Don’t be afraid of making marshmallows – they’re the easiest things. Basically you mix and watch. That’s about it. Store bought marshmallows are great for campfires and the odd s’more, but there’s something fresh and beautiful tasting about the homemade kind. Thanks to Martha, I discovered they were easy to make years ago and now heart-shaped marshmallows have become an annual tradition in my house on Valentine’s Day. Along with being woken by having heart-shaped confetti thrown at you, but that’s another post.
Our love affair with fresh marshmallows started years ago when the hubby and I were on a trip to Paris for our anniversary. It was one of those grand romantic gestures where he planned the entire trip in secret, hid our bags in the trunk and found an excuse to take me to the airport. So on our aluminum anniversary, the hubby put me on an aluminum plane and whisked me to Paris. In return, I wrote romantic things for him on little pebbles and wrapped them up in Reynolds wrap. Seriously. I thought it was cute, but in hindsight I think I still owe him big.
Anyway, we had no idea what gift to bring back for the kids. We settled on cute little French berets and fresh marshmallows we found in the window of a quaint little bakery. The kids thought the berets were fine, but the marshmallows were a huge hit and we’ve been hooked on homemade ones since. I use a recipe by Martha Stewart. Here are the ingredients – sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, salt, vanilla, and icing sugar for the coating:
Basically you heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt and some water in a saucepan and boil until the temperature reaches 238°F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, you let the gelatin soften with some water while the sugar is simmering.
Then you mix them together.
And soon you have a bowl full of beautiful marshmallow fluff.
Pour it into a dish and let it set.
Turn out onto a counter dusted with icing sugar.
Cut and enjoy! That’s it – pretty easy! Have fun with your shapes – this time we tried hearts and flowers. The best part is the scraps – toss them into a jar with some icing sugar and add them to your hot chocolate for a decadent drink.
Come back tomorrow when we show you how we had some fun decorating our marshmallows.
Some hints: I always measure the gelatin since I find the envelopes do not always have the same amounts in them. With this batch, about 3 ½ envelopes gave me the 3 tbsp plus 1½ tsp required. When you are heating the corn syrup and sugar, stir only until the sugar is dissolved. I kept stirring after the mixture boiled and almost caused it to boil over. Careful – this stuff is super hot! Use a candy thermometer and heat exactly to 238°F for best results.
Martha Stewart Living
Yield: Makes 24
Vegetable oil, for brushing
4 envelopes unflavoured gelatin (3 tbsp plus 1½ tsp)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.
2. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ¾ cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put ¾ cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
4. Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
5. Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.