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January 2012: Romancing The Stone

Homemade Marshmallows: Fluffy, Eggless, and Fun To Make

Homemade marshmallows Vanilla marshmallows on red plateMaking homemade marshmallows is easy and fun to do for the whole family. There is something very pleasing about watching the ingredients turn into creamy white, delicious marshmallow dreaminess. This fluffy recipe mixture makes it hard to wait until they are ready to cut, so have a few spoons available for a quick tasting preview!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. or 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (NOTE: There are vegan gelatins on the market, but I used Knox brand for this recipe.)

1 cup cold water, divided in half

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar sifted together with 1/2 cup Cornstarch

Instructions

Add the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water into a large mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer (NOTE: because of the long beating time, a hand mixer isn't practical). Let it soak for about 30 minutes.

Dust a 9 - 10 inch ceramic or glass baking dish with the Confectioner's sugar and cornstarch; set aside. Reserve the extra mixture for later. HINT: Be generous with the mixture and don't worry about using too much in the pan, most of it will be brushed off when you remove the dried marshmallow. NOTE: I use a 10 inch tart pan pictured in the Here We Are EASY Apple Tart Recipe. The ceramic allows the marshmallow to release more easily than a metal pan. BONUS: The edges get cut off anyway, so it doesn't matter that it is a round pan.

In a medium saucepan, mix together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Brush down any sugar on the sides of the pot, and stop stirring. Clip on a candy thermometer and raise the heat to high until the temperature reaches about 245 degrees; immediately remove from heat. Carefully pour the syrup mixture into a heat proof measuring cup. SAFETY TIP: Put the measuring cup into the sink and pour the hot ingredients into the cup to avoid splashing (this also keeps your cooktop clean!). UTENSIL TIP: If you don't have a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to a hard, rapid boil for about a minute but be careful not to burn it.

Turn the mixer on low and begin to slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin. Once it is all added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for about 10 minutes, then add in the vanilla extract and continue beating for another 3 to 5 minutes until white, fluffy, and thick. HINT: Toward the end of the beating cycle, slowly work backward on the mixer speeds until you are at the slowest speed, then slowly and SLIGHTLY raise the attachments until the marshmallow mixture is released into the bowl.

Using a flexible rubber spatula, ease the marshmallow mixture into the dusted pan and smooth. Generously dust the top of the marshmallow with the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch; smoothing out the sugar/starch on top with your hands. Place uncovered in a cool, dry area, overnight to dry.

The NEXT day: use a butter knife along the edge to loosen the marshmallow. To contain the sugar, place the slab of marshmallow on a large platter or cutting board. With sugar/starch dusted hands, smooth the sugar/starch mixture over both sides removing the excess. Cut off any rough edges with a pastry knife or a kitchen scissor. Cut into strips, then cubes (or any shape you like), and dredge each cube in the sugar/starch. TIP: Use a brushing on and off motion on each side of the marshmallow cube to get a nice, smooth finish from the sugar/starch mixture. This part takes a while, but it is a fun step for kids to do. Store in an airtight container if there are any left!

My recent batch yeilded about 24 large cubes (see picture) that averaged 1.5 inches each. Using a scissor makes this job go much faster. Besides being a preservative free treat, this recipe is also egg-less. Most store bought marshmallows are not preservative free AND contain egg whites. I don't know why, but marshmallows from this recipe seem to last longer in a cup of hot cocoa than store bought types. If you aren't a hot chocolate drinker, use this recipe to make mini-marshmallows to add to yam dishes, rocky road ice cream, fudge recipes, popcorn balls and more! Don't be put off by the long instructions, I've included lots of extra tips to help you enjoy making this messy, but fun and easy treat!!

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