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Homemade Marshmallows

From s’mores to sweet potato casserole, marshmallows are an essential wintertime ingredient. But before you go digging around in the back of the cupboard for that stale bag of store-bought marshmallows, take note: These airy puffs of sugar and cornstarch are surprisingly easy to whip up at home (and they make a great host gift or party favor). When Imbibe production coordinator Sarah Thornton brought a batch of her homemade marshmallows to the office recently, their fluffy texture left the whole staff floating on cloud nine. Her recipe, which she adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002), gives the option of infusing the marshmallows with seasonal flavors like maple or peppermint, making your next cup of cocoa extra-special.



Butter or vegetable oil for greasing pan, hands and spatula
3 packets (3 Tbsp.) unsweetened, unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt    
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup powdered sugar



Stand-up mixer
Small saucepan
Candy thermometer
9-by-13-inch baking pan
Kitchen scissors
Silicone spatula
Bowl or baking dish


Makes 2–3 dozen, depending on your marshmallow size, and will keep for up to two weeks in a sealed, plastic container.



Step by step photos by Stuart Mullenberg



Step 1
Grease bottom and sides of pan. Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar in a bowl or baking dish. Sprinkle pan with powdered sugar/cornstarch mix and reserve remainder of mix.Grease bottom and sides of pan. Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar in a bowl or baking dish. Sprinkle pan with powdered sugar/cornstarch mix and reserve remainder of mix.


Step 2

Pour cold water into the bowl of the mixer, sprinkle gelatin on top and let sit 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.



Step 3

Mix corn syrup, granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water in saucepan; bring to a boil on high for approximately one minute until mixture reaches 240–250 degrees F. (This is called the “hard ball” stage.)



Step 4

Slowly drizzle the boiling sugar mixture into the gelatin while running the mixer on low speed with the flat beater attachment; add salt.



Step 5

Raise speed to medium-low until the marshmallow mix turns white (3–4 minutes); increase to high and run until the mixture’s volume is no longer increasing (additional 6–8 minutes). Add vanilla extract and mix until completely blended.



Step 6

Work the mix into a pan using a greased spatula and greased hands to form an even layer of marshmallow. Let the marshmallow sit at room temperature, uncovered, for 18–24 hours.



Step 7

Turn marshmallow cake onto flat surface covered with 2–3 tablespoons of reserved cornstarch/powdered sugar mix. Use scissors to cut marshmallows into cubes.



Step 8

Dredge cubes in remaining cornstarch/powdered sugar mix until they’re no longer sticky.







Maple Marshmallows
Use 2 1/2 teaspoons of maple extract in place of vanilla. Immediately after laying the marshmallow mix in the pan, sprinkle with coarse maple sugar. Press sugar into marshmallows for a firm hold.

Peppermint Marshmallows
Create a peppermint paste using 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract, 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar and 2–3 drops of pink or red food coloring. Follow the original recipe (including vanilla extract) and immediately after laying the marshmallow mixture in the pan, use a toothpick to drag the paste across the top of the marshmallows. For extra mint flavor, drizzle peppermint extract on the bottom of the pan before laying in the marshmallow mixture.



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