Vanilla Bean Marshmallows · GF (100 marshmallows)
Nothing completes a mug of Hot Cocoa or luxurious Hot Chocolate quite like a homemade marshmallow. Unfortunately, the average hand mixer isn’t up to the task. The thick, gooey mixture is likely to burn out your motor, while the narrow wire whisks can’t whip in as much air. If you don’t have a stand mixer, think about teaming up with a friend who does— this recipe will yield enough for you both!
Vanilla Marshmallows, about 100 small pieces
1.5 ounces gelatin
8 ounces cold water (or coffee, mmmmm, coffee marshmallows…)
11 ounces corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup
8 ounces water
28 ounces sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved for another use
ample powdered sugar for dusting
Before getting started, lightly grease a 9”x13” with pan spray.
Combine the gelatin and cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer bowl, stirring with a fork to prevent the gelatin from clumping. Set aside.
In a large, stainless steel pot, combine the syrup, second round of water, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean scrapings. Set over medium heat and stir gently with a fork until the mixture begins to bubble.
Warning: if you use honey, the smell will be awful. Barnyard and hay and all kinds of musty awful. The end result will taste awesome, but getting there will fill you with doubt. Hold the course. It’ll get better.
Attach a digital or candy thermometer to the pot. Keep cooking, undisturbed, until the mixture reaches 240°. Shut off the heat and let the syrup cool to 210°. This is important!
Once the mixture has cooled, and taking a goodly amount of caution as the syrup is super hot, pour it over the gelatin in the mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment to mix the two together on low speed until the gelatin dissolves, then crank it up to medium-high.
Whip until the mixture is super light and fluffy. Shut off the mixer and set the whisk attachment aside, it’s too much of a mess to fuss with (or, if you really want to see a mess, give the whisk to a small child). Use a flexible spatula to scrape the marshmallow goo into the prepared pan.
Spread it into an even layer with the spatula, then smack the pan a few times against the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Sift some powdered sugar over the top of the giant marshmallow, cover with plastic and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Rejoice! You’ve done all the hard work, now for the best part!!!
Get a cutting board ready by dusting it 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.
You’re now holding one giant marshmallow pillow. OMG, right?
Dust the exposed bottom of the ‘mallow with some more powdered sugar. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to resist the urge to sleep on it. It feels like a Tempurpedic pillow. It is soft and ever so squishy and silky smooth. Have I mentioned this is my favorite???
Use a large chef’s knife to cut the marshmallows into 13, 1” strips. You’ll have to stop periodically and clean your knife, as goo will build up along the way. Once you’ve cut the strips, roll them about in 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 close to 2” tall, so they won’t be perfect cubes, but rectangles.
Toss these pieces in more powdered sugar to prevent sticking, and store in an airtight container or a big zippy bag. They’re essentially nothing but sugar, so they have a terrific shelf life. Weeks. Months even, if you refrigerate them. A year in the freezer.
Peppermint Marshmallows: follow the basic recipe, adding 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil just before you finish mixing the fluff, and adjust to taste. Add a few drops of red food coloring or gel paste; whip to give the fluff a uniform color, or fold gently for a marbled effect.
Smoked Vanilla Bean Marshmallows: follow the basic recipe, adding a few drops of liquid smoke with the vanilla. It’s a fine line between “Aww, it’s like a campfire!” and “$%*&, it’s like a campfire!” So easy does it.
Coconut Almond: this version isn’t as fluffy, but more than makes up for it with its creamy texture and mellow flavor. Replace all the water throughout the recipe with unsweetened coconut milk, but otherwise follow the recipe as written. Before the fluff finishes whipping, add a 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract.
Nov 05, 2010 · 3:11 PM
Awesome, what are you planning?
If your beans are especially moist and wonderful, your job is all the easier; just soak them in water for an hour. For super dry beans, you’ll need to soak them overnight in water. I take the beans, split them, but not all the way, so that they’re still intact as one piece. I just want the smoke to penetrate inside.
I don’t have good instructions on setting up the grill itself, my husband always does that part. When he’s done grilling whatever, and the heat has died down, but it’s still putting off lots of smoke, and quite warm, I put a cookie rack on the grill (to keep the v beans from falling in) and then set the beans on it, away from the heat source.
Then I spritz them with water from a spray bottle, and pop the lid on the grill. Every few minutes or so, I take off the lid, and spray them down with water. This keeps them from getting dried out. I’ve found 12 minutes imparts a sufficiently smokey flavor into the bean.
After, I soak the beans in whatever liquid I’m using for my recipe- in this case the water for the marshmallows (which is also the water I pre-soak them in at the beginning). Then, I scrape all the seeds out after the beans have softened back up.
I definitely have not perfected this technique, but just sort of discovered it playing around with the dying grill fire and smoke.
Let me know what you end up making!
Nov 06, 2010 · 6:09 PM
Sounds awesome! If it does turn out to be too much trouble, the liquid smoke does an incredible job, when used judiciously. Though it does feel like cheating…
Nov 27, 2010 · 3:49 AM
Stella, I have a question about the savory marshmallows. Do you still use powdered sugar to coat the outsides once you cut them? Could I use cornstarch instead?
· The Salty Girl · www.thesaltygirl.blogspot.com
Nov 27, 2010 · 10:48 AM
Salty Girl, I just used powdered sugar. There’s so much sugar in the recipe already, that a little extra powdered sugar to coat doesn’t do much one way or the other. They have enough of a sweet/savory flavor that it works, but if you’re really wanting to amp up the savory quality, corn starch would be totally fine!
May 23, 2011 · 9:28 PM
These sound fabulous! I’m camping this weekend and might make these before I leave! One question though…I’ve made marshmallows quite a few times but I always seem to have the problem that they won’t stay fluffy – they get sticky no matter how much corn starch/powdered sugar I use. Any suggestions would be fantastic!
· Rebecca · secretmarmalade.com
May 23, 2011 · 9:37 PM
Rebecca, without knowing your recipe, it’s hard to say, but my first guess would be that perhaps your candy thermometer isn’t calibrated correctly. If the mixture isn’t cooked to the proper temperature, the marshmallows won’t set up correctly. You can find out by putting your thermometer into a pot of vigorously boiling water and making sure it registers 212° F. Also, if you’re using a mercury based thermometer, make sure to crouch down to check the temperature at eye level, otherwise you can misread the temp.
Lastly, make sure the hot sugar mixture cools to 210° before adding it to the gelatin, this damages the strength of the gelatin and creates a poor set. Hope one of those tidbits helps! Happy camping!
May 24, 2011 · 12:25 AM
Ah! Stella, the temperature must be the issue. The latest recipe I used was this one (http://www.couldntbeparve.com/2011/05/raspberry-lemonade-marshmallows-for-a-great-cause/) and it says to cook it to 240, then remove from heat, then add the gelatin. Thank you!
· Rebecca · secretmarmalade.com
May 24, 2011 · 10:39 AM
Awesome! So glad to have found the problem. Your marshmallows should turn out splendidly now. Yay!
Oct 28, 2011 · 2:55 AM
@SharpHouse, in spite of the wide sugar variation, I’ve used super dark grades at work and the more generic types you buy at the grocery and both work well in terms of texture. Of course for maximum flavor, the darker the better. Taste the mixture before it’s finished whipping and you can adjust the salt, if need be.
Nov 14, 2011 · 4:55 PM
@yramirez, I love the vanilla flavor in with the sweet potatoes, but feel free to leave it out if you’d like a less “dessert-y” flavor profile. Cheers!
Nov 27, 2011 · 9:00 PM
Stella- I tried a batch of these for Thanksgiving but used maple syrup and sifted maple sugar. The syrup has a lower boiling point than honey and corn syrup, and I couldn’t get the mix to reach 240 without risking scorching. The resulting marshmallows are behaving normally, except they are emitting an almost maple-syrup-like fluid as they age. Apart from dusting them with cornstarch daily, do you have any hints that could be implemented during the cooking process to keep this from happening? More gelatin, longer cooking time, etc.?
Much love and thanks for the inspiration!!
Nov 27, 2011 · 10:43 PM
@Amanda, I am not certain there’s anything you can do when the sugar hasn’t cooked long enough to reach somewhere between the soft and firm ball stages. I assume it has to do with there being excess unbound liquid and the sugar lacking the structure to hold in place. I’m curious about the scorching though. Using maple syrup should take l longer, but it should still be able to reach 240 without anything burning. It may emit some funky smells (as honey does) as certain compounds are cooked off, but it shouldn’t scorch. Did you use a heavy bottomed pot?
As far as how to salvage the ones you have, I’d store ‘em in a tupperware and roll will it. Let them leak as much as they like and, just prior to serving, coat ‘em in powdered sugar/cornstarch ala minute. They’ll just keep soaking through time and again, if you do it earlier, and then you’ll start to develop some funky build up.
I’ll make a batch of maple mallows tomorrow at work (I haven’t made any in a while myself) and see how they turn out or if I note any particular things to take notice of during the process.
Feb 05, 2012 · 8:36 PM
This is a little late, sorry….
Hi there! Do you think one could crumble the gram cracker and role the cut-and-still-sticky marshmallow-y goodness around in the gram crumb before drizzling chocolate on top? I love the idea of these and I’d love to send to some foreign friends who’ve never had s’more-deliciousness. I’d like to make it an easily ship-able item and was thinking this could be a good way to get all the flavors in a one-stop marshmallow.
Whadda you think?
Feb 05, 2012 · 8:43 PM
@c8h10n4o2junkie, that sounds like a fabulous idea, I love it! You know, instead of drizzling the graham-coated marshmallows in chocolate, you might even stir chopped up chocolate bars or chocolate chips into the marshmallow mix before pouring it into the pan for a truly “all-in-one.” I love your idea, you’ll have to snap a quick pic on your phone to show me how they turn out!
Feb 27, 2012 · 7:33 AM
I have been making lemon and lavender marshmallows and want to make smoked ones. However, everything I do is in metric and leaf gelatin so it is a bit more of a challenge to convert. I dont cover the sugar pot by the way but I do use a copper pot. The real key, as with, Italian meringue, is to make certain the sugar syrup hit neither the beater nor your hands, or it is a disaster and a messy clean up for naught.
· Heide · wildflourand
Feb 27, 2012 · 10:08 PM
@Heide, hot sugar and beaters definitely don’t mix! That’s what I like about this recipe, everything is poured in all at once, so no risk of beaters-in-motion. I use leaf gelatin too.
Mar 12, 2012 · 7:52 PM
Hi Stella, I have a question about using your strawberry reduction (which is wonderful, by the way) to make strawberry marshmallows. I’ve had difficulties cooking the sugar-strawberry mixture to the proper temperature without the fruit burning on the bottom of the pan, or at the very least turning a rather ugly shade of brown by the time its hot enough. I’ve tried it with your puree and with a super-basic one I made up myself, and had the same problem both times no matter how much I stir the syrup to keep the fruit solids from settling on the bottom. Any tips on avoiding burnage?
Mar 13, 2012 · 8:42 PM
@Erica, sorry to hear that you’ve having trouble with it! My first thought is that the pot you’re cooking in isn’t heavy enough. Do you have one with a solid, heavy bottom? Next, it may be that the heat is too high, which scorches the mixture as it cooks too fast. Does any of that jive with your experience?
When I make the strawberry marshmallows, they do take on a barely burned sort of smell (the unique smell of fruit sugars caramelizing), but no funky color and no scorched bits on the bottom of the pan. By the time the sugar mixture is added to the berry-gelatin mixture, none of the off-smell remains; they whip up into super-fruity mallows with a pretty pink color. Let me know what you think; I hope we can get to the bottom of your trouble!
Mar 14, 2012 · 7:17 PM
@StUbB135, oh goodness. I hadn’t even thought of that. I’ll double check at work tomorrow, but I’m 99% sure I’m using silver. So confusing!
May 09, 2012 · 9:40 AM
This is a wonderful post! I just had a quick question as I’ve never tried any kind of marshmallow before. Is a 3 qt saucepan large enough for making the basic vanilla bean marshmallows on the stovetop? I wouldn’t want that stuff to come out the pan
· Mel · goldentweety.blogspot.com
May 09, 2012 · 10:10 AM
@Mel, you know, I’ll have to go back and edit the recipe. I am not sure why I felt the need to say “largeish” when a medium pot would work well too. A 3qt pot would work perfectly. The pan doesn’t really need to be large at all. The mixture doesn’t bubble up very much, it doesn’t get big and fluffy until it’s whipped. Good luck!
