Beautiful, aren't they?
I have officially entered the marshmallow club! It seems like I've been seeing bloggers talk about their homemade marshmallows for months now, and I've felt like a little bit of an outsider. Until last weekend, that is! I hereby present to you my humble offering of squishy, sugary pillows of happiness!
I should note that none of this would have been possible without my good friend Candace being willing to take pictures of me as I rushed around with pots of boiling sugar and covering myself in strings of marshmallow fluff!
Are you ready?
Start by getting a big bowl with a tiny bit of water and more gelatin than you think is really necessary. Just let it hang out there and don't fret about it setting while you're working. It won't matter because you'll be pouring boiling sugar all over it.
Then you'll boil up your sugar mixture on the stove until it reaches the "soft ball" stage. Please google this if you're confused, or buy a candy thermometer like a responsible person would (I didn't) so you know when you've reached the temperature specified in the recipe.
When it's reached that stage, go ahead and dump it into the bowl with the gelatin.
Then beat the mixture until it triples. It should take six minutes with a stand mixer but almost double with a hand mixer. However, I used a hand mixer and after less than six minutes and it was starting to climb up the beaters and was attempting to engulf the entire mixer. So I stopped.
This is about how it'll look when its done, except we got this picture before it started going crazy.
Then you'll switch to your little whisking beaters and whip your egg whites (or substitute) until you get stiff peaks.
Then attempt to wrangle the fluff-covered beaters back into the mixer without being completely tangled in a sugary web.
Please look as dorky as possible while doing this.
Add the egg whites and the tablespoon of vanilla to the fluff mixture, then pour it into a large dish that has been lightly greased and had powdered sugar sifted into it to coat.
It's sticky. I followed the advice of some mighty bloggers who have gone before me and who urgently pleaded that followers not get too involved in making sure every bit of marshmallow ooze got into the pan. I left my bowl and spatula covered in the stuff which was quickly hardening beyond the point of being spatula-ed anywhere.
Next you should sift a powdered sugar and flour mixture (I'll explain this later) in a thin layer over the top. Please don't hate me. I'm a poor soul with no sifter or fine mesh strainer or anything remotely similar. I strain chicken particles out of broth with my husband's french press, which I also frequently use to make loose tea. Someday I'll get something like a strainer and I won't have big chunks of powdered sugar embedded in the sides of my marshmallows. My husband will also drink coffee that doesn't contain hints of chicken or cinnamon-orange.
After chilling for three hours in the fridge, flip it out onto a cutting board and use an oiled pizza cutter or a big knife to cut the marshmallow slab into little squares.
Then throw the little marshmallows back into the sugar-filled dish and roll them around a little to coat the sticky edges
I used a strainer and bounced the marshmallows around a little bit to get the excess sugar off. It didn't, however, remove the chunks of sugar that had lodged themselves deep in the sides of the marshmallows.
And then you can proudly declare that you too have joined the marshmallow club! Go make s'mores or something!
Recipe and tips from Smitten Kitchen, among others.
Yield: about 1 1/2 standard-sized bags of marshmallows
Time: about an hour of hands-on time; 3 hours in the fridge.
1/2 cup water
3 1/2 packets of unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
I recommend doing about 1/2 cup flour sifted with 1/2 cup powdered sugar. I found the outsides of my marshmallows to be way too sweet for my liking. I think doing half sugar and half flour would make it taste a lot more like the outside of a store-bought marshmallow.
- Gather all ingredients and supplies ahead of time; have your mixer set up with the regular beaters, but have the whisk nearby.
- Grease and flour (sugar) a large baking dish. Something lasagna-sized works well.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the 1/2 cup of water with the gelatin sprinkled over the top of it.
- Separate your eggs. Save the yolks for some pudding and keep the whites in a medium mixing bowl.
- In a medium saucepan (preferably outfitted with a candy thermometer), combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt
- If you don't have a thermometer, get a glass of cold water and set it on the counter next to you. Not only will you stay hydrated, but this will help you know when your syrup is ready!
- Keep on low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase to medium and stir while it comes to a boil.
- You want the syrup to reach the soft ball stage (technically 240 F if you're using a thermometer). If you don't have a thermometer, let the syrup boil for about five minutes, then take your spoon and drizzle a little into the cup of cold water. If it dissolves completely, it's not ready. If it falls like a marble to the bottom, you've gone too long. You want it to be hardened just enough to stay together in a ball when it hits the water, but it should still look soft and pliable. Stick your finger in and poke it if you need to.
- When it's ready, turn off the stove and pour the mixture into the bowl of gelatin.
- Beat mixture on high until it's tripled in size and looks suspiciously like marshmallow fluff. This could take anywhere from 4-12 minutes. If it's climbing up the beaters, I'd say it's done.
- Switch to your whisking beaters and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This means that you can hold the beater upside-down and the egg whites hold their shape.
- Then add the egg whites and vanilla into the fluff mixture and beat just until combined.
- It will be quickly hardening by now, so grab a spatula and scrape it into the prepared baking dish. Don't worry about getting every last smear of it into the dish, or else you'll end up in a hopelessly sticky mess.
- Sift more of the powdered sugar/flour mixture over the top of the marshmallows, then set it in the fridge for at least 3 hours
- Invert it onto a cutting board and use an oiled knife or pizza cutter to slice into small cubes
- Dump the cubes into the flour/sugar, sifting in more if you need to. You want to make sure all the sticky sides are coated
- Bounce the marshmallows around in a large strainer to get the excess flour/sugar off of them
- Then enjoy the fruit of your labors!