Last year my coworker Megan brought homemade marshmallows to work that her husband Jason had made. I’m not really a marshmallow person, but these were pretty good, different from store-bought, and I ended up having a few. Since then, I’ve wanted to make Homemade Marshmallows myself, but I never got around to it until now, when I’m trying to do a lot of baking and candy making (for gifting and for eating). [Edit: You can see my recipe here, as well as a chocolate/chocolate chip adaptation.]
Surprisingly, marshmallows were not hard to make at all. Not difficult as long as you have a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, that is. The corresponding blog for the recipe says that you could whisk the marshmallows with a hand mixer, except that it would take longer and perhaps not be as fluffy. Perhaps I’d try it sometime with a hand mixer, but a candy thermometer is essential.
Marshmallows are basically gelatin that you pour a candy syrup into and whip the heck out of. You start by soaking gelatin in water (in your stand mixer bowl, or another large bowl if you’re going to use a hand mixer). Meanwhile, you heat water, sugar, salt, and corn syrup over medium heat. You stir until the sugar dissolves, and then you cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 240F. I’m not sure how you’d know when it reaches 240F without a candy thermometer, so that’s why it’s so important.
Next, you put the stand mixer on low speed and slowly add the hot syrup to the bloomed gelatin; this will generate a ton of steam. Crank the stand mixer to high and whip the marshmallows for 8-10 minutes (I did mine for 8), until the mixture is fluffy. Add the vanilla toward the end of mixing time – I did this at about minute 7, but the blog accompanying the recipe says that she did it around minute 5.
Once you’re done whipping the marshmallow mixture, it should be cool enough that you can spread it into a greased (glass or ceramic) 9×13 inch pan. Smooth the marshmallows over with wet hands to smooth them. The recipe says to sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, but I did this and honestly didn’t like the sugar on top of them. Perhaps I got too much, but I don’t think there’s a good amount to put on there. Alex wanted me to emphasize that he didn’t like it either.
Overall, the marshmallows were good. They’re tasty and fluffy. I enjoy them, which I can’t really say about store-bought marshmallows. These go really well in hot cocoa, but they’re pretty good on their own. The recipe was very simple as far as candy goes, and I recommend it before making something like a toffee or brittle.