That Extra Special Touch: Homemade Marshmallows

IMG_7323The other night we had friends over to enjoy hot cocoa and a movie as one of our advent activities. When I said we made marshmallows the reaction was, “You can make marshmallows? What are they made of anyway?” The funny thing is that it’s a very simple answer: Sugar, water, gelatin, and air. Yes there is a little more to it, but that’s the basis of this classic treat. Marshmallows have always been on my wishlist to make, but I was afraid of the time they would take and the mess they would make. In the end neither was that bad, and the results were incredible. No other marshmallow can compare.

This was not my own experimental recipe, but it was a wonderfully successful adventure. Being a long time fan of Alton Brown and his Food Network show, “Good Eats,” I’ve learned how to use the science of food to my advantage. And marshmallows are prime example my “Why-Buy-What-You-Can-Make” philosophy.IMG_7311

Recipe and Video of Good Eats Marshmallows

A few things I learned along the marshmallow way:

  1. The mess was more easily contained by having all materials prepped and ingredients measured in advanced.
  2. The temperature rose quickly after inserting the candy thermometer until the water reached it’s boiling point at 210° Fahrenheit, after the water had boiled out (and almost looked like it would boil over), the temperature rose more slowly.
  3. It helped to have an extra plate handy when pouring the hot syrup from the sauce pan into the mixing bowl. This way when the syrup dripped a little I had someplace to set the pan down on without getting everything else sticky.
  4. It was really hard to wait four hours before cutting and eating, because they looked so good right away.IMG_7306
  5. Cutting and separating the marshmallows was a sticky and slightly messy process. After cutting into squares I took a whole row at a time and rolled it in the cornstarch/sugar mixture to cover the newly exposed sides and then I cold pull each one apart a little easier and continue to coat the newly exposed sides. This also helped the marshmallows not stick together in the serving bowl and then in the plastic bag when they were stored.
    IMG_7305
    Proper pan prep leads to easier removal.
    IMG_7300
    Gelatin when it’s been bloomed in cold water.

    IMG_7302
    Sugar, water, corn syrup mixture cooked to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t be afraid to make these, you will be greatly rewarded. Impress your holiday guests on top of homemade hot cocoa (also very easy, we use  the Joy of Cooking recipe) or give yourself a sweet treat in your morning coffee. IMG_7310

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