Make Your Own Marshmallows

In the winter, a cup of hot chocolate just isn’t complete without a rapidly melting marshmallow floating on the surface. And in the spring, those delightful yellow Peeps are as iconic as the Easter Bunny himself. Now that summer is well and truly underway, I am witnessing a scene not unlike something from Lord of the Flies, as a dozen kids circle a blazing bonfire and roast sweet, sticky marshmallows to golden tones, or get a little too close and watch the sugary treat burst dramatically into flames (and then, after it cools, eat it anyway).

In the time of the Ancient Egyptians, a confection of sap from the marshmallow plant (which is in the same plant family as okra, cotton and hibiscus, and has similar-looking blooms) blended with honey was a delicacy served to the Pharaohs. In 19th century France, a descendant of the modern marshmallow was used as a medicinal treat, calming a persistent cough or settling an upset stomach. The sweet panacea caught on with confectioners and soon lost its medicinal associations to become a favorite treat throughout Europe.

Today, marshmallows are made using gelatin instead of the confection’s namesake plant, but they have otherwise remained unchanged since they enthralled candy lovers in the 1800s. They can now be found in a variety of colors, flavors and shapes, but the simple white puff of goo remains a favorite year ’round.

Marshmallows may seem like one of those treats only found in the candy aisle of your local grocery store, but homemade ‘mallows are fun to make and taste so good you’ll understand why the Pharaohs were so stingy with them.

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Step 1

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Mix 1/3 cup cornstarch and 1/3 cup confectioners sugar together in a small bowl.

Step 2

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Line an 8″ x 12″ cake pan with foil, spray with nonstick spray and dust with cornstarch/confectioners sugar mix.

Step 3

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In a small bowl, stir 3 tablespoons gelatin into ½ cup cold water and let rest until gelatin fully dissolves (about 5 minutes).

Step 4

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In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Step 5

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Combine 1/2 cup water, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until dissolved. Stop stirring and continue to cook to a temperature of 240 degrees and remove from heat.

Step 6

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Step 7

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Add sugar/gelatin to egg whites in mixer set to high until marshmallow becomes opaque, firm and fluffy (10-12 minutes).

Step 8

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Pour marshmallow into cake pan, smooth the top with a spatula and let rest 5 hours or overnight to set.

Step 9

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Turn marshmallow onto a work surface dusted with cornstarch/confectioners sugar.

Step 10

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Cut into marshmallow-sized squares and toss in remaining cornstarch/confectioners sugar.

Materials

  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 farm fresh egg whites
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Tools

  • Medium saucepan
  • 8″ x 12″ baking pan
  • Mixer with whisk attachment
About Mick Telkamp 

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A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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One Response

  1. K. Miller says:

    I am curious if this could be used in recipes in place of store-bought Marshmallow Crème if used before letting it set up. Regardless it sounds like a good way to make marshmallows where you know exactly what is in them.

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