Okay, when I say easy, know that you need a candy thermometer, which, to me, usually means that I’ll pass on the recipe. I promise you that while I know my way around a kitchen, a baker I am not. Marshmallows require no “baking” so I was all game to try this recipe, and I think you should be too–candy thermometer and all! First off, I had to find a Kitchen Aid mixer (or any standup mixer), as the best I have is a hand held mixer from Target.
I found a mixer at my neighbor’s house — yes I do live in THAT kind of neighborhood where we borrow eggs and sugar with ease, and apparently large appliances, as well. While picking it up, I got to visit with our newest puppy neighbor, Flora Mae. Isn’t she cute? I want a clone of her for Christmas. I’m serious.
To make marshmallows, you have to get over the fact that you are simply using various varieties of sugar –cane sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup– to make a justified insulin spike delivered in a fluffy, yummy way. Beware, they are very tasty; I, for one, ate too many. For me, this is almost as toxic as that one extra cocktail that you know you should not have that you drink anyway. But, they are so much better than anything store bought… I. just. couldn’t. stop.
This is a fun activity with older kids and perfect for holiday giving. Have fun! This recipe is totally doable and you will feel like a kitchen goddess when you present homemade marshmallows at you next gathering! Oh, you could even bring them to the school holiday party and have all the other moms HATE you.
My basic recipe was adapted from a 1998 Gourmet recipe and can be found online here. (4 forks out of 96 reviews!)
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup powdered candy canes (use a powerful blender)
- 3½ envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
- In the bowl of your standing electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.
- In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
- Using standing mixer, beat warm sugar mixture on high speed until white, thick and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes. (This is supposed to work with handheld mixers in 10-12 minutes.)
- In a large bowl with cleaned beaters (I used my hand held here) beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined.
- Pour mixture into baking pan and sprinkle crushed peppermint dust all over the top, evenly.
- Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.
- Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board.
- With a large oiled knife, trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. (I used a pizza cuter that I had sprayed with olive oil.)
- Roll each marshmallow in remaining confectioners sugar, or mix with more peppermint dust. (I chose to use solid peppermint dust on top and a mixture of ⅓ peppermint to ⅔ confectioner’s sugar for the sides.)
- Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.
NOTE: By peppermint dust, I mean what I created when, for some reason, I decided to see what would happen to candy canes processed in my Vitamix blender. Well, it creates peppermint version of powdered sugar, so that’s why I’m calling it peppermint dust. It’s very fun to have on hand, by the way. Add it to your lattes, your ice cream…. Just stick your finger in it – yum! But, beware: it makes a big ol’ dust cloud when you open your blender! If you would rather not have peppermint, just use powdered sugar and your marshmallows will still taste great.
P. S. And while we’re on the subject of fun holiday projects, be sure to check out SB Atlanta Editor Katherine Snell’s fabulous and easy wreath makeover. You’ll love this!