Sep 26, 2012 · 1:11 PM
Hi Stella, I have made this recipe and LOVE it. We use it to make homemade smores (with homemade graham crackers of course) or jazz up some hot chocolate, but I have a friend who is vegan. Would substituting vegan gelatin “kill” the recipe. I didn’t know if the heat would mess it up or if it would act significantly different. I bake other things vegan but have never used vegan gelatin. The vegan marshmallow recipes I have looked at seem much more complicated than your recipe. Plus I am comfortable with this one Any advice would be appreciated!
Sep 26, 2012 · 7:35 PM
Hi Becky! I’m actually about to start veganizing this recipe (in preparation for my forthcoming book… , and while I haven’t done it yet, I thought I’d just tell you where I’m going to start.
Make the marshmallow syrup as instructed and while it’s cooking, combine 1/3 ounce agar with 8 ounces of water in a small pot and let it stand for about 10 minutes. While the sugar syrup is cooling from 240 down to 210, bring the agar/water mixture to a simmer. Check the package for specific instructions; I think it’s only 5 minutes for granulated, but longer for flakes. When the syrup has cooled to 210, combine it with the agar/water mixture in a bowl and whip as usual. When I’ve made agar-product before, I’ve noticed they set very fast so once the mallow whips, you’ll need to transfer it to the pan pretty quickly.
Like I said, I haven’t tried this out myself, but this is my game plan for when I do test drive it! I’m actually planning to make this on Monday, so depending on your rush you could wait and see how it turns out for me.
Oct 01, 2012 · 2:38 PM
hi Stella, i love love love these marshmallows and would like to try making some chocolate ones next. would stirring in chopped chocolate be the best way to go about doing that or would cocoa powder be better? there seems to be equal numbers of recipes recommending both techniques but all of the reviews are mixed…and i know these turn out so very well without my meddling. thank you!
Oct 01, 2012 · 5:28 PM
Hi Megan! You can whip in melted chocolate during the final stage of mixing (use as dark a percentage as you can find since there is so much sugar in the mix already), but how much is probably a matter of personal preference. Try starting at 8 ounces and adding more if you think it needs it the next time. Use cocoa powder for dusting the marshmallows to give it an extra hit of chocolate! Chocolate marshmallows often turn out a little denser than vanilla, so be prepared for a slight change in texture. Hope that helps!
Oct 04, 2012 · 10:00 AM
Hi Becky! Ahhhhh!! No, I haven’t gotten to them. We had a little debacle over the weekend and I’ve been playing catch up, haven’t had a chance to actually play. Not to seem filled with empty promises, but I really will be making them next week hell or high water. I’ve got to find out!!
Oct 30, 2012 · 5:00 PM
Stella, do you have any thoughts on marshmallow recipes that use egg whites? It seems to be a bit of a divisive issue in the marshmallow recipe world, but no one seems to say why or why not using egg whites would be superior or inferior, I noticed your recipes don’t make use of them, do they alter the texture? taste? Any ideas? Thanks!
Oct 31, 2012 · 9:49 AM
Hi Marissa! In culinary school we learned to make marshmallows with a meringue folded in, which supposedly makes them more light and thus tender. I left the meringue out for a batch for a friend with an egg allergy some 8 years ago and was shocked to find the difference between the two batches was negligible. I think making a meringue is a decent amount of added work, but the results are totally imperceptible in a side by side comparison.
Adding meringue shortens the shelf life of the marshmallow, adds an allergen and otherwise just complicates the recipe, so I said to heck with it. I scaled the gelatin down a bit, from the strength it was with the meringue, since it no longer has to bind the moisture released from the whites.
The oldest known American marshmallow recipes don’t contain any egg whites, so there’s not any historical reason to use ‘em either. I think that’s just how some people were taught and then they’ve never tried anything else.
Nov 04, 2012 · 1:00 AM
I just made my first batch of marshmallows today. What sticky fun! Only hitch was they stuck to the pan pretty badly, so i had to really coax the ‘pillow’ out. One side of the mallows are pretty bumpy as a result. No biggie, but maybe I need more grease next time? I used coconut oil. Think veg shortening would be better?
