There’s nothing like biting into a real, homemade marshmallow that you’ve made yourself. It’s completely unlike the round white blobs you get at the grocery store. Light and airy as a cloud, these are easier to make than you might think – and they make a great rainy day project. All you need is a stand mixer and a candy thermometer.
I make mine with gelatin, although I’ve made other recipes using egg whites. It sounds kinda crazy, that you can whip up gelatin into a fluffy white mass, but it really does work. Just keep the faith and follow the directions, and you will be amazed by the results.
Make sure you prep your pan in advance, because once the mixture is ready, you need to spread it out quickly. The best way to do this is to use an offset spatula (or other thin metal spatula) that you’ve sprayed with a little cooking oil. Once the marshmallow sits for an hour or two to firm up, you can cut it into whatever shapes you like. I love the ghosts for Halloween, but you can do anything: stars, hearts, or if you want the least amount of scraps, squares.
When using a cutter or a knife, use a bit of the powdered sugar mixture to make sure it doesn’t get overly sticky, which makes it hard to cut.
If you do use a cutter and have a bunch of scraps, don’t throw them away! Just cut them into smaller odd-shaped pieces and pop them into your hot chocolate.
Recipe: Homemade Marshmallow Ghosts
Makes about 2 dozen marshmallows (depending on how you cut them)
- Canola oil spray
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin (1½ tbsp)
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
- Lightly spray a 9-inch square or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with the cooking spray (for thicker marshmallows use the smaller pan, for thinner use a larger pan). In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Using the sifter, dust the baking pan with about half of the mixture, making sure to cover the sides by tilting the pan to coat it evenly. Leave any excess in the bottom of the pan. Set the remaining powdered sugar mixture aside.
- Pour 1/2 cup of cold water into the large bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water, whisk to combine, then set aside to soften for 5 minutes. Add the salt and cream of tartar, fit the mixer with the whip attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer while you boil the sugar syrup.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, stir together ½ cup water, the granulated sugar, and the corn syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the mixture reads 245°F on a candy thermometer (medium firm-ball stage), about 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture in a steady stream, aiming it between the inside of the bowl and the whisk. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip the mixture until it lightens and thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, then beat until the mixing bowl is cool to the touch on the bottom, about 7 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, quickly scrape the marshmallow mixture into the coated pan. Then, using a lightly oiled offset metal spatula, spread the mixture into an even layer. Let stand until a skin forms on the surface, about 1 hour, then dust with some of the reserved powdered sugar mixture. Let sit in a cool place until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
- To cut, dust a sheet pan with some of the remaining sugar mixture. Invert the marshmallow onto the sheet pan. Cut with a small ghost-shaped cookie cutter (or another shape; or you can just cut into squares with a large knife). Toss the cut marshmallows in the bowl with the remaining powdered sugar mixture to coat. (If using the cutter, cut the leftover scraps into smaller pieces for hot chocolate and toss with the powdered sugar mixture to coat.) Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.