As you well know by now, I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with marshmallows over the past few weeks. But ironically, I’d never made them from scratch. Anytime a recipe calls for a candy thermometer, I’m just like, that’s it—I’m out.
Having to wait until something is at a particular temperature—as well as being sure it’s at THAT exact temperature—in order for the recipe to work…ugh, too much work. And it’s also a patience thing. (I have none.)
So, you can imagine my delight when I realized how easy marshmallows actually are to make. (They are not nearly as temperamental as I thought they’d be.) And once I tasted a homemade marshmallow? Well, there’s just no going back.
For the holiday, I decorated them in red, white, and blue, and arranged them in a flag-y kind of way.
- Cooking spray
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin (vegetarian substitutions)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A candy thermometer
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Red, white, and blue toppers of your choice—strawberries (sliced), raspberries (halved), blueberries (halved), shaved white chocolate (I just used a bar of chocolate and a potato peeler), dried pineapple, coconut flakes, gummy candies (sliced), crushed rock candy, etc.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 of a cup of cold water with the packets of gelatin and allow to sit until gelatin forms, about 15 minutes.
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar and a 1/2 of a cup of cold water and stir until sugar has dissolved—about 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Keep the mixture at a boil until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
- Slowly pour sugar mixture into the bowl with the gelatin, simultaneously using a mixer on low. Gradually increase speed to high and continue whipping until the mix is very thick, about 10 to 15 minutes—imagine the consistency of pourable taffy. NOTE: A stand-up mixer is ideal for this type of recipe, but rest assured, you can do this with an electric hand mixer. I did it—it just requires a little coordination and comfortable shoes.
- Add vanilla to marshmallow mixture, then whip for another 30 seconds or so until it’s completely mixed in.
- Line the inside of a 9×13-inch cake pan with tin foil, then coat with cooking spray.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula. (Spray spatula with cooking spray as needed to keep it from sticking.) Let the marshmallow sit for about 6 hours, uncovered, until completely set.
- Cover a surface larger than the marshmallow slab with powdered sugar and flip the cake pan over so that marshmallow lands on the dusted surface. You have to do it quickly, and it’s going to kick up some “dust,” so just prepare yourself. (It’s all part of the fun, right?)
- Cut marshmallow in whatever shapes you’d like. (It helps to continually coat the knife or cookie cutters with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking.)
- Dust all sides of marshmallow pieces with powdered sugar.
- Prepare toppers if needed (e.g. slice blueberries in half, dice dried pineapple, etc.).
- Prepare a cake pan or plate covered with parchment paper to set chocolate-dipped marshmallows on.
- Over high heat, bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and place a bowl in the saucepan. Be sure the water doesn’t get displaced enough to spill over into the bowl.
- Pour in chocolate chips.
- Stir until completely melted.
- Dip marshmallow into chocolate to cover about a 1/2 inch of marshmallow, then place chocolate side up on plate or cookie sheet.
- Place toppers on each marshmallow.
- Once all marshmallows are finished, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until chocolate has hardened. Store, covered in a cool spot until serving. (If you are topping these with fruit and you’re not serving them right away, store in the refrigerator—I actually prefer them refrigerated because it keeps the chocolate hard.)
TIP: Some brands of chocolate harden faster than other, so if you’re working with a slow-to-harden chocolate and are having a hard time getting your toppers to stick right away, put the chocolate-covered marshmallows in the fridge for a few minutes to get the setting process going, then put the toppers on. That way they’ll stick better. Then refrigerate again until chocolate has hardened.
Also, here are some more marshmallow tips for ya!