Sweet, Sticky, Delicious Fun: Marshmallows from Scratch!

From-scratch always seems to taste better than store-bought. Marshmallows are a sticky but fun example.

An early Saturday morning and terrific step-by-step instructions, including helpful photographs, were the ingredients I needed to check something off my “try-to-make-from-scratch” list – marshmallows. Holy cow, these are messy and delicious! It took almost two hours to make them and about a half an hour to clean up, but there are no complaints from me. I think a stand mixer and candy thermometer are non-negotiable for this project. Normally, I play around with a few recipes and try to come up with something on my own. This time, I followed the Hungry Mouse’s instructions to the tee. What delicious fun for a Saturday morning!

Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups cold water (1 cup for the gelatin and 1 cup for the sugar syrup)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Put 1 cup of cold water in the bowl of your mixer.
  2. Add the gelatin to the water.
  3. It will immediately absorb the water and turn into a kind of sandy mass.
  4. Give it a stir to combine the gelatin and water well.
  5. It will have the consistency of soft, wet sand.
  6. Let the gelatin sit uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  7. Secure your mixing bowl onto your stand mixer.
  8. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment so it’s ready to go when your sugar is hot..
  9. With a strainer, dust a 13″ x 9″ glass baking pan with a thick layer powdered sugar. This will keep the marshmallows from sticking to the bottom.
  10. Set your pan aside so it is ready when your marshmallow fluff is done.
  11. Once your gelatin is ready and your pans are dusted, put 1 cup of water in a large-­sized pot on the stove over high heat. Use a pot that’s deep enough so that the sugar will have plenty of room to boil without boiling over, like a 5-quart pot.
  12. Add in the sugar and salt.
  13. Pour in the corn syrup.
  14. Whisk the mixture together to combine well and melt the sugar. This will take a minute or two, since the corn syrup is so thick. Keep whisking ’til the mixture is even and easy to stir.
  15. With any candy making, it’s important to dissolve all the sugar even the little bits stuck to the side of the pot.
  16. Sugar is finicky and wants to clump together and re­crystalize when it’s in a supersaturated solution like this. (Which will screw up the consistency of your marshmallow.
  17. As the mixture is coming up to a boil, wash down the sides of the pot with a brush dipped in cold water. Keep dipping and brushing ’til you can’t see any sugar crystals. This won’t take long, but it’s important to do.
  18. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. The end of the thermometer should be submerged, but not touching the bottom of the pot.
  19. Keep the heat on high to bring the mixture to a boil. When it boils, it will rise up a few inches rapidly, then stop. It’s kind of alarming the first time you see it, but if your pot is deep enough, you shouldn’t have any problems.
  20. Keep a close eye on your pot and have a pair of potholders handy. (If it boils over, turn the heat off and fan the surface of the sugar to cool it. It should recede rapidly. Hot sugar is nasty stuff, so keep your hands and face clear. Better to have a mess on your stove than get burned.)
  21. Boil the sugar (keep the heat on high) until it reaches Firm Ball stage at 244 degrees F.
  22. When the sugar reaches 244 degrees F, take the pot off the heat.
  23. Turn the mixer on low speed. The whisk will start to chunk up the gelatin.
  24. With the mixer running on low, slowly (and carefully!!) pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin.
  25. Now, at this point, it’s going to smell kind of awful. That’s just fine. Unflavored gelatin is kind of stinky business. It will be fine with a little vanilla extract at the end.
  26. When all the sugar is in the bowl, fit your mixer with a splash guard, if you have one. Turn the speed up to medium­high (do this slowly if you don’t have a guard on, to avoid splashes) and whip the mixture for 20 minutes.
  27. As you whip the mixture, it will gradually increase in volume and turn an opaque white.
  28. After about 20 minutes, you’ll have a bowl of bona fide marshmallow fluff.
  29. After 20 minutes of whipping, pour in the vanilla extract.
  30. Beat to combine for another 5 minutes.
  31. After 5 minutes, stop the mixer, and remove the bowl and whisk. Your marshmallow fluff should be thick and white.
  32. Pour the fluff into your prepared pan.
  33. Dust the tops of the marshmallow with more powdered sugar.
  34. Leave the pans uncovered on the counter overnight to set up.
  35. The next day unmold and cut your marshmallows.
  36. Put a cup or two of powdered sugar in a gallon­size zip­top bag. (This is for rolling the cut marshmallows.)
  37. Dip a thin, sharp knife in a glass of hot water, then run the knife around the inside edge of each pan until the marshmallow loosens.
  38. If the knife starts to stick, just dip it back into the hot water.
  39. When the marshmallow is loose, lift it out and set it on a board.
  40. With a large, sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into cubes (or any other shape you like).
  41. Roll the cut marshmallows in the bag of powdered sugar to coat each side.
  42. Knock the excess sugar off and…voila! Marshmallow!
  43. Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows. Store them in an airtight container or zip­top bag. Enjoy!

Thank you to The Hungry Mouse for the recipe and terrific instructions! And click here for a great cup of

Adult Beverages in a Dry Town

We always have enjoyed wine or good beer with our meals. One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories began with Jack handing me the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. Sake plus sushi equals a wonderful evening. You get the picture…

Living in a dry community is sometimes hard. A fillet of Chinook salmon cooked to perfection on a cedar plank would be that much better served with a bottle of Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay. The other night we had a wonderful meal of sashimi–the sweet shrimp, scallops and salmon were excellent. Alas, no Pinot Gris or sake. And after a good workout in the weight room, it sure would be nice to come home and have a beer. We can’t even have cooking sherry!

And so, we improvise to the extent we can. We bought a Sodastream carbonated beverage maker and absolutely love it. (In fact, now several people in our village have ordered them!) A glass of “fizzy water” and a bit of flavored syrup keeps things “dry” but agreeably festive.

But believe me, when we hit Anchorage in the spring, it’s not safe to get between us and that first bottle of beer!