If you've never tried homemade marshmallows, you're in for a treat! If you have tasted homemade marshmallows, you already know why they're worth the effort: They're light, airy, fluffy, and rife with fresh vanilla flavor that most store-bought marshmallows simply cannot match.
With our step-by-step directions, handcrafted, homemade marshmallows can become a specialty of your house -- an exquisite food gift your friends and family will remember long after they've savored the treats. But be sure to keep some for yourself: Homemade marshmallows are simply divine in a cup of hot chocolate in winter or tucked into s'mores to enjoy around the campfire in summer.
What Are Marshmallows?
Originally, marshmallows were sweet treats made from the root of a marshmallow plant. However, the confections now are generally made from corn syrup, gelatin, egg whites, sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla. Commercial products may also include thickeners and stabilizers -- ingredients you won't need in fresh, homemade versions.
Equipment for Making Homemade Marshmallows
You likely already have most of the items you need for making marshmallows. The only specialty item required is a candy thermometer -- it's the most accurate way to ensure that your candy mixture has reached the temperature specified.
Tip: If you're purchasing a new candy thermometer, choose one that is easy to read and that clips to the side of the pan.
Here are the items you'll need:
Tip: Be sure to use this exact size of saucepan. If your pan is too large, the candy mixture can spread too thin in the pan; if the pan is too small, the candy mixture can boil over and cause dangerous spills.
How to Make Homemade Marshmallows
1. Gather the Ingredients
Tip: Be sure to use a product that is only egg whites -- no yolks. We do not recommend
using fresh egg whites, because in this recipe, they will not reach a high enough temperature (160 degrees F) to ensure food safety.
2. Prepare the Pan
3. Soften the Gelatin
4. Prepare the Candy Mixture
Tip: Because the actual temperatures of the heat settings among stovetop models may vary, adjust the temperature as necessary. The mixture should cook at a moderate, steady rate (bubbles should form over the entire surface of the mixture).
5. Beat the Egg Whites
6. Combine the Gelatin Mixture and Egg Whites
7. Cut the Marshmallows
Tip: If the knife sticks, sprinkle it with the powdered sugar mixture.
8. Coat the Marshmallows
Storing Homemade Marshmallows
Store marshmallows between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.
Variations on Homemade Marshmallows
Orange Cream Marshmallows
Prepare as directed, except stir 1 envelope unsweetened orange-flavor soft drink mix into egg whites with the vanilla.