Confession #74: I’ve “Toasted” Marshmallows in All the Wrong Ways… Marshmallows!

by alexandra

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While I am completely aware that marshmallows are traditionally toasted over a fire, I think I’ve actually done it this way about once in my life. That’s sort of pathetic saying it out loud – or writing it out loud, I guess – but I only remember doing it once. On the other hand, I have tried quite a few eccentric ways of toasting a marshmallow without the typical fire. When I was younger, I tried it over a candle. Of course, the other thought that naturally followed was to try it over a lighter, which I believe I did too. And most recently, as in this week, I did it in the toaster oven. Needless to say, the only one of these three methods that basically worked was the toaster oven one.

My marshmallow toasting experiences are therefore rather bleak. In fact, the most authentic experience I’ve had wasn’t even outdoors, but instead made use of an indoor fireplace. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been crazy about marshmallows. My sister loves them and can’t get enough, but I’ve always stuck to other treats, like anything with chocolate in it. Nonetheless, my eyes have opened up to the beauty of a simple marshmallow ever since I made these homemade ones.

All marshmallows are supposed to be light and fluffy, like little edible clouds of sweetness, but until you really taste a light and fluffy marshmallow, I don’t think you know the true meaning of that description. Homemade marshmallows are the epitome of sweet airiness, a true treat to enjoy. The bonus is that they’re also incredibly easy to make, so long as you have a stand mixer to do all of the heavy lifting for you!

I realize that there are quite a few marshmallow recipes out there, which presented a dilemma for me while I was deciding which to try. However, I settled on this recipe because of the fact that it contains no corn syrup, while most recipes do. I was a little worried about whether this would affect the end result, but I was pleased to find that it didn’t. The marshmallows came out every bit as beautiful and fluffy as I was hoping. Homemade marshmallows? Definitely worth the effort!

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Marshmallows


  • Yield: about 40 jumbo marshmallows (depending on size you cut them)

Description

Big, soft, fluffy marshmallows are easy to make and fun to eat. Plus, making them at home means no corn syrup or other controversial ingredients!


Ingredients

  • butter, for greasing pan
  • confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  • 2 envelopes of gelatin (or 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 – 3 teaspoons vanilla extract*

Instructions

  1. Butter an 8″ square** baking dish and line with parchment paper. Butter the bottom and sides of the parchment and dust generously with confectioner’s sugar to cover all of the buttered area.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine gelatin and water and mix with the whisk attachment for 1-2 minutes on low, or until the gelatin appears to have dissolved (the mixture may be thickened and look a bit bubbly). Let sit while you prepare the syrup.
  3. In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and set over medium heat, combine boiling water, sugar, and salt. Whisk frequently until the mixture begins to boil (the water will stop boiling once you add the other ingredients).Once boiling, stop whisking and allow to boil for 15-20 minutes, until the candy thermometer reads 236 F. Remove from heat and slowly pour into mixer. Add vanilla.
  4. Beat the ingredients together at medium speed for 20 minutes. It will start out looking brown from the vanilla and very liquidy but will become thick and white like marshmallow creme and expand a lot.
  5. Butter a spatula and pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared dish. Smooth the top with the back of the spatula, starting at one corner and moving up, down, and across the dish in a swirling motion until you reach the opposite corner. Place in the freezer, uncovered, overnight.
  6. Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. Lift the marshmallows out of the dish using the sides of the parchment, and carefully peel the parchment down from the sides of the marshmallows. Butter a pair of kitchen shears and cut the marshmallows into strips, and each strip into cubes (size as desired).
  7. Dust a surface with confectioner’s sugar and coat the remaining sides of the marshmallows (those that have not yet been dusted) in the confectioner’s sugar.
  8. Store marshmallows in an airtight container in the freezer.

Notes

*I used 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon), and the extract was quite detectable in the flavor of the marshmallows. To make the taste more subtle, I would suggest using less – as little as 1-1/2 teaspoons. Once the marshmallows have been whipped and are ready to set, you can always taste them and whip in extra vanilla if desired.

