proof that it can be done the old-fashioned way. With my husband’s grandmother’s hand beater and a fair amount of elbow grease (ok, my husband and I took turns), we whisked our way to marshmallowocity. I know the holidays have passed, but these make incredible gifts any time of year. They’re also fabulous just to have around.
- ⅔ cup water, divided
- ¾ ounces unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Lightly oil the inside of an 8 by 8-inch pan (mine was slightly bigger) with vegetable oil. Generously coat with confectioners' sugar and set aside.
- Pour ⅓ cup of the water into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
- In a saucepan combine the remaining ⅓ cup water with the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and cook until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer.
- Very carefully add the hot syrup to the softened gelatin.
- Add the vanilla and mix for 8 to 13 minutes, until the mixture becomes very white, stiff, and sticky. (A stand mixer is really the best tool for the job but I used an old-fashioned hand beater and a lot of elbow grease.)
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the marshmallows are firm and cool.
- Run a wet knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow sheet and remove it from the pan.
- Using a sharp, wet knife, cut into squares.
- Toss each marshmallow in the confectioners' sugar until completely coated (or use cocoa powder or shredded coconut!).
- Store separated by parchment or wax paper in a container. They should keep for at least a month. Do not refrigerate.