I have been on the quest for the perfect homemade marshmallow for months. I’ve always been a sucker for the jet-puffed variety, but when I tried artisan marshmallows from a local store, I was absolutely hooked.
I set about trying to figure out how to make a batch this good at home. I tried the smitten kitchen recipe, hoping it would yield a springy marshmallow without my having to use a stand mixer (I didn’t own one). The results were good, but not great. The marshmallows sweated in the refrigerator, turning the cornstarch and powdered sugar coating crunchy and resulting in a slightly sticky mess. A month or so later, I tried to make a batch of the Baked marshmallows, with powdered gelatin and an electric hand whisk. Failed again, this time too dense, jelly-like, and still watery.
Both of my marshmallow failures were probably due to a lack of equipment. Perhaps a stand mixer would have made my life easier. However, I wanted a recipe that was simple, and that I could make with the equipment I had at home. I was beginning to think I was out of luck, and that marshmallow making should be left to the pros.
Enter the Alton Brown marshmallow recipe. It produced perfect, springy, soft-but-not-sticky marshmallows on the first try. These were marshmallows I could eat every day, for the rest of my life. And while my first attempts at marshmallow-making had been daunting, I had learned the basic steps by now— it was easy. I used my electric hand whisk and stainless steel bowl in place of a stand mixer, and checked my sugar by hand as it cooked down (without a thermometer). I still had excellent results. You will get fluffier marshmallows with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, though, so use one if you have it!
You start by lining a pan with foil, greasing it with vegetable oil, and dusting with a 50/50 mixture of cornstarch and powdered sugar. Alton skips the foil, but I find that it makes things easier. I made a third of the recipe this time, but you’ll want a 9″ x 13″ pan for a full batch.
Bloom your gelatin with a little cold water.
Then pour the rest of your water, some corn syrup, and some sugar into a pan. Bring it to a boil, barely stirring. Bring it to 240 degrees, or to the soft ball stage. Slowly pour it into the gelatin mixture, whisking constantly.
A word of caution: Be very careful when working with hot sugar– it can cause some serious burns. Be sure not to let it splash or splatter when you begin to whisk it into the gelatin.
Immediately after whisking the syrup into the gelatin.
Then continue to whisk. This is after two minutes.
After six minutes.
After eight minutes.
After about ten minutes, ready to add vanilla and scoop into the pan.
The marshmallow will still flow a little, but it won’t melt back into the bowl as quickly– it’ll keep its shape. If you’re working with a full batch of the stuff, expect it to take the full 12-15 minutes of whipping, possibly longer, to reach this stage.
When you coax your marshmallow mixture out of the bowl and into the pan, it will stick. Like crazy. Just scoop out as much as you can and move on. If you spend a lot of time trying to get out every last bit, you’ll end up with your hands coated in sugar and your final product will be covered in thin strands of marshmallow. This was my bowl when I was done.
Dust the top of your marshmallows with the cornstarch mixture. Let rest at room temperature for at least four hours.
Gently peel the marshmallows out of the pan, and rub some of the cornstarch mixture on both sides.
Cut into squares with an oiled knife.
Dust with more cornstarch, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Mix cornstarch and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil and greasing with nonstick spray or vegetable oil. Dust generously with the sugar and cornstarch mixture, shaking the mixture around in the pan until the entire pan is coated. Reserve excess mixture for later use.
- Place the gelatin into the bowl of your stand mixer, with 1/2 cup of water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat, covered, and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, about 7-8 minutes. Once the syrup reaches this temperature, remove from heat immediately.
- Turn your mixer to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added the sugar mixture, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture is very thick and lukewarm, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula to spread evenly. Dust the top with some of the sugar and cornstarch mixture, reserving the extra mixture for later. Allow marshmallows to sit uncovered at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Use the foil lining to gently lift the marshmallows out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Peel off the foil, and dust both sides of the marshmallow with the cornstarch mixture. Cut into one-inch squares using a lightly oiled knife or pizza cutter. Once cut, dust all sides of marshmallows with the remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.