living the sweet life

Homemade Marshmallows

This post is for all of you East Coasters because, let’s face it, it was 85 degrees and sunny in California this weekend. I know I’m an east coast girl through and through, but I could definitely get used to this weather. What’s not to love about sunshine, warmth, and palm trees?

Anyway, right before I moved to California, New Jersey was making sure I got my fill of cold weather for awhile. There was the snow storm the day before I left, the days of frigid cold weather where it was 13 degrees but felt like 0, 1 or 2 degrees, and the days where it was “warm” when it was 32 degrees (aka still the freezing point). Needless to say, I don’t miss the cold weather (for now). I’m sure down the road I’m going to miss the passing of the seasons and the right to complain about the weather, because let’s face it, to complain about “cold” days in LA is just lame. But I know that won’t stop me from complaining, so I’ll just be a contradiction, and I’m okay with that.

Now I’m addicted to marshmallows (the store bought ones). I cannot buy them otherwise the entire bag is gone within 24 hours, if not less. I will DEVOUR them. It’s a problem, because I end up with a stomach ache and then just want to eat more marshmallows. I try and tell myself it won’t happen again, but it always does. I didn’t know why until I made them from scratch. Store bought marshmallows have a ton of sugar but not a lot of flavor, so you (I) keep eating them without realizing exactly how many you’ve eaten until you’re reaching into the empty plastic bag.

But when I made them from scratch, I could alter the amount of vanilla I put in and that was the key. Now, I could eat one or two and be satisfied and have room for the hot chocolate instead of overdosing on marshmallows. They were fluffy, bouncy, chewy, and vanillay without being overpowering.
I made them a few times last winter, so this winter I wanted to try another variation (hence the brown marshmallows – I added a little cocoa powder to them. Yum!) The possibilities are endless. You can add some food coloring and different extract flavors (raspberry sound really good). That’s the great thing – you add the flavoring last minute so you can really make any kind of marshmallow you want and adjust it to your taste buds.
While living in frigid winter of New Jersey, there was nothing better than making hot chocolate (with my favorite O’Boy mix from Sweden) and adding a few homemade marshmallows to it.
There, that’s better. Look how good those look? And oh! Exciting news. This is the first blog post shot by my new camera, my Canon Rebel T3. I am in love with it. I’ll have to share a post with some of my pictures (aka large photoshoots of my dog. She’s adorable and a wonderful model). I got it for Christmas, and it’s been fun being able to play with it and learn how to finally take pictures that look like they do in my head.
Anyway, so aside from the wonderful bouncy fluffy vanilla-y delicious world of homemade marshmallows, they melt ever so slowly in the hot chocolate so that there’s the marshmallow cream over the top, but still some actual marshmallow left. Does that make sense? The outside of the marshmallow melts into the hot chocolate and the inside stays nice and chewy. Like so:
See that beauty? It’s wonderful. I could talk about these for daysssss. But I won’t because for those of you suffering from cold temperatures, you should make some of these homemade marshmallows now. You won’t regret it.
Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows
makes 1-9×13 pan

3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For Chocolate Marshmallows:
2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder (to taste, depending on how cocoa-y you want)


Empty the gelatin packets into the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a 1/2 cup of the ice water and stir gently to combine. Set aside and leave alone.

In a small saucepan over high heat, add the remaining 1/2 cup ice water, corn syrup, granulated sugar and salt, and stir together until combined. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce down to a simmer and attach a candy thermometer onto the pan. Stir the mixture every so often until it comes to 245 degrees F. If your mixture refuses to get to that temperature on a simmer, raise the heat slightly and that should help. (I was impatient)

Once it reaches 245, remove the pan from the heat. Turn your stand mixer on low, and slowly and CAREFULLY pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl. Once it’s all added, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.

Let the mixture whip for 10 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and the cocoa powder (if you’re making cocoa marshmallows) at this time. Turn the mixer back up to med-high and let it beat for another 2-5 minutes.

It’ll be lukewarm, thick, white, and fluffy (like Marshmallow fluff), and that’s when you’re done.

Take a 9×13 pan and spray it with non-stick spray. Combine the cornstarch, powdered sugar, (and a teaspoon of cocoa powder if you’re doing cocoa marshmallows) in a small bowl. Using this, coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap out the excess powder and save it for later.

Take a spatula and spray with non-stick spray (or run it under hot water) and use it to scrape the marshmallow mixture into your prepared pan. Then, either using the spatula or your hands (run them under water so wet), spread out the mixture so it’s as uniform in thickness as possible. If the marshmallow mixture starts sticking to your hands or the spatula, just spray or run under water and keep going.

Let the pan sit at room temperature for about an hour to form a “shell” so the top is semi-dry. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the corn starch/sugar mixture over the top and spread it around with your hands. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight (or for 6-8 hours).

Run a knife along the edges of the marshmallows, flip the pan over, and gently pull the marshmallow sheet out of the pan.

Cut the marshmallows with whatever you have around – a knife, pizza cutter, etc. (I used a pizza cutter). Sprinkle some of the left over corn starch/sugar mixture onto the cutter to make it a little easier and not stick.

Toss the cut up marshmallows in the corn starch/sugar mixture so that they don’t stick together. Store them in an air-tight container and they should last for 2-3 weeks, though I’ve had them around longer and they’re always good.

[source: barely adapted from Our Best Bites]

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