Handmade Holidays: Vanilla Marshmallows

If you're like me, a steamy mug of hot chocolate does wonders to get you in the Holiday spirit. I've discovered a surprisingly simple way to take the experience to the next level: homemade vanilla marshmallows.

Candy making is something that I've steered clear of for a while. (There's something about a pot of scalding, liquefied sugar that just scares the bejeebers out of me!) I summoned the courage to face my fear yesterday, since Kevin and I were hosting a little shin-dig at our place for his colleagues and students to celebrate the start of the Holidays and the end of the semester. And, well, special occasions call for special measures!

After reading a few different marshmallow recipes on Martha's site (plus, every single related comment), I came up with the following adaptation -- the results of which were delightfully fluffy and delicious!

  • vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 packages (¼ ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  1. Coat a 9" x 13" pan with cooking spray; line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper with spray, and set pan aside. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, and ¾ cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260˚F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over ¾ cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract; set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture. With mixer running, gradually add gelatin-sugar mixture to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into lined pan; spread with spatula to distribute evenly. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Remove parchment paper and marshmallow from pan. With a sharp knife lightly coated in cooking spray, cut marshmallow into 1" cubes. (Spray knife as needed.) Whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch in a medium sized mixing bowl. With a small amount of sugar-cornstarch mixture in your palm, lightly coat each marshmallow by gently rolling it between your hands.
Makes approximately 50 marshmallows.

{Tip: The key to a good batch of marshmallows (and just about any other candy, really) is getting the sugar to the exact temperature. Invest in a candy thermometer! I picked up mine at Publix for about $6.}

Homemade marshmallows would make a sweet gift when paired with a nice hot chocolate mix. You can get really creative, too, by tinting it with gel food coloring and using shaped cookie cutters instead of a knife.




  1. Wow! Making your own marshmallows seems so intense but delicious!

  2. I made some last year as gifts for friends and it was a big hit! I did a batch of regular and a batch of chocolate. Definitely a special treat - yours look great!

  3. I've been wanting to make my own marsh mellows for awhile, I think I'll start with these :)

  4. Ooh, Melinda! Chocolate ones sound delicious!

    Ali, I'd love to hear how it goes for you. :o)

  5. I'm planning to make homemade marshmallows this week. Yum. I've added it to the M&T Spotlight!


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