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Brown Butter Sage Marshmallows · GF (100)

This is essentially just a variation of my Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, but I rave about this recipe so much I figured it deserved its own page. Because, seriously, these marshmallows are unreasonably delicious and tender (thanks to a serious dose of brown butter). I give simple instructions for browning butter, but if you already have brown butter on hand from another project, I give a measurement for that too.

Use these to make the Ultimate Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving. I do a lot of baking, as you can imagine, and when polled, my family consistently names that casserole as the best thing I have ever made. Take that how you will.

brown butter and sage marshmallows
[photo credit: Ryan Jones]

Be sure to chop the sage into the most tiny pieces you can. If the sage pieces have any length to them whatsoever, they’ll wrap themselves around the whisk attachment, clump together, and essentially remove themselves from the marshmallows in the process. As an alternative, you can grind the sage into the sugar in a food processor. This gives the marshmallows a nice pale green hue and a slightly stronger sage flavor. It’s my favorite method, but not everyone has a food processor, and a knife gets the job done too if you’re willing to take your time.

Brown Butter Sage Marshmallows
1.5 ounces gelatin
8 ounces cold water
3/4 ounce fresh sage, chopped as finely as you can manage
11 ounces corn syrup
8 ounces water
28 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces unsalted butter (or 4 ounces prepared brown butter, melted)

ample powdered sugar for dusting

Unless you have a supercharged motor on your hand mixer, I don’t think it will survive this recipe. Use a stand mixer if at all possible.

Have a lightly greased 9”x13” pan ready.

Combine the gelatin and water together in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Set aside.

In a largish, heavy bottomed pot, combine the sage, corn syrup, water, sugar and salt. Set over medium heat and stir gently, taking care to not splash liquid (and thus sugar crystals) up the sides of the bowl. Once the mixture starts to simmer, stop stirring and let it cook undisturbed until the mixture reaches 240°. Shut off the heat and let it stand until it cools to 210°. This is important; if the syrup has not sufficiently cooled it will prevent the gelatin from setting up properly.

Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter. In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Turn the heat to medium low and cook the melted butter until it simmers, bubbles, stops bubbling, and begins to brown. Once the butter has turned a nice golden brown, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside until needed.

Once the marshmallow mixture has cooled to 210°, pour it into the mixing bowl with the awaiting gelatin. Fit the bowl with the whisk attachment and crank it up to medium speed. Keep whipping until the mixture has more than doubled.

Now drizzle in the browned butter, a tablespoonful at a time. At first, it will resist incorporating and a buttery barrier will form between the marshmallow stuck to the bowl an the marshmallow caught in the whisk attachment. Just keep mixing. It will all come together and incorporate in the end. Once you’ve added all the butter, including any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, crank the speed up to high for a few moments, just to make sure the whole mixture has evenly whipped.

Once you’ve shut off the mixer, scrape the marshmallow goo into the prepared pan. Lift up and smack the pan a few times against the counter to dislodge any air bubbles and help it level out.

Dust the top of the giant marshmallow with some powdered sugar, cover in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

To cut the marshmallows, prepare a cutting board by dusting it generously with powdered sugar. Take your pan of chilled marshmallows and literally reach your fingers between the ‘mallow and the pan, and pull that guy right outta there.

Dust the exposed bottom of the ‘mallow with some more powdered sugar.

Use a chef’s knife to cut the marshmallows into about 13, 1” strips. You’ll have to stop periodically and clean your knife under hot, running water. Always dry your knife thoroughly after this step. Once the strips are cut, roll them about in some powdered sugar so none of the sides are sticky.

Now use the knife to cut each strip at 1” increments. Of course, the marshmallows are probably close to 2” tall, so they won’t be perfect cubes, but rather rectangles.

Toss these cut pieces in more powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking.

Store these guys in an airtight container or a big zippy bag. They’re essentially nothing but sugar, so they have a terrific shelf life. Weeks at room temperature, months in the fridge, indefinitely in the freezer.

These make for a killer, upscale s’more, by the way…

Fork!

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Any questions?

Nov 20, 2011 ·  4:17 AM

wow stella! these marshmallows sound amazing… i bet these would truly make the ultimate sweet potato casserole. i can’t wait to try these out

 · nicole {sweet peony} · sweetpeonyblog.blogspot.com

Nov 20, 2011 ·  4:40 AM

Amazing! I can only imagine how perfect these taste on a sweet potato casserole. Will definitely have to try these!

 · Beth Michelle · bethmichelle.com

Nov 20, 2011 ·  4:49 PM

@nicole, definitely let me know if you do! I can promise a memorable Thanksgiving with these on the table!

@Beth Michelle, keep me posted. I hope everyone’s holiday is a little sweeter this year.

Stella

Nov 20, 2011 ·  6:13 PM

What a genius idea!

 · Jenn · eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com

Nov 20, 2011 · 10:36 PM

These are so gourmet! Thanks for sharing the recipe – I love the savory sweetness going on in there!

 · The Teenage Taste · teenagetaste.com/

Nov 21, 2011 ·  3:30 AM

What a lovely idea! Thanks for sharing! Love your picture!

 · Baker Street · bakerstreet.tv

Nov 21, 2011 ·  8:56 AM

I have been seeing the sweet potato casserole lately but have never had it! Your version sounds so delicious though that I really want to try making it now for thanksgiving

 · Elyse @The Cultural Dish · www.theculturaldish.blogspot.com

Nov 21, 2011 ·  9:37 AM

@Jenn, thanks girlie.

@Teenage Taste, I have a major crush on sage, what can I say?

@Baker Street, thanks. You’ll have to check out Ryan’s site, he’s a really great photographer!

@Elyse, I always liked sweet potato casserole, but plain Kraft marshmallows are just waaaay too sweet. And the flavor’s just, you know, pure sugar. So I started making it with homemade marshmallows about 10 years ago. They were so great, but discovering brown butter sage marshmallows last year proved life changing. It’s the only way to go!

Stella

Nov 21, 2011 ·  1:46 PM

Stella, these are absolutely stunning! What a genius idea with the sage in there. Suddenly wishing we did Thanksgiving here. These certainly sound life changing!

 · Jill @ MadAboutMacarons · MadAboutMacarons.com

Nov 21, 2011 ·  5:07 PM

Fantastic! What an interesting combination, but I’ll bet it tastes just wonderful!

 · Megan @ Pip and Ebby · www.pipandebby.com/

Nov 21, 2011 ·  9:06 PM

These are so cute and unique. I am loving this recipe. Sending the link to a friend who is making a casserole this week. Congrats on top 9!

 · Kim Bee · cravingsofalunatic.blogspot.com/

Nov 21, 2011 · 11:51 PM

Wow – what an interesting combination. I love the idea of sweet foods with a savoury touch. Thanks for sharing the recipe and great photo!

 · bhavani/ameanderingmango · www.ameanderingmango.blogspot.com

Nov 22, 2011 · 12:06 PM

@Jill, thanks dear! You definitely don’t need Thanksgiving to make these, just some sweet potatoes and sage.

@Megan, they’re pretty darned tasty, I can’t be modest.

@Kim, oh you’ll have to let me know if your friend makes ‘em!!

@bhavani, I’d like to think of this as a savory food with a sweet touch. Down South, marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole is a Thanksgiving staple, part of the meal, not dessert. Eating it with the other foods lends a nice sweet note, maybe along the lines of a sweet chutney with a meal? Only, obviously, not a chutney at all.

Stella

Dec 30, 2011 · 11:22 PM

I have never thought of making homemade marshmallows but this is really fascinating. I would like to know how is the taste? I must make this to find out.
おいしそう!!!

 · Kemi · www.nipponnin.com

Dec 31, 2011 ·  3:21 PM

@Kemi, I think you would really enjoy them! The butter gives them a subtle richness that is, without a doubt, おいしそう. ^^

Stella

Aug 26, 2012 · 10:58 PM

Hey Stella, I’ve got a somewhat unusual question for you. I’m doing a cake this weekend for a bride who requested mint chocolate chip. I’ve got my chocolate chip cake recipe, and now I’m musing on the mint part. I hate the harsh, chemical taste of mint extract, and I’d love to do it with fresh mint somehow. Then I remembered your sage brown butter marshmallows (side note: OMG) and how well the technique of grinding up the sage leaves with the sugar worked. The flavor was brilliant—just fresh and herbal and sage-y…and now I’m pondering doing the same with mint leaves for this cake. Thoughts? What I’m really stumped on is how much. I haven’t a clue, it would be a complete shot in the dark. Care to have a guess at about how many ounces of fresh mint would be enough to flavor, say, an 8” round cake (just as a base example measurement)? Any input you might have would be greatly appreciated! Cheers!

 · Psyche1226 · 

Aug 28, 2012 ·  8:35 AM

Hmm, Psyche, that’s a tough call. I’d say to start with 4 ounces of peppermint. The technique will probably work just fine, but the trouble with fresh mint and cakes is that there are a lot of other flavors (eggs, butter, flour) that will compete with the delicate flavor and then what flavor’s left may degrade during baking. The other trouble is, unless you have access to wintergreen, chocolate mint, or peppermint, you’ve probably got spearmint, which delivers a very different mint flavor compared to what comes in mint chip. Which may be delicious, but not quite what the bride’s expecting. It may just be a quality control issue, because a good peppermint oil shouldn’t have any artificial flavors in it. I hope that helps a little!

Stella

Aug 28, 2012 ·  9:20 AM

Hmmm, some very good points. Thanks for getting back to me! Re: flavor degrading while baking: would you think it a safe bet, then, whichever method I end up using, to make sure the batter tastes slightly more minty than I would want it after baking? Also, just to clarify, did you mean 4 ounces of mint for an 8” round layer cake or just a single 8” layer? (I had intended the latter, sorry for being vague.)

 · Psyche1226 · 

Sep 25, 2012 ·  8:02 PM

Hi,

This looks beautiful! Great job. Is there anything apart from a sweet potato casserole that I can use this with?

 · namij · 

Sep 26, 2012 · 10:11 AM

Hi Namij! These marshmallows make a great snack all on their own, or a fun variation for s’mores (especially with white chocolate, which lets the sage flavor shine through). At work, I like to toast ‘em and serve them with a sweet potato panna cotta. I think once you try one, a lot of ideas will come to you.

Stella

Nov 13, 2012 · 12:16 AM

Hi, Stella!

I’ve just recently discovered you wonderful site and I am having so much fun with your recipes!

I would like to make the sweet potato cassorole recipe for thanksgiving this year, so I had my first go at the marshmallow and they didn’t turn out quite right. They were a lot more like a very think jelly than a marshmallow. Definitely not light and fluffy and it didn’t seem to get any taller, creating the ability to become rectangular. The flavor is great,however! Any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong?

Thanks!

 · Erizzle · 

Nov 13, 2012 ·  9:06 AM

Hi Erizzle! Oh no! How frustrating. It sounds like an issue with your thermometer. You can do a quick test by bringing a pot of water to a boil and seeing what temperature it registers (should be 212). Sometimes thermometers get out of whack and would definitely explain your problem. I just threw away a thermometer at work last week, which was 40 degrees off, so it definitely happens!

The other issue would be if you got in a rush and didn’t cool the syrup down to 210 before adding it to the gelatin. Or, even if you did cool it, if your thermometer’s gone to crazy town it might have been hotter than the temp on the dial, which would have killed the gelatin (which also helps the syrup whip).

Lastl idea: did you use a scale or convert the recipe to volume?

Stella

Nov 20, 2012 ·  1:22 AM

does it matter what you grease the pan with?

 · kay · 

Nov 20, 2012 ·  8:54 AM

Hi Kay! A little bit. Use pan spray or a liquid oil; things like butter or coconut oil solidify in the fridge and make it harder to remove the marshmallows.

Stella

Feb 13, 2013 ·  8:45 PM

Hey Stella- if using sheet gelatin, silver grade, would it still be 1.5 ounces?

 · Chelsea · 

Feb 13, 2013 · 10:29 PM

Hi Chelsea! Yeah, same amount. Just don’t pour off the water after blooming- the marshmallows need that liquid to whip up properly. Lately I’ve actually been reducing the gelatin down to 1.25 ounces, to make them a touch more tender.

Stella

Jun 27, 2013 · 12:12 PM

These tasted totally… well… sexilicious. I left out the sage (didn’t have any), but the brown butter made these taste like caramely bliss!

However, I had the same issue as a previous person with the texture being too dense. My family spit them all out … don’t worry I did the dirty work and ate them all. I made killer s’mores Back to the point… I THINK the problem may have been that the quantity in this recipe may be too large for some home mixers. I have a standard KitchenAid mixer… but I’ve had issues whipping air into things before, like meringue, when making large batches of buttercream or whatever the case may be. So, next time I am going to make a half batch of these and see if I can get better results. I used weight, and used a thermometer that is on queue. I’ll have to remember to come back and let you know how my half batch experience goes!

 · Kenny · 

Jul 02, 2013 ·  6:44 AM

Hi Kenny! I can definitely say the brown butter variation is more dense than the plain vanilla marshmallows, but not strangely so. I use a standard Kitchen Aid too, hmmm. Just as a double check: was the thermometer tip fully submerged in the syrup as it cooled? I’m wondering if it somehow cooled a little too much, which can result in a denser mixture. If you do try a half batch, I’ll be curious to hear if that improved things for you!

Stella

Nov 25, 2013 ·  1:38 AM

Hi all, I just made these — my first ever marshmallows. They turned out beautifully. Thanks for making me look like a chef again Stella!
I had a thought for the folks whose results were too dense. By chance, did you measure fluid ounces for the corn syrup, instead of weighed ounces? I happened to weigh my Karo in a cup measure and I noticed that the weighed ounces were about a 1/3 less volume than if I had interpreted the ingredients in fluid ounces. Stella has written about this issue here: http://bravetart.com/blog/OuncesVersusFluidOunces

For what it’s worth, I made Stella’s smaller batch as posted at SeriousEats but the proportions of the ingredients are similar. Hope this helps someone – the recipe is worth it!

 · ballardelle · 

Nov 25, 2013 ·  1:44 PM

Hi ballardelle! You make an excellent point, as measuring with fluid ounces would definitely throw things out of whack. So happy you didn’t experience any troubles though, and that you’ve jumped into Marshmallow World! This recipe is a personal favorite, so happy you enjoyed it. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!!

Stella

Nov 29, 2013 ·  3:48 PM

So I’ve just put batch number two into the fridge to firm up. Yeah, they were a hit! I’m wondering if you think it would be possible to make a buttered rum version using the same process with the alcohol as you use in champagne marshmallows, subbing rum of course, and then finish with the brown butter as is done here? Am I being too optimistic?

 · Mary Olson · 

Nov 29, 2013 ·  7:09 PM

Hi Mary! You could definitely do a buttered rum version. Add the butter as done in this recipe, but instead of water, bloom the gelatin in an equal weight of your favorite rum. I think that would work just as well, without any sort of reduction process…

Stella



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