I also made some homemade grahams to make City Slicker S’mores and I don’t think my friends have ever been more impressed. Your suggestion melting the dark chocolate on the grahams ahead of time was an awesome tip! Perfect choco/mallow ratio. We had fun toasting the mallows on chopsticks over tea candles. It was a perfect activity to pair with watching a scary movie.
Thanks as always!
Nov 04, 2012 · 10:57 AM
Hi Katie! Hmmm, I’m gonna blame the coconut oil. Coconut is a solid at room temperature, and rock hard when cold, so I’m going to guess it had the opposite effect of “greasing” the pan and solidified in the fridge, binding itself to the marshmallows and pan. Next time just use a liquid oil or pan spray and you should be fine. Butter causes a little of the same problem because it too is solid when cold. So happy you liked the dark chocolate version (and grahams), yay!
Nov 07, 2012 · 9:28 AM
To finally answer Becky’s question about agar from a while back, so far I have not successfully veganized this recipe. It keeps turning into a pile of goo.
Dec 03, 2012 · 10:40 PM
hi stella! i just made these, and we’ll see how they fared when I cut them tomorrow they looked good in the pan!
A (maybe?) helpful note for reference/other readers: my hand mixer (cuisinart 5 speed) survived and did okay !
thanks for the recipe!
· megan · whyisfoodsogood.blogspot.com
Dec 04, 2012 · 12:57 PM
oh! also! i was wondering…could you tell me why you don’t use egg whites in this recipe (like david lebovitz’s recipe, for instance)? What role do/did the egg whites play? did you modify something to account for no egg whites? thanks!
· megan · whyisfoodsogood.blogspot.com
Dec 05, 2012 · 9:43 AM
Hi Megan! Yaaaay! I’m so happy your handmixer survived, that’s awesome.
As far as egg whites go, I don’t like to use them because for all the extra work is is to make a meringue and fold it in, the result is not all that much fluffier or more tender. The meringue dramatically shortens the shelf life of the marshmallows, too, which is a real bummer. I like simplifying whenever i can, and losing the meringue seemed to fit that philosophy. By using a little less gelatin, the marshmallows wind up just as tender.
Dec 09, 2012 · 9:06 PM
oooh. that makes sense. thanks for the clarification! yes, and i definitely like that the shelf life of these is sooo long! I made your hot cocoa mix and put some of these said marshmallows in a bag..for a christmas gift exchange! will be moving onto graham crackers next (smores) thanks again for your recipes!
· megan · whyisfoodsogood.blogspot.com
Dec 11, 2012 · 6:21 PM
Hi Megan! Oh yeah! Someone at your Christmas exchange is gonna be sooo happy. Hope you wind up with something good too.
Feb 13, 2013 · 6:02 PM
Stella, Many thanks for guiding me through marshmallow 101. Hope you like the results – http://motherwouldknow.com/journal/marshmallows-for-valentines-day.html. PS – So far, tasting the scraps I don’t taste much of the espresso (used 1 tablespoon of powder) – would you have used more?
· MotherWouldKnow · motherwouldknow.com
Feb 13, 2013 · 10:40 PM
Hi Laura! I’d start out replacing all of the water in the recipe with coffee (iced down for the gelatin) so at least all the liquid is working for you. Espresso powders can differ dramatically from brand to brand, but I check the package to see how much powder is used per servings (ie, finished cup of coffee) and then figuring out how many “servings” are in the recipe (ie, dividing the total weight by however many ounces are in the “serving” .
That’ll give you at least a minimum amount to start with, since of course it will be greatly tamed by the sugar involved. You can also try flavoring the powdered sugar by grinding it in a food processor with some of the espresso powder, so the flavor comes through from the very first bite. Hope that helps!
Mar 31, 2013 · 4:40 AM
I made a batch of these with the raspberry reduction, and just want to check that I did this right – the syrup gets made with the reduction rather than water?? I found it made it a little “jammy” in flavour, even though I used much less to make the syrup, and added a bit of extra reduction (ok, that was kind of by accident, as I added gelatine to the full quantity of reduction to begin with, then just used what was left to make the syrup).
