You know it’s almost summer when the grocery stores bring out the s’mores displays. I have been tempted by them a few times recently, but the bagged marshmallows always look so unhealthy that I can’t bring myself to throw them in my cart. Enter today’s activity: homemade marshmallows (still not entirely healthy, but at least I’ll know what’s in them).
To start, empty three envelopes of unflavored gelatin into your stand mixer bowl. The box of gelatin I bought came with four envelopes in it, so check this when you buy. You only need three envelopes, not three boxes. Add a half cup of ice cold water to the bowl and attach the whisk attachment. Don’t mix anything yet, just have this ready.
In a small saucepan, add the following: 1/2 cup ice cold water, one cup light corn syrup, 1.5 cups sugar, and a dash of salt. Turn the heat up to medium high, cover, and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, remove the cover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Make sure the tip of the thermometer is near the middle of the liquid. Continue heating this mixture until the thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take about ten minutes, so don’t spaz out like I did and assume your thermometer is broken just because it takes a long time to heat up past 225.
When the syrup is the right temperature, remove pan from the heat. Turn the mixer bowl containing the gelatin on the lowest speed and begin pouring the hot liquid in. Let the hot liquid run down the side of the mixer bowl so as to incorporate everything smoothly. Once all of the hot syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high and whisk for about ten minutes. Add one teaspoon vanilla to the mixture during the last minute of whisking.
I’m going to make a note here about the smell of the marshmallows at this stage. When I poured the syrup into the mixer, I expected a warm marshmallowy scent to fill up my kitchen. But, that’s not exactly what I got. I don’t think I can describe this smell without scaring some of you away, but just know that the lack of yummy marshmallow smell at this stage is NOT a sign of failure.
While the mixer is working, you can prep the marshmallow pans. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch with 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. Spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray and then coat it with the cornstarch mixture. Move the pan around to cover it evenly. For thicker “jumbo” marshmallows, use a 9×13 pan; for smaller “mini” marshmallows, try to use a bigger cookie sheet. I used both for comparison. Save the excess cornstarch mixture for later.
Back to the actual marshmallows. After 10-12 minutes of whisking, the mixture should look thick like the marshmallow fluff you can buy in a jar and it should still be warm. Your KitchenAid will also be warm from all that work. Don’t forget to add the vanilla during the last minute of whisking!
For jumbo marshmallows: Pour the warm marshmallow goo into your coated 9×13 pan. Use a spatula coated in cooking spray to spread the mixture evenly if necessary.
For mini marshmallows: Fit a piping bag with a 1-inch tip. Fill the bag with your marshmallow mixture and pipe out lines of marshmallow onto your coated cookie sheet.
The marshmallows will need at least four hours to set up, but I would recommend setting them out uncovered overnight. “Uncovered” is always a risky term for me considering the fact that my cat is evil, so I put my trays in the cold oven with the door cracked.
I woke up the next morning and was so excited to finally make some summer s’mores with these bad boys. Alas, Colorado decided that it would be the perfect time for a snow storm. Fortunately for me, marshmallows are also great for hot cocoa! When life gives you lemons… eat marshmallows anyway.
Prep a cutting board with your leftover cornstarch/sugar spread. Seriously, put this stuff everywhere unless you’re into having marshmallow residue on all of your belongings. Coat a pizza cutter with cornstarch and then get to cutting. Jumbo marshmallows will need cuts in both directions, while mini marshmallows will only need to be cut across.
After all of these puffy squares have been cut, coat them with the remaining cornstarch mixture. I moved mine into a bowl to do this, but the classic shake-in-a-plastic-bag method would probably work too.
Done! You now have fresh tasty marshmallows you use however you please. I made cocoa to brave this spring snowstorm. (I love mint cocoa. I see mint marshmallows in my future. I also see snow shoveling in my future.)
And then I made s’mores because a little snow can’t ruin my summer vibes.
To get the gooey toasted s’mores marshmallows without starting a campfire in your kitchen, turn your oven on broil and put the marshmallows in for 3-5 minutes, watching closely. I put mine on parchment paper so that I didn’t have to waste time with sticky clean up and could get right to eating.
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided in half
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Combine gelatin and half of cold water in mixer bowl. Attach whisk attachment but do not mix.
- Heat the remaining water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan on medium high. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the cover from the saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the side. Continue heating liquid until thermometer reads 240 degrees (about 10 minutes).
- Pour hot syrup into mixer containing gelatin, letting the syrup run down the sides of the bowl while the whisk is on low speed.
- Turn the mixer to high and whisk for 10-12 minutes, adding vanilla during the last minute of mix time. Marshmallow mixture should be very thick.
- Mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray and dust with cornstarch mixture to coat.
- Pour marshmallow fluff into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- For mini marshmallows, use a piping bag to make even rows of marshmallows on the prepared pan, leaving about an inch of space between each row.
- Allow marshmallows to set up overnight, or at least 4 hours.
- Prepare a cutting board with the cornstarch mixture and slice the marshmallows into desired size. Coat individual marshmallows with remaining cornstarch mixture. Store in airtight container.