I came across this post by One Hungry Chef midweek and his recipe for homemade marshmallows looked so easy that I got a sudden need to make them. I was reminded of the light, fluffy guimauve from Pierre Marcolini and hoped to recreate that exact texture and flavour. I liked that his recipe also didn’t include egg whites or corn syrup, the first being an ingredient I think doesn’t belong in marshmallows and the second being one that’s hard to find here in the UK. Never one to leave things alone, I modified the recipe to lie somewhere between One Hungry Chef‘s and Sugar Plum‘s.
And the tweaked recipe turned out well! The most important thing to have is a candy thermometer as it’s imperative that your sugar syrup gets to the correct temperature. An electric hand mixer or a stand mixer is also useful as it’ll save your poor arm from a long stint at whisking. The texture that resulted from the recipe below was spot on – just perfectly light and the marshmallow just melts in your mouth, a far cry from the uniform cylindrical puffs you get in a bag. I’m keen to try making other flavours too – mint or rose or orange flower immediately come to mind.
makes about 50 (of course, this depends on what size you make them).
400 g sugar
2 tbsps powdered gelatin
300 mL water
a large pinch of salt
2-1/2 tsps vanilla extract
Prepare your marshmallow container – a 20-23cm square pan is good. I just used a baking dish of approximately that size. Mix together equal volumes of icing sugar and cornstarch. Lightly oil your pan and then dust the bottom and sides with this sugar/cornstarch mixture.
In a large heatproof bowl (mine’s Pyrex), pour in 150 mL of the water and then scatter over the powdered gelatin. Set aside.
In a small heavy based pot, pour in the other 150 mL of water and all the sugar. Set over medium heat and whisk together occasionally until the sugar has all melted. Bring the mixture up to 115 Celsius. (This took longer than I expected!) Take off the heat. Pour the syrup over the gelatin in the bowl and stir together well. Add the salt and the vanilla and continue stirring, allowing it to cool a bit.
With a hand mixer (of course, if you have a stand mixer, use it!), beat the syrup at medium/high speed (I switched back and forth between the two) for 12 minutes. After this time, the mixture will have doubled in size, thickened, and be opaque. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top down if needed. Dust the top with more of the sugar/cornstarch mixture and cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours (or even overnight). Proceed to lick the beaters and the bowl!
When the marshmallow is set, turn it out onto a chopping board and cut it up into squares. I found kitchen scissors to be the best for the job; you could even use cookie cutters to make shapes. Dust all the cut edges with more of the icing sugar and cornstach mix. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple weeks.
All you North American’s out there are probably wondering if these marshmallows make good s’mores! If you’re curious, these are graham crackers sandwiching a bit of chocolate bar and a hot toasted marshmallow. Graham crackers aren’t easy to find in the UK but you might be able to happen upon a Filipino brand I’ve seen at an Asian supermarkets. I used a chocolate covered stem ginger biscuit as my base and topped it with a toasted marshmallow (stuck it on a skewer and held it over a gas burner).
Only as you can see, the marshmallow didn’t get toasty enough as its delicateness causes it to melt before browning; the toasted flavour is spot on though. I think a small blowtorch is in order!