Homemade Marshmallows

marshmallow

This is a first for me. I knew I technically could make marshmallows at home, but I didn’t feel like I necessarily should… the same way I’d feel about whipping up a batch of whiskey or amphetamines. I imagined marshmallows to be equally time-consuming and messy to prepare as contraband, full of chemical processes and improbable machinery. Contrary to my dramatic preconceptions, I found this recipe to be straightforward and painless, with memorable results. I’m not a big fan of raw marshmallows, but I love them when toasted over a campfire; an effect I attempted to replicate over my gas stove with surprisingly acceptable results. I had so much fun with these, I’m looking forward to experimenting with different flavors in the future. I can proudly say that I have surpassed a mental hurdle and gained another bit of confidence in the kitchen. Don’t worry, I won’t be cooking up a batch of anything illegal next week, but I’m certainly more motivated to try my hand at more recipes I might have written off as “too complicated.” What about you? Is there a particular recipe you’ve assumed is too big to tackle?

Vanilla Marshmallows

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 6 sheets gelatin or 4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
for 20-24 marshmallows

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan (33 x 23 cm) with plastic wrap and lightly brush with the oil.

If using gelatin sheets, soak them in 2/3 cup (160ml) cold water in a shallow container for 10 minutes. If using powdered gelatin, let it bloom in the 2/3 cup cold water.

Warm 1/2 cup water with the granulated sugar and seeds scraped from the vanilla bean in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat without stirring, until sugar dissolves and comes to a boil, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the softened gelatin until it dissolves, then stir in the gelatin’s soaking water.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl stand mixer (you may also use a hand-mixer) and beat until it becomes light in color, holds medium-stiff peaks and resembles a soft meringue, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth evenly with a spatula, and dust the top lightly with powdered sugar.

Set aside the marshmallows to set at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch, and sprinkle some onto a large cutting board. Invert the marshmallow onto the board, peel off the plastic wrap and dust the top of the marshmallow with the cornstarch mixture. Cut the marshmallow into squares using a sharp knife (you’ll need to rinse the knife between cuts to avoid sticking). Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows in the cornstarch mixture and shake off the excess. (Serve immediately or store the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.)

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