Making Marshmallows

My wife and I just finished making a batch of marshmallows more or less following this recipe. This is candy-making which I would characterize as chemistry or even physics. I wouldn’t attempt it without a good, reliable candy thermometer. Expect your stand mixer to get a workout.

We’re waiting now for the marshmallows to season for several hours. I don’t know how they’ll turn out texture-wise but I’m ready to proclaim them delicious.

Based on this experience here’s a combination of what we did differently and what we would do differently:

  • We used two teaspoons of good vanilla extract rather than the one to three tablespoons for which the recipe calls.
  • There is no conceivable way I would do this without lining the pyrex baking dish we used as a form for the batch.
  • I would use a smaller dish than the 9 X 15 inch dish we used.
  • I used parchment to line the dish. While you’re beating the marshmallows, prepare the paper by spraying or painting it with flavorless cooking oil and dusting it with the powdered-sugar cornstarch mixture using a sifter or fine-meshed tea strainer. When you’re ready, place the paper in the dish.
  • Dust the top of the marshmallows, oil another piece of paper, put the paper on top of the marshmallows, and roll the batch into the dish to get an even thickness and smooth surface.

Although it’s probably a good project to do with kids, be aware that the marshmallow “batter” is extremely sticky so this project has the potential to become disastrously messy. Also, after you’ve cooked the syrup, it’s dangerously hot. Handle with care!

4 comments… add one
  • On reflection I think that next time I try this recipe I’ll see if I can cut the marshmallows using dental floss. I used kitchen shears this time and wasn’t really satisfied with the results.

  • I’m quite sure I don’t like marshmallows enough to go through all this hassle! Presumably, these are orders of magnitude better than the variety sold for like $2 a bag by Kraft?

  • Yes, they’re superior both in texture and flavor.

    What I’m competing with aren’t Kraft’s marshmallows but the marshmallows that Whole Foods sells for $6 for 15-20 marshmallows. My wife’s a big fan of those. I can take marshmallows or leave them alone (mostly the latter).

  • Ha. I don’t frequent Whole Foods as often as I used to, mostly for reasons of geography, but I somehow missed their marshmallow offering. The Kraft and similar varieties are mostly useful for setting on fire before consumption.

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