For the last few years at Christmas, I have made homemade marshmallows and given them as gifts to friends and co-workers along with a specialty hot-cocoa mix. This past Christmas my time was taken up by a very hungry one-month-old, and I didn’t get my marshmallow-y fix in for the holidays.
I thought it might make a fun project for Valentine’s Day instead, and so am sharing it here for anyone who might want to do something a little different for this love-ly little holiday.
First, let me say that making marshmallows is one of the easiest and most fun things you’ll ever do in the kitchen. From a child’s perspective, it’s fascinating to watch something as simple as sugar and gelatin become a light, fluffy confectionery delight. From an adult’s perspective, well it’s pretty darn cool, too. And, the clean-up is a breeze – gelatin and sugar dissolve very quickly in hot water.
You do need a candy thermometer for this. And a stand mixer. Without these two kitchen implements, this would be a very daunting task. With them, it becomes a 20-30 minute operation.
Begin by putting 2 1/2 tablespoons of powdered gelatin in the bowl of your stand mixer and pouring 1/2 cup cold water over it.
Let this sit for 20 minutes while you work on your sugar mixture.
Put 1.5 cups of sugar, 1 cup of corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush
Insert your candy thermometer and let cook without stirring, until it reaches the firm ball stage (244 degrees Fahrenheit)
Once it reaches firm ball, remove it from the heat immediately and pour it into the mixer while it is on low speed. Increase the speed to high and let run for 15 minutes.
Turn mixer off, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and mix until incorporated.
Prepare a baking pan – I used a half-sheet pan lined with foil – by generously coating it with powdered sugar.
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan
Right now it looks like a big mess – don’t worry. Wet your hands generously and spread it out flat. Dust the top with more powdered sugar and let sit for an hour or overnight to dry.
When you’re ready, use fun cookie cutter shapes to cut out your marshmallows, or just slice them in squares with a knife.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m doing heart-shaped marshmallows. You can use liquid food-coloring to paint messages on them – similar to the candy hearts we’re all so very familiar with.
Serve them to one you love in a hot cup of cocoa.
2 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatiin
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting.