Ahhh, mes amis, it has finally happened. I’ve been afflicted with a baking malaise where the thought of baking the usual cookie, cake, or brownie has become total ennui to me. So while I wait for baking inspiration to strike again, I am passing the time making things I typically deem to be too complicated to make from scratch. Thus, I present to you homemade Vanilla Marshmallows which are like soft, fluffy clouds. In the process of making them I’ve learned that 1) yes, it is possible to make marshmallows at home, 2) using gelatin does not require any fancy skills, and 3) marshmallows can have actual taste and flavor (other than sugar).
(from Fine Cooking)
Makes about 95 one-inch marshmallows
3 ounces (3/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1-1/8 ounces (1/4 cup) cornstarch (see note)
4 0.25 ounce packets unflavored powdered gelatin (1 small box)
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, or 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (use high quality vanilla as it really shines through in the marshmallows)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch into a medium bowl.
- Generously coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan (preferably one with straight sides) with cooking spray. Dust it well with about 1/4 cup of the sugar-cornstarch mixture, tapping any excess back into the bowl; set aside.
- Put 3/4 cup cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and stir until lump-free. Set aside to hydrate, at least 5 minutes.
- Put 1/2 cup cold water, the granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. If using a vanilla bean, split it and scrape the seeds into the pan; add the pod, too.
- Stir with a heatproof spatula just to combine (try not to get any sugar on the sides of the pan), then bring to a boil over medium-high heat without stirring. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
- When the syrup reaches 240°F, begin beating the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the speed down to low.
- At this point, the syrup should be 250°F. If so, remove the vanilla pod, increase the speed on the mixer to medium low, and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl. (If not, turn the mixer off until the syrup reaches temperature and turn it on before adding the syrup.)
- With the mixer running, break the hydrated gelatin into several pieces and add it to the bowl one piece at a time, beating until incorporated.
- Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the marshmallow is white, thick, and almost tripled in volume, about 6 minutes.
- If using vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, add it now, beating until just combined.
- Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan, smoothing it into the corners with an offset metal spatula.
- Sift about 1/4 cup of the sugar-cornstarch mixture evenly over the top.
- Let set at room temperature for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
- Run the tip of a paring knife around the edge of the baking pan to loosen the marshmallow, and invert the pan onto a large, parchment-lined cutting board. Lift a corner of the pan and carefully free the corner of the marshmallow with your fingers, after which it will fall onto the board. Generously coat a sharp chef’s knife with cooking spray and cut the marshmallow into 1-inch pieces, respraying the knife as needed.
- Gently toss each marshmallow in the remaining confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat, shaking off the excess.
Note: Store the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.