**For bigger, taller marshmallows, use an 11″ x 7″ dish.

Recipe Adapted From: Visions of Sugar Plum

I hope I have you dreaming of s’mores now, because that’s what this week is all about! In case you haven’t been tuned in, I’m having a s’mores-themed week of blog posts to celebrate this blog turning one year old (on Thursday, July 11!) First up was Graham Crackers, and now that we have marshmallows too, get ready for an extra-fun finale! See you soon. :)

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Riley July 12, 2012

Yay I’ve been waiting for these marshmallows! They look absolutely delicious!
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brighteyedbaker July 14, 2012

I’m so glad you didn’t forget about them!! Hope you try them out :)

Chris K July 12, 2012

I grew up in the country, toasting marshmallows over firepits and bonfires. We live in Chicago now, so the bonfires are hopefully not possible around here, but that is why gas stovetops are the best! Frankly, I almost like the stovetop better, as you can turn down the heat real low and cook the marshmallow so slow it is like a little baggy of marshmallow goo only held together by the crispy brown outside.

brighteyedbaker July 14, 2012

That sounds like a lot of fun – those bonfire times and all of that! I don’t have a gas stovetop, so that option isn’t really available to me, but it does sound like a fantastic way to do it.

Melissa January 27, 2013

I’ve been wanting to try marshmallows for the last year and have saved many different recipes. Thanks to the stand mixer my boyfriend got me for Christmas I was able to make my first attempt. These are delicious! Now I can’t decide if I should try another recipe (some have corn syrup, some have corn syrup and egg whites, some are flavored) for comparison or just call it good. I’m curious what the difference in taste would be, but I don’t want to waste my time if they’re not as good as these!

alexandra January 27, 2013

Well, I feel particularly honored that you decided to try out this recipe first, and I’m so glad you liked them! I’ve wondered about other recipes as well, but then I always decide that if I can make marshmallows without corn syrup, why bother using it? I have made peppermint marshmallows though with the same basic recipe. You can check those out if that sounds good to you! Essentially, it’s really easy to switch up the extract you use for different flavors.

Melissa February 5, 2013

Those peppermint marshmallows sound great! I’m sticking with your recipe. My boyfriend says they are the best marshmallows he’s ever had and I agree. Why mess with a good thing?… Unless of course you’re going to flavor a good thing ;).

alexandra February 6, 2013

I’m so glad to hear that! And a good recipe is always a great jumping off point for flavor additions, so go for it!!

Kathy December 13, 2013

I don’t see how this makes 40 jumbo marshmallows if it is in a 8×8 pan. Confused.

Kathy December 13, 2013

I don’t see how this makes 40 jumbo marshmallows if it is in a 8×8 pan. Confused.

alexandra December 13, 2013

The marshmallows set up quite tall, so when you cut them, you end up with about 40 large marshmallows. (If you were to cut six rows in each direction, you’d end up with almost 40 that are more than an inch wide and extra-tall.)

Rachel December 14, 2013

This recipe is SO much easier than another recipe I tried last time. Thanks!

alexandra December 16, 2013

I’m so glad!

rebecca January 3, 2014

I have a few questions about this recipe:
1, what should i look for in texture/stiffness of the marshmallow as it’s whipping, to have another guide than 20 minutes?

2, could you just butter and dust a pan directly, since you have to butter the pan and butter and dust the parchment?

3, is the instruction to store these in the freezer a necessity, or just a suggestion. wondering because it’s the only non-corn syrup recipe I’ve seen, and I’m wondering if they CAN be kept out of the freezer.

4, do the marshmallows actually expand once they are in the pan in the freezer? Thinking about trying the recipe in a jelly roll pan instead of a baking dish.

alexandra January 3, 2014

When you’re whipping the marshmallow mixture, you want it to be thick, white, and very fluffy/ expanded in volume.
I would say don’t skip the parchment, because it will be much easier to remove the marshmallows from the pan with the parchment.
You don’t have to store the marshmallows in the freezer, but I think it works best for long-term storage so they stay softer.
The marshmallows shouldn’t really expand as they set. The only thing about putting the mixture in a jelly-roll pan is that the marshmallows won’t be as thick as the ones in the photos, since the sides of a jelly roll pan are really short.
Hope that helps, and let me know how it all goes!

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