What Are Marshmallows
Marshmallows using the recipe and method below are perfection. You’ll create sweet, chewy, puffy confections made using gelatin, water and confectioner’s sugar. These are homemade treats worthy of being sold in a gourmet candy shop. But you’ll want to eat them all yourself.
What I want you to know about making marshmallows–and many other candies–is that cleanup is really easy, probably easier than many other desserts. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll make a small commission. Thanks for your support of this site 🙂
What Are Marshmallows?
Put your tools, including the candy thermometer into the pan you used to boil the sugar, fill the pan with water so that everything is submerged, and put it on the stove on a low simmer for maybe 45 minutes. The warm water will dissolve the hardened sugar making cleanup quick and easy.
I’ve crossed homemade marshmallows off my culinary bucket list. I used a recipe from the queen of simple but fabulous, also known as Ina Garten.
What Are Marshmallows Made of?
Sugar, water and gelatin with a bit of extract for flavoring. Some marshmallow recipes call for egg whites, this one does not.
If you’ve never made these gelatinous squares of sugar before, they are simple but preparation is key.
Marshmallow making equipment: This is what you’ll need for a successful batch.
- sturdy pot for boiling sugar
- candy thermometer (get one that you can clip to the pot and leave there)
- stand mixer (ideally, if not, then a sturdy hand mixer)
- nonstick spray
- parchment paper
- glass or ceramic 13 by 9 pan or similar
- kitchen shears or cookie cutter or bench scraper
- silicone spatula
- heatproof two-cup glass measuring cup (you’ll pour the hot sugar into this and then pour the sugar into the mixing bowl instead of trying to wield the hot saucepan over the mixing bowl)
- elbow length oven mitts (wear while pouring hot sugar into measuring cup and then into mixing bowl)
- cold water
- white sugar
- light corn syrup
- vanilla extract or other flavoring extract
- three packets of unflavored gelatin
- powdered sugar
- non-stick spray
- Most importantly, preparation is key.
- Before you get started, gather all your ingredients.
- Add the wire whisk attachment to your stand mixer, if using one. If not, the paddle attachment will work.
- Coat a 9 x 13 pan or jelly roll pan or half sheet pan, whatever you're going to use to hold your mass of marshmallow
- with non-stick spray. Dust the pan thoroughly with powdered sugar. (Some recipes call for dusting the pan with half
- powdered sugar and half cornstarch. I didn't have an issue with using all powdered sugar)
- Spray a silicone spatula with non stick spray and set aside.
- Measure the sugar, salt, light corn syrup and half cup of water. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine three gelatin packets and a half cup cold water. Stir and set aside.
- Now you're going to make the hot sugar.
- Pour the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Clip your candy thermometer to the pan if using one
- that stays attached. Turn on burner and cook mixture on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir.
- Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. The bubbles will start
- to get denser and closer together when you're nearing the softball stage or 240 degrees. On my stove it took
- exactly five minutes to reach 240 degrees or the soft ball stage.
- Working very quickly, remove saucepan from the heat.
- Pour small bowl of gelatin into the bowl of your mixer. Turn mixer on low.
- Put elbow-length oven mitts on if you have them. Pour the hot sugar into a heatproof glass measuring cup. The measuring cup will make it easier to
- pour the hot sugar into the mixing bowl. With the mixer on low speed, pour the sugar onto the dissolved gelatin in the mixing bowl.
- Be careful not to let any hot sugar splash onto the moving whisk. You don't want sugar burns.
- Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the non-metal pan you've prepared, using the spatula to thoroughly scrape the bowl. Work quickly. Once
- the marshmallow cools even a bit, it's difficult to work with. You have about five seconds to get it in the pan.
- Smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight or eight hours until it dries out.
- Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar. Enjoy!
- Advance preparation is vital with this recipe. I can’t stress that enough. If you’re hunting for a pan to use for your slab of marshmallow when it’s done mixing, you’re going to have issues. The marshmallow mixture starts to cool almost immediately once you turn off the mixer.
- You’re working with hot sugar. That requires your full attention to avoid getting burned/lighting the house on fire.
- Put your phone in the other room. Tie your hair back and put the small children and animals in another part of the house or outside.
- Also, when you’re mixing the hot sugar and gelatin together, make sure your mixer is on high. If it’s not on high, you won’t get enough air whipped into the mixture, which will result in a slightly flatter marshmallow. This is what happened with my batch. I was sure I had the machine on high but I was one click away from the highest speed. I didn’t realize this until I had five minutes left on the clock.
- Finally, don’t skip on the powdered sugar, which will help your mixture from sticking to the pan and to your cutting implement, whether that’s a kitchen shear, bench scraper or cookie cutter.
Have you made marshmallows before? How did they turn out? Do you have any tips to share? Tell us in the comments.