Ah, the lowly marshmallow. What fond memories these gooey little clouds of sugar bring us. Whether it be roasting them on an open camp fire, squeezing them in s'mores, or sipping them down with a cup of hot chocolate, these simple little treats remind many of us of happy times. But why should we rely on mass-produced marshmallows when they are so simple to make from scratch at home. And while we're at it, let boost the flavors to something more festive.
In this instructable, we'll go through the steps of making homemade marshmallows. Starting with a basic recipe, we'll make two variations of the almost endless flavors of marshmallows that can be made. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, we will make butter-rum marshmallows and chocolate mint marshmallows.
Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
3 packages of unflavored gelatin (.75 oz total)
1 cup of ice water
1 cup of light corn syrup
1.5 cups of white sugar
a pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon if you are the measuring type)
1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1/3 cup cornstarch
non-stick cooking spray
extracts and flavors ( for these, I used vanilla extract, rum flavoring, imitation butter, and peppermint extract)
coating chocolate (optional)
food coloring (optional)
Stand Mixer with balloon whisk attachment
Small saucepan with lid
13x9 inch baking pan. (I prefer glass, but other materials should work as well)
spatula (the more nonstick, the better)
small mixing bowl
misc measuring spoons and cups
a small shaker for dispensing powdered sugar (optional)
Step 2: Get Gellin'
Pour the three packs of unflavored gelatin into the bowl of the stand mixer. To this, add half a cup of your ice water, and let the gelatin bloom while you work on the next steps.
Quick tip: For the ice water, just add a cube or two of ice to a pre-measured cup of water. When you are ready to add it to the bowl, just fish out the cubes. If necessary, pour off any excess water from the cubes melting.
Step 3: Sweet Napalm
Pour your remaining 1/2 cup water, corn syrup, sugar and salt into your saucepan. Give it a quick stir to loosely combine the ingredients, then cover and boil on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the lid and clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Make sure that the end of the thermometer is in the hot liquid, but not touching the bottom of the pan. Continue boiling until the mixture comes up to 240 degrees. (This is the upper end of the soft ball stage for you budding candy makers out there.) This should take from 6-9 minutes.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and the thermometer from the pan.
Step 4: Mr. Gelatin, Meet Ms. Sugar
Lower the whisk of the mixer down into the gelatin, and lock it down. Turn the mixer on its slowest speed, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to combine it with the gelatin. Be very careful, this liquid is hot and extremely sticky.
Once all of the sugar has been poured into the bowl, turn the mixer on high speed. This is going to beat for 10-15 minutes. It is done when it is nice and thick and the temperature is lukewarm.
Step 5: Pan Preparation
In a small bowl combine the 1/3 cup of powdered sugar with 1/3 cup of corn starch. If you have one available, add this mixture to a shaker.
Spray your 13x9 inch pan with the nonstick spray and shake in a generous amount of the powder mixture. To get the sides, cover the pan with aluminum foil and roll the pan and shake it. Do this with all 4 sides. (This is where the glass pan comes in handy by allowing you to see how well the pan is coated.) Pour any excess powder from the pan back into the bowl and reserve for later.
Step 6: Flavor Is the Game
After about 10-12 minutes of beating, the marshmallows should look nice and fluffy, and should still be fairly warm.
Now is the time to add some flavors and colors if desired.
For our first batch this season, we made butter-rum flavored marshmallows. For this, we add 2 teaspoons of imitation butter flavoring, 1 teaspoon of rum flavoring, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract. This gives a nice, fairly strong butter rum flavor. You can add, more or less to taste. We also added several drops of yellow food coloring to give the treats a nice pale buttery color.
For our second batch we are doing chocolate peppermint. To the mixer, add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of peppermint extract and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This gave a nice minty flavor without being over powering. Feel free to add more to boost the minty kick. The chocolate will come later.
Quick Tip: For classic marshmallows like the ones most of us are familiar with, simply add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
Step 7: Time to Set Up
When all the flavors are well mixed into the marshmallow, and the mixture has cooled down to lukewarm it is time to pour it into the pan.
Spray down your spatula with the cooking spray. Now pour and scrape your marshmallows into your powder coated dish. Try to push the mixture into all corners of the dish and then flatten the marshmallows out. You don't have to be too exact, part of the beauty of homemade marshmallows is that they don't all look the same.
Sprinkle the top of the marshmallows with more of your sugar/cornstarch mixture. Let this sit uncovered for at least 4 hours.
Now is an excellent time to lick the bowl, spatula and beaters clean.
Step 8: Cutting Work
Flip the dish out onto a cutting mat or some parchment paper. If you covered your dish properly with the powder, the marshmallows should flop right out without much work.
Using your pizza cutter, cut strips about an inch wide across the width of the marshmallows. Dust the cut edges with more of the powder mixture to stop them from sticking. After cutting long strips, cut the strips into inch-wide pieces. Roll these around in the powdered sugar and knock off any excess.
You now have your very own homemade marshmallows.
Stored in an air-type container, they should last for 2-3 weeks. Each batch makes over 1.5 pounds.
Step 9: But You Forgot About the Chocolate
We still need to add a finishing touch to the peppermint marshmallows.
We need to melt a small amount of chocolate to add to our marshmallows. If you are using baking chocolate, chop it down to small evenly sized pieces. If you are using chocolate chips, no extra chopping is needed.
Add your chocolate to a small microwavable bowl, and nuke it for 20 seconds. Stir the chocolate, and heat for another 20 seconds. Repeat these steps until your chocolate is a smooth liquid.
Set your marshmallows up in a few long rows. Now, using a spoon slowly pour long lines of chocolate over the tops of your marshmallows. After doing long thick lines, I like like to do thin stripes by shaking the spoon back and forth quickly. The chocolate should set up and harden in just a few minutes.
Quick tip: For more control on your chocolate designs, try piping on the chocolate using a pastry bag or a freezer bag fitted with a pastry tip. You can also try dipping the marshmallows in the chocolate to coat them more thoroughly.
Step 10: More Ideas?
So now you have the power of the marshmallow, and want to branch out farther and try more exciting ideas? There is an endless number of ideas you could play with. Here are a few more to get you started.
Key Lime Pie Marshmallows: Juice 2 Key Limes, add 3/4 of the juice before boiling. Add the remaining juice, a few drops of green food coloring, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the zest of both limes in the flavoring step. Add graham cracker crumbs (finely crushed) to your powder mix. Cut into the shapes of slices of pie.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Marshmallows: Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of strawberry flavoring and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 1/3 cup cocoa to the powder mix and pipe on some melted chocolate.
Cut your marshmallows into mini marshmallows and serve in hot chocolate.
Try some cinnamon and nutmeg flavored marshmallows melted on top of your sweet potato casserole.
First Prize in the
Homemade Holidays: Holiday Treats Contest