WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER MONICA LONGENBAKER
The best gifts are made with love, and these Homemade Marshmallows are a delightful treat to share with your family and friends this holiday season. Though you can’t go wrong with classic vanilla, you can add any combination of food coloring and flavors to lend your own personal touch. Replace the vanilla with peppermint extract and swirl in red food coloring for a festive peppermint version. The marshmallows can be cut into small cubes to top hot chocolate or can be made into big squares for snacking. They can also be dipped into melted chocolate or lightly toasted for the ultimate s’mores.
Yield: 16 (2” by 2”) squares
2 packages (.25 ounces each)
2/3 cup cold water, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla or
optional: food coloring
Pour half of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let stand for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt into a saucepan. Do not stir. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, boil the sugar until it reaches 240 F (soft ball stage). This will take about 10 minutes.
Place the bowl of gelatin onto the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on low and very carefully pour the hot sugar mixture in by letting it drip down the side of the bowl. Avoid pouring the sugar directly into the center where the whisk is moving, as this could create splatter and burns.
Once all of the hot sugar mixture is in the bowl, gradually increase the speed to high. Continue to mix on high for about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is white and fluffy and has tripled in volume. While the mixer is working, combine the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.
Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch metal nonstick baking pan. Sift a layer of the confectioner’s sugar mixture onto the nonstick pan, coating all sides evenly.
Once the marshmallow mixture is ready, add the vanilla extract (or peppermint extract) and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Optional: Add food coloring if desired. Using a lightly greased rubber spatula, pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. The mixture will be extremely sticky. Smooth out the top by using slightly wet hands or a greased sheet of plastic wrap. Optional: To create a swirl design, add a few drops of food coloring on top of the marshmallow mixture. Using a fork or a chopstick, create swirl patterns into the mixture.
Allow the marshmallows to dry for at least six hours (ideally overnight). To cut the marshmallows, loosen the sides of the cake pan with a knife. Sprinkle a layer of the confectioner’s sugar mixture onto a flat surface and turn the marshmallow mixture on top. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut desired shapes. Roll the cut sides of each marshmallow into the confectioner’s sugar mixture to prevent them from sticking. Store the marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 2-3 weeks.