I also found that they got a bit sticky over the course of the day. Other recipes I’ve tried have talked about beating until the mixing bowl is completely cool – but I’m worried about frying my KitchenAid motor, so I just let it whip right up and the bulk of the batter come away from the side of the bowl – do you think this is my mistake?
Out of interest, I used another chef’s coating recipe to make raspberry sherbert marshmallows (ratio of 4 parts icing sugar: 3 parts cornflour: 2 parts citric acid. The idea sounded fun, but my entire family killed off their tastebuds today – wayyy too much citric acid!)
Thanks so much!!
Apr 01, 2013 · 9:34 AM
Hi araikwao! That’s right, the reduction replaces all of the water, as well as all of the corn syrup. So just to be clear, you did also omit the corn syrup and reduce the sugar? And how much reduction, total, did you use? If I’m understanding you correctly, it seems you didn’t use the full amount of reduction to make the syrup, but instead put in more with the gelatin? This might be where a problem with stickiness came in, as during the cooking, the reduction is even further reduced (lowering the overall moisture content of the marshmallows).
I don’t think the whipping is the problem, though. Once the marshmallows achieve their full volume, the mission is accomplished. But, if you stopped mixing before the achieved full volume, you could run into problems (marshmallows that are too dense, etc).
Apr 02, 2013 · 6:18 AM
Thanks for your reply! Yes, I did omit the corn syrup and reduce the sugar. I measured the total amount of reduction needed and added the gelatin to that (oops) before going back to the original recipe and realising it was supposed to be divided. So I had ??a couple oz of reduction left over that I made the syrup with. I noted that you could add quite a bit of extra reduction during whipping so thought my mistake wouldn’t lead to an excessive amount of liquid. I could, of course, be completely wrong! Thanks so much for the advice.
Apr 02, 2013 · 8:52 AM
Hi araikwao! I think what’s happening here is that because it was paired with the gelatin and uncooked, reduction simply didn’t have a chance to reduce further, and the sugars within it didn’t have a chance to cook to the soft-ball stage, which would effect the texture (and perhaps cause excessive dampness).
Apr 08, 2013 · 10:48 PM
Apr 19, 2013 · 7:02 PM
Hi precariousdancer! Ahh, apologies for the delayed response, it’s 250 bloom.
Apr 23, 2013 · 3:03 PM
Hi Stella. I would love to make lavender and honey marshmallows and was going to replace the corn syrup with the honey as per your suggestion. But to flavour it with lavender, would you suggest dried flowers (I have some culinary lavender at hand) or a natural extract? And if I use flowers, should I pulverize them first? I don’t want people gagging on dried flower bits. Thanks!
Apr 23, 2013 · 9:12 PM
Hi Stef! I’ve never actually used lavender essence, only dried buds. I’d take a few tablespoons and grind them with the sugar in a food processor, then sift. Discard whatever bits don’t go through the sieve, and that will protect you from the soapy taste. Then make the recipe as written, using your newly formed lavender sugar.
Apr 28, 2013 · 8:11 PM
I mixed 1 tbsp of lavender flowers per cup of sugar in an airtight container. I’ll let it sit a week before I grind it together. I’m a bit worried that the lavender bits in the sugar might cause the sugar to crystallize when the syrup is boiling. Do you think this could happen? I will let you know how the marshmallows turn out
Apr 30, 2013 · 9:34 AM
Hi Stef! I don’t think the lavender will cause any trouble with crystallization, but they will probably release a good deal more flavor as they’re cooked in the hot syrup, and it may get to that soapy lavender stage. I’d try sifting the buds out and using the infused sugar all on its own. Or, pulse the sugar/lavender in a food processor for a second to release a bit more flavor, then sift out the buds so it doesn’t get out of hand as they cook.
May 07, 2013 · 4:47 PM
Hi Stella. Best marshmallows ever! Easiest recipe I’ve ever done too. Next time I’ll just sift out the lavender buds instead of grinding the sugar and buds together. The buds kept making the sugar syrup almost boil over! And I also suspect that’s why it took FOREVER for the temperature to get to 240. But I love this recipe and it will be my go to marshmallow recipe from now on
May 11, 2013 · 5:25 PM
