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Homemade vanilla marshmallow recipe that are so light and fluffy you will never pick up the store bought kind again! And no candy thermometer required!
I’m on my way to Maine this weekend for a “ski-cation” with some friends, and I thought what better than bringing some homemade marshmallows and hot cocoa mix along with me?
And I know, I know the holidays are over, and you might be trying to watch your waistline, but let’s face it- IT IS COLD OUTSIDE! At least here in Boston it is. And warming up to a perfect cup of hot cocoa is total bliss. But no cup of hot cocoa is complete without marshmallows in it, am I right?
And I’m not taking about those weird white little bits in that packets from the store. Seriously, how those things are called marshmallows is beyond me. But homemade vanilla marshmallows that are ready to be sipped on (maybe with one of these 50+ hot cocoa recipes?). Now that’s a different story entirely.
Are homemade marshmallows worth it?
Yes you could go buy a bag of marshmallows from the store. Waste a couple dollars and some gas in the car. You’d be done and ready to sip on some hot cocoa. But I’m telling you homemade marshmallows are 1000 times better in the flavor department.
The texture of these is unreal. Nothing like the bagged variety. I’ve been finding myself popping and snacking on these when no one is looking. And even when someone is looking. Oh what can I say, I haven’t stopped eating them.
My husband said they were so light and fluffy, like biting into a cloud. He couldn’t believe that they were THAT much better than the store-bought. So are homemade marshmallows worth it? Yes, yes yes!!!
- Gelatin – You will need 3 1/4-ounce packages of unflavored gelatin. This is what sets up the marshmallows and can not be omitted. If you’re trying to make vegan marshmallows I would use a recipe that uses agar insteadc, like this vegan marshmallow recipe from Serious Eats, (I haven’t tested it with agar and can’t say what the texture would be like).
- Granulated Sugar
- Corn Syrup – Corn syrup is what will keep your sugar from crystallizing.
- Vanilla – You can use vanilla extract but I’ve also used vanilla bean paste before. You could also use a whole vanilla bean as well.
- Confectioners Sugar
How To Make Homemade Marshmallows
Step 1: Making your gelatin mixture
Before you start go ahead and line your pan with plastic wrap. Then you want to start by dissolving 3 packages of gelatin into a 1/2 cup of cold water for 5 minutes.
Sprinkling your gelatin over the water is an important step called blooming the gelatin. This will ensure that your marshmallows end up with a smooth texture. You want to sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let it bloom for about 5 minutes. The gelatin will soak up the water as sits and solidify. When you add the hot sugar syrup to the gelatin later, it will heat the gelatin and dissolve it.
Step 2: Making your sugar mixture
Meanwhile, you boil 1/4 cup water, 2 cups granulated sugar, and 2/3 cups corn syrup on your stove. You want to bring this mixture to a boil over high heat and let it boil for 1 minute. No need to stir, and no candy thermometer. You just need to let it boil and dissolve the sugar before you add it to the gelatin mixture.
Step 3: Add gelatin mixture slowly
Once the sugar mixture has boiled rapidly for 1 minute, you slowly add it to your gelatin mixture. Add your a bit of salt (1/4 teaspoon) to just to balance out all the sweetness.
You let your stand mixer fitted with your whisk attachment take over and turn it all into marshmallows (about 10-12 minutes). It’s a beautiful thing to watch it turn into basically marshmallow fluff as it’s mixing.
Step 4: Add the vanilla.
Don’t forget to add the vanilla at this point. You can use vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste or a vanilla bean itself. I opted for vanilla extract, but I’ve made them with vanilla bean paste before beautiful specks of vanilla bean throughout. Either way all delicious!
Or you could you also flavor these if you wanted – a little peppermint extract would be delicious!
Step 5: Spreading them in the pan.
You are going to spread your homemade marshmallow mix into a pan that’s been lined with plastic wrap. The plastic warp is a must so that you can get the marshmallows out of the pan later.
Spreading the marshmallows can be a sticky mess. Do yourself a favor, use a spatula sprayed with a little cooking spray to make quick work. You do need to let the marshmallows set up for a couple hours before you can cut them. You want to cover the marshmallows with plastic wrap that’s been also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray so you can take it off later easily.
Step 6: Cutting the marshmallows
Cutting them into
perfect yummy squares. I used a pizza cutter, but a large knife would also work.
Heather’s Baking Tip
Marshmallows can be a sticky business! So when cutting the marshmallows spray your knife with non-stick cooking spray or coat in powdered sugar when trying to cut the marshmallows so your knife doesn’t stick. You may need to do this a few times during the cutting process if you find the marshmallows are sticking again.
Step 7: Coat in cornstarch/sugar
You want to roll each marshmallow in a confectioner sugar/corn starch mixture so your edges don’t stick to you… your hair…your floor (*ahem* ask me how I know!)
Marshmallow Recipe Variations
- Peppermint: Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to the vanilla and make peppermint marshmallows.
- Sprinkles: Stir in some festive sprinkles to the marshmallow fluff.
- Fruity: Make your marshmallows fruity by stirring in some freeze-dried strawberries (or raspberries) that you’ve pulsed into a powder.
- Colored: Add a few drops of food coloring to make a fun swirled marshmallow.
- Shapes: Spray some cookie cutters and cut them into shapes. I would recommend if you’re cutting them into shapes, to spread the mixture into a 9×13 pan to make thinner marshmallows.
You want to store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Do NOT store in the fridge or freezer as it will cause them to harden.
Yes you can use an 8×8 or 9×13 pan but your marshmallows will just have a different thickness is all. For cutting out the marshmallows into fun shapes I would recommend a 9×13 pan so the marshmallows aren’t as thick.
More Recipes To Try
- 3 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold water divided
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (208 g) light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (28 g) confectioners sugar
- 1/3 cup (37 g) cornstarch
- Prepare pan. Lightly spray a 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.
- Bloom gelatin. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 10 minutes.
- Add to gelatin. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.
- Add vanilla. Add vanilla and mix until well combined.
- Spread into pan. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread marshmallow mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.
- Cut marshmallows into squares. Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 1-inch squares using a knife that you have sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or dip in confectioners sugar.
- Coat in sugar/cornstarch. Sift confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat.