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Perfect Homemade Marshmallows

101

Marshmallows were originally made from the root of the marshmallow plant; today, corn syrup and sugar are the main ingredients. Homemade ones can be cut into any shape you like.

  • Yield: Makes about 40

Photography: Melanie Acevedo

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 1996

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes.

  2. Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

  3. Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

  4. With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

  5. Generously dust an 8-by-12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust top with confectioners' sugar; wet your hands, and pat it to smooth. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out. Turn out onto a board; cut marshmallows with a dry hot knife into 1 1/2-inch squares, and dust with more confectioners' sugar.

Reviews Add a comment

  • vandda
    6 APR, 2012
    I used Agave syrup and one big teaspoon of vanilla and the marshmallows turned out perfectly. I increased the water to one third cup when boiling and only used half the called for syrup. My granddaughter and I made these for Easter. We cut them into squares and rolled them in homemade pink sugar. I would have cut them into other shapes but because they were so thick it would have been too unwieldy. Next time we will pour the mixture into a larger pan and make them thinner to cut shapes.
    Reply
  • vandda
    6 APR, 2012
    I used Agave syrup and one big teaspoon of vanilla and the marshmallows turned out perfectly. I increased the water to one third cup when boiling and only used half the called for syrup. My granddaughter and I made these for Easter. We cut them into squares and rolled them in homemade pink sugar. I would have cut them into other shapes but because they were so thick it would have been too unwieldy. Next time we will pour the mixture into a larger pan and make them thinner to cut shapes.
    Reply
  • robin1
    24 DEC, 2011
    The directions were clear and everything cooked and whipped up perfectly, but....I agree with the other reviewer about the amount of vanilla--two tablespoons of my best bourbon-based vanilla just seemed to kill the recipe. Next time: one tablespoon of vanilla and maybe a teaspoon of almond extract. The abundance of vanilla left a bitter aftertaste.
    Reply
  • StringMeAlong
    20 SEP, 2011
    knitphomanic: I have also made these marshmallows before with great success, however this past weekend I had the same experience as you. I bought new gelatin today and tried again and everything went perfectly. It is my guess that during the humid summer months my gelatin had taken on a bit of moisture and that might have prevented it from gelling properly during my failed attempt. It's just a guess, but try some new, fresh gelatin and maybe you also will be lucky. Good luck.
    Reply
  • knitphomaniac
    17 AUG, 2011
    I've made marshmallow recipes before with success, but the last two times I made this recipe it didn't work. I followed it to a "t" and for some reason it just won't 'fluff up' when it's in my mixer, despite my best efforts. Any suggestions? I've already tried using a different kind of corn syrup, a different brand of sugar, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly and can't figure out why it's failing me these two times (once before, twice today).
    Reply
  • yummyscrummy
    31 JUL, 2011
    Surely it should be 2 teaspoons of vanilla and not 2 tablespoons?
    Reply
  • shysansom
    25 JAN, 2011
    Yes, you can substitute honey for corn syrup. The recipe still works perfectly and the marshmallows have a pleasant, faintly floral quality.
    Reply
  • rlewis
    3 JAN, 2011
    You can always try replacing gelatin with agar agar (made form seaweed and vegan friendly), but it doesn't always behave the same as gelatin, so I would recommend a trial run. For one thing, agar agar is a lot more stable at room temp than gelatin, so if you do a one to one substitution, you might end up with firmer marshmallows than you'd planned on. It can also be gummier and have an odd flavor.
    Reply
  • Tatianka
    8 DEC, 2010
    can i substitute corn syrup for something? like molasses or golden syrup?
    Reply
  • debinetic
    4 JAN, 2009
    Gelatin is made from collagen (which is not the same as keratin). It's a protein, but the old wives' tale about it being good for your hair and nails is not true. It's not from animal fat. Collagen is, of course, an animal product and thus not appropriate for vegetarians.
    Reply