Homemade Marshmallows

Over the past few years I’ve seen lots of things in specialty food stores being called “artisan” products. It’s usually a product made in small batches and something out of the ordinary. Like all the different “artisan” breads — olive loaves, rosemary and garlic loaves, focaccia…things like that. In other words, stuff you’d make at home with your own two hands if you had the time and know-how. They’re lovely products and you can tell they’ve been lovingly produced. The one thing they all have in common, however, is a huge price!

I recently saw a company that was selling “artisan” marshmallows. They were truly beautiful and I’m sure quite tasty, but you’d better be willing to open up your wallet to purchase them. I passed them by because I know just how easy and cheap…that’s right cheap…homemade marshmallows are to make. And they taste so much better and so different than the bags of marshmallows you buy at your regular grocery store.

My recipe for marshmallows comes from the book “Better Than Store-Bought.”

BTSBBook

I love this book so much. It’s copyrighted 1979 and out of print now, but you can occasionally find one on eBay. It has recipes for things you never knew you could, or would want to, make at home. Things like marshmallows. Also, vanilla extract, lollipops, graham crackers, various liqueurs, jams and jellies, corn chips, all kinds of breads, different cheeses, even fresh sausage. And the authors have a wonderfully dry sense of humor. For instance, here’s their introduction to the marshmallow recipe:

“Among the oldest living citizens are some who claim to recall marshmallows that tasted like marshmallows–tender, vanilla-scented pillows that melted in the mouth. If you have an electric mixer, such marshmallows are ridiculously easy to re-create and marvelously cheap.”

He he…”oldest living citizens.” These ladies just crack me up. But I digress.

About now you’re asking yourself why in the world would anybody want to make marshmallows or cheese or fresh sausage when you can go right down to the grocery story and buy all you want. Well, for me there are two reasons. The first being the challenge. I absolutely revel in the fact that I can actually make a marshmallow. The accomplishment itself is a reward. Secondly, I know exactly what is in that marshmallow, or cheese or sausage. I know that there are no preservatives and nothing but pure, wholesome ingredients. Plus making your own is usually much less expensive than purchasing retail, and it’s fun!

Make up a batch of these tender, vanilla-scented marshmallows and then tell me how you like them compared to the rubbery stuff from the grocery store.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (or, preferably, powdered Vanilla Sugar – recipe included in the book)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift the cornstarch and confectioner’s (or powdered vanilla) sugar into a bowl. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and sugar mixture into it. Tilt the pan in all directions to coat the sides as well as the bottom. Leave any excess in the pan.

Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a small saucepan and let it soak for 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and stir over moderately low heat until the gelatin and sugar dissolve.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the gelatin mixture, corn syrup, salt and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes on high speed, until peaks form. You can do this with a handheld mixer as well. I’ve done it. You just have to stand there for 15 minutes holding the mixer :-)

Spread the fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Leave for 2 hours, or until set.

With a wet knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into quarters and loosen it around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture on a baking sheet or parchment paper and invert the marshmallow blocks onto it. Cut each quarter into nine pieces and roll each one in the starch and sugar making sure to coat each cut edge. I use a pizza cutter to make quick work of the cutting.

Place the marshmallows on a cake rack covered with paper towels and let them stand overnight to dry the surface slightly. Store airtight; the marshmallows will keep for a month.

Makes 36 marshmallows.

Homemade Marshmallows
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Tender, vanilla-scented homemade marshmallows. So much better than store-bought!
Serves: 36 marshmallows
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (or, preferably, powdered Vanilla Sugar)
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Sift the cornstarch and confectioner’s (or powdered vanilla) sugar into a bowl. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and sugar mixture into it. Tilt the pan in all directions to coat the sides as well as the bottom. Leave any excess in the pan.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a small saucepan and let soak for 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and stir over moderately low heat until the gelatin and sugar dissolve.
  3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the gelatin mixture, corn syrup, salt and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes on high speed, until peaks form.
  4. Spread the fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Leave for 2 hours, or until set.
  5. With a wet knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into quarters and loosen around the edges.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture on a baking sheet and invert the marshmallow blocks onto it. Cut each quarter into nine pieces and roll each one in the starch and sugar.
  7. Place the marshmallows on a cake rack covered with paper towels and let them stand overnight to dry the surface slightly. Store airtight; the marshmallows will keep for a month.
Notes
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.

–From “Better than Store-Bought,”
by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie

Variations and suggestions: Dip the marshmallows in chocolate to coat and add a pecan on top or roll in toasted coconut. Use different flavorings and food colors – mint flavoring with a few drops of green food color. Peppermint flavor with a few drops of red and then dip in chocolate. Endless possiblities!

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Comments

  1. marcia says

    I just made some today too! It was the first time I had tried them and they turned out great. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe and added crushed candy canes in the last minute of beating. I can’t wait for hot chocolate tomorrow morning!!!

  2. says

    I just made marshmallows with marshmallow root! I have to say I did it because I have always been curious about what they would taste like. They ended up costing a fortune and being difficult to work with (the recipe was vague to say the least) but I was really happy I did it and after they dried out… they were wonderful! Good for all of us that go the extra mile!

    • says

      Wow, Deana. I have to admire your effort at using the marshmallow root! However, I think I’ll stick to this really, really easy recipe using gelatin :-)

  3. Miss P says

    Is this one of those “don’t even think about trying it in high humidity” recipes, like divinity or seven minute frosting? If so, it will be weeks before anyone around here could turn on the mixer!

    Regardless, they look cool.

    Miss P

  4. says

    My Mum and I used to make them when I was young but she would use gelatin. I didn’t even know you should use marshmallow root. I have learned something.

    We used to toast coconut and roll the marshmallows in that and also in icing sugar mixture as well but we preferred the coconut (you can tell we weren’t coffee drinkers then).

  5. says

    agree with you, why buy something when it’s so cheap and easy to make? and the flavor is absolutely different!. well done.

    now, I will try to hunt that book.

  6. Candis says

    Oh these are heavenly and soooo easy to make. My fiance has been talking about gourmet marshmallows for the longest time..so for Christmas Eve I’m surprising him with homemade hot chocolate and luscious homemade marshmallows. I don’t even like the store bought ones but these are incredible. Thanks for this recipe. I’ll be using this over and over!

  7. says

    Your marshmallows look wonderful and your recipe looks so much simpler than most of the ones I have seen out there. I have been meaning to try making homemade marshmallows but haven’t yet. I bought the gelatin but some of the recipes just seem so complicated that I hadn’t quite gotten around to it. I’m definitely gonna try yours. Probably not today, but soon :)

  8. says

    I have this book also, I love it. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes, they look wonderful and we have a lot in common in our cooking style and thoughts about food.

  9. says

    I’m making goody baskets as Christmas presents this year and I can already imagine making up a batch of peppermint marshmallows dipped in white chocolate. Perfect! And so much easier than any other recipe I’ve seen.

    • says

      They are, aren’t they? For Christmas I like to add a few drops of peppermint flavoring and dip half of each marshmallow in chocolate. Yum!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer – They package quite easily. The final step in the recipe of rolling the cut mallows in sugar and cornstarch prevents any stickiness.

  10. says

    i have never, i repeat NEVER liked store-bought marshmallows – dry, chewy, earplug-like texture and taste . . . shudder . . . but i have made my own marshmallows at home and there just isn’t anything like them in the whole world!

  11. Miss P says

    Miss P

    Atlanta Journal Constitution has (on their) web, a blog about making marshmallows while snowed in. I put this on there for you!
    January 11th, 2011
    3:43 pm
    If you want a wonderful recipe for homemade marshmallows, with step by step instructions and photos, check out lanascooking.com.

    Click on recipe index, go to candies. You will love it!

    Miss P

  12. Emily says

    Around Christmas time this past year I made my first batch of homemade marshmallows, and now I’m hooked! Although the rich vanilla flavor from real extract was obviously a huge plus, it was the amazingly fluffy texture that really did it for me. I recently made a batch with coconut extract and tossed them in unsweetened toasted coconut when they were firm – they were ten times better than any store-bought toasted coconut marshmallows!

  13. says

    What is the equivalence to a pack of marshmallows??? Does this recipe equal 16oz or 10oz or how many cups? Thanks for showing me a cheaper alternative saves me $ =)

    • says

      Kristin – Sorry I can’t answer your question. I’ve never weighed these marshmallows. You could make a batch and put them on a kitchen scale to find out.

  14. Eveline says

    Hi,
    Ho much is there in an envelope of unflavored gelatin? I’m from Holland so we probably have different products and therefor different weighing bags… Thanks so much, I’m looking forward to making them!

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