You think you know what marshmallows taste like, but you have no idea. You’ve been lied to and so have I. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I’m talking about the lie we’ve all been told. The lie of the store-bought marshmallow.
When we think of marshmallows, we think of chewy, borderline rubbery, confections that taste like air. That’s what the marshmallows we’ve grown up on taste like. Well, little did I know, they’re not supposed to taste or feel like that.
I had my awakening when I was on a field trip in Ann Arbor. We went into the world famous, Zingerman’s. I tried one of their homemade marshmallows. It was like everything fell into place. Everything started to make sense. I understood why the sky was blue. It was all good. The texture was soft and pillowy and there was a huge burst of vanilla when I bit into it. It was so good. I knew I could never go back to the cardboard air we are sold in the supermarkets. I feel like everyone should have the chance to taste real homemade marshmallows once in their life. And believe it or not, it’s not super difficult to make.
You’ll need a few things. First, this job is much easier with a stand mixer, so I suggest you use that instead of a hand mixer. Also, you’ll need some kind of thermometer. Either a candy or digital one will do the job.
You’ll need some powdered gelatin. This is halal powdered gelatin. It’s available for those who can’t use the pork gelatin.
You’ll need some granulated sugar.
Some light corn syrup.
Cornstarch and powdered sugar.
And some extracts, whatever one is applicable. In this case, vanilla.
To get started, pour the 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of the stand mixer and pour the gelatin over the cold water. Attach it to the stand mixer and have it ready with the whip attachment. Let it stand.
In a saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar, 1/2 cup water and salt.
Place over medium high heat, covered for 3-4 minutes.
Uncover it and let it cook for 7-8 minutes or until the mixture reaches 240°F. Use a candy or digital thermometer to determine when it’s done.
Once it’s reached temperature, get the mixer going on low and slowly pour the mixture down the side of the bowl. Make sure the mixture doesn’t get poured into the whip attachment. Once the mixture is completely poured in, turn the mixer up to high and beat for 12 minutes.
In the meantime, prep your cake pan, by greasing it lightly and sifting some of the confectioner’s sugar/cornstarch mixture over the top. Shake around pan to coat the sides and take excess out.
During the last minute of whipping, add in the vanilla extract and whip for another minute. Immediately stop the machine (it will probably be hot, so be careful) and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Use an offset to spread it out and coat the top with the sugar/cornstarch mixture. If it begins to stick to your hands or spatula, use the cornstarch/sugar mixture to help you out.
Let it rest overnight uncovered.
Turn it out onto the board and cut the pieces as you please. I’m personally using a round cutter, because I want them to look like little cotton balls. I’m in charge of a nursing grad dessert table, so these are going there. The much easier way though, is to just cut them into squares with a knife.
Place in a mason jar or storage container and store at room temperature covered for up to three weeks.
See how I do it:
- 7 1/2 teaspoons or 3 packages powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup ice cold water (for gelatin)
- 1/2 cup ice cold water (for sugar mixture)
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Nonstick spray
Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Get the whip attachment attached and ready to go.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Uncover, clip a candy thermometer or digital thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
When the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Immediately, turn the mixer on to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Make sure it doesn't get into the ship attachment.
Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan.
Lightly spray the 13x9" metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift in the confectioner's sugar/cornstarch mixture and move around to coat the bottom and sides. Return the excess to a paper plate.