With the May long weekend upon us, I couldn’t think of a more exciting treat to make than homemade marshmallows! May Long is the official kick off to camping season, despite the typically cold, rainy and sometimes snowy weather! The only thing that could convince me to go camping this early in the season is the thought of s’mores on a campfire.
Although most of the province is under a fire ban, Calgary is not and thankfully I have a friend with a fire pit in her backyard, so I was able to create the experience and have a shower 😉 We still took safety precautions like having a fire extinguisher at hand. Really, every house should have one and you can read details on best buy options to make sure you buy the best and safest fire extinguisher. That being said, you don’t need a fire to make s’mores. If you are in a fire ban area, you can easily make s’mores in the oven, just bake the assembled s’more for a few minutes at 375 degrees. Delicious, I promise.
Believe it or not, homemade marshmallows really aren’t that difficult to make. The science geek in me loved the process, watching the hot sugar syrup and gelatin come together is so much fun! If you have little ones around, they’ll love everything about making marshmallows.
Often times when I share recipes, it will call for a stand mixer, which in most cases can be substituted with a hand-held mixer, in this instance however I would recommend a stand mixer. It can be challenging to control the speed on a hand held mixer, which can lead to a dense batter. Also some hand held mixers may not be powerful enough to handle the thicker batter.
I also recommend that you have a candy thermometer, it’s very important that the hot sugar syrup is at the right temperature when it’s added to the gelatin. Speaking of the hot sugar syrup, this is one of the few times I had to use corn syrup. While I wish there was another way to make marshmallows, the corn syrup helps prevent the sugar syrup from crystallizing and it keeps the marshmallows fluffy and chewy.
While I made plain marshmallows this weekend because we were going to be roasting them, you can make any flavour you’d like with this recipe! You can add cocoa powder for chocolate marshmallows or use different extracts to change up the flavour. You could even press chocolate chips or other candy pieces into the finished marshmallows, or coat them with anything from sprinkles to pumpkin pie spice to toasted coconut.
Okay, time to take a deep breath, get your supplies ready and give it a go! I’d love to hear how they turn out! Good luck!
For the bloom:
3 tablespoons (typically 3 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the marshmallows:
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup corn syrup
Pinch kosher salt
For the marshmallow coating:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
Spray a 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe the pan and make sure there’s a thin film on every surface, corner, and side. Set it near your stand mixer, along with a kitchen towel and a stiff spatula. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Measure the gelatin into the bowl of the stand mixer. Combine 1/2 cup cold water and vanilla in a measuring cup and pour this over the gelatin while whisking gently with a fork. Continue stirring until the gelatin reaches the consistency of apple sauce and there are no more large lumps. Set the bowl back in your standing mixer.
Pour 3/4 cup water into the 4-quart saucepan. Pour the sugar, corn syrup, and salt on top. Do not stir.
Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a full, rapid boil – all of the liquid should be boiling. As it is coming to a bowl, occasionally dip a pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of the pot. This prevents sugar crystals from falling into the liquid, which can cause the syrup to crystallize. If you don’t have a pastry brush, cover the pan for 2 minutes once the mixture is at a boil so the steam can wash the sides. Do not stir the sugar once it has come to a boil
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the sauce pan and continue boiling until the sugar mixture reaches 247°F to 250°F. Take the pan off the heat and remove the thermometer.
Turn on your mixer to medium speed. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. The mixture may foam up – just go slowly and carefully.
When all the syrup has been added, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and increase the speed to high (the cloth protects from splatters – the cloth can be removed after the marshmallows have started to thicken).
Whip for about 10 minutes. At first, the liquid will be very clear and frothy. Around 3 minutes, the liquid will start looking opaque, white, and creamy, and the bowl will be very warm to the touch. Around 5 minutes, the marshmallow will start to increase in volume. You’ll see thin, sticky strands between the whisk and the side of the bowl; these strands will start to thicken into ropes over the next 5 minutes. The marshmallow may not change visually in the last few minutes, but continue beating for the full 10 minutes. When you finish beating and stop the mixer, it will resemble soft-serve vanilla ice cream.
With the mixer running on medium, slowly lift the whisk out of the bowl so it spins off as much marshmallow as possible. Using your stiff spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the pan. This stuff is very thick and sticky, so don’t worry about getting every last bit out of the bowl. Just get as much as you can.
Spray your hands lightly with cooking oil and smooth the top of the marshmallow to make it as even as possible. Let the mixture sit uncovered and at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours to set and “cure.”
Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.
Sprinkle the top of the cured marshmallows with some of the powdered sugar mix and smooth it with your hand. Flip the block of marshmallows out onto your work surface. Use a spatula to pry them out of the pan if necessary. Sprinkle more powdered sugar mixture over the top of the marshmallow block.
Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the marshmallows into squares. It helps to dip your knife in water every few cuts. (You can also cut the marshmallows with cookie cutters.)
Toss each square in the powdered sugar mix so all the sides are evenly coated.
Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. Leftover marshmallow coating can be stored in a sealed container indefinitely.
Recipe from www.thekitchn.com