At last, a Gift From the Kitchen I have actually given as a gift instead. This past Saturday evening, friends gathered together to celebrate a girl named Niki’s birthday. The fun part was Niki didn’t know we had gathered together to celebrate her birthday until she walked in the restaurant. Her best friend and cousin were able to visit from Raleigh to attend the party, and the expression on Niki’s face and the shout that came out of her mouth when she saw them was highly entertaining for the rest of us.
Niki’s friend Kyrie baked and decorated an AMAZING cake based on a few of Niki’s favorite things: argyle, hockey, and penguins (the Antarctic kind, not the Pittsburgh kind). As for me, I made homemade marshmallows because a) they were on my blog bucket list and b) on a previous occasion I heard Niki remark she wanted to try homemade marshmallows.
In my imaginary world not bound by the time constraints of my real world, we would have gotten together for a homemade marshmallow party where we could have made lots of uniquely flavored marshmallows. In my real world, I made vanilla-honey and chocolate marshmallows before the party and stuck them in Niki’s gift bag.
The marshmallow recipe I used is from “The Craft of Baking” by Karen Demasco. Though its many steps are time consuming, the steps include a lot of down time that allow one to wash the dishes, wipe off the counters, sing and dance, etc. As I sat writing this post, I realized using a marshmallow recipe from “The Craft of Baking” was quite fitting since the recipe for one of Niki’s favorite things from this blog, homemade graham crackers, came from the same cookbook. Maybe I should have just given her the cookbook?
I wrote the recipe below pretty much as it is seen in the cookbook, though I want to point out a couple of items. The recipe calls for “two tablespoons plus two teaspoons of powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 envelopes).” I measured my powdered gelatin out and found I needed 3 1/2 envelopes to meet the two tablespoons plus two teaspoons requirement. The envelopes I refer to are those found in the 1 ounce box of Knox Original Gelatine. I also had a lot of the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture left over, so I believe the measurements could be halved and still provide plenty.
While discussing homemade marshmallows, a friend asked if they were like making meringues. I exclaimed “yes” because whipping egg whites was exactly what I was thinking of while I watched the marshmallow mixture come together. Though no egg whites were involved in the making of these marshmallows, the corn syrup, honey, sugar, water, and gelatin mix until they nearly triple in volume to a light, fluffy, cloud-like (or as near as I can image what a cloud is like) consistency.
The butter flavor nonstick cooking spray I had on hand left a yellow edge along some of the marshmallows I cut. I would suggest using a very light coating of nonstick cooking spray (I tend to over spray) and using unflavored nonstick cooking spray which is typically more transparent than the yellow butter flavor. As you can probably tell, I opted to make thick marshmallows with an 8 x 8 pan.
I made chocolate marshmallows by adding unsweetened cocoa powder to the plain marshmallow mixture flavored with honey and pure vanilla extract. I also added the cocoa powder to my confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture when it came time to coat the chocolate marshmallows.
Niki’s verdict? “The chocolate ones are honestly the best thing I’ve ever tasted!” That’s quite a recommendation! I too really liked the marshmallows soft, melt-in-your mouth texture, but they were very, very sweet. These treats are definitely worth making to enjoy with hot chocolate, s’mores, or as a lone sweet bite. Enjoy!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (3½ envelopes)
- 1⅓ cups cold water, divided
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- Coat a 12 x 17 jelly roll pan (thin marshmallows) or an 8 x 8 baking dish (thick marshmallows) with nonstick cooking spray, then line the dish with plastic wrap. The cooking spray will hold the plastic wrap in place. When the dish is lined, spray the plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray as well. Set aside.
- Whisk together the gelatin and one cup of water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit while you prepare the sugar mixture.
- In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, honey, and granulated sugar.
- Add ⅓ cup water and very gently stir so the sugar is damp but does not touch the sides of the pan.
- Cook over high heat until the sugar reaches the firm ball stage, 245 degrees F, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to 225 degrees F, about 12 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour a stream of the sugar syrup down the edge of the mixer bowl into the water and gelatin.
- Increase the mixer to medium-high speed once all of the sugar syrup has been added.
- After 5 minutes of mixing, add the vanilla and the salt.
- Continue mixing until the mixture is very thick and the bowl feels cool, about 15 minutes.
- Fold in an additional flavoring (listed in the notes below) if desired.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet or baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula coated in non-stick cooking spray.
- Let stand at room temperature to set up, about 2-3 hours.
- Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch. When the marshmallows have set up, coat a clean counter or other work space with some of the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture.
- Invert the marshmallows from the baking sheet or baking dish on top of the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture.
- Peel back the plastic wrap from what is now the top of the marshmallows.
- Sift some of the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture over the tops.
- Using a knife coated in cooking spray, cut the marshmallows into the desired size squares. Toss the marshmallows in the remaining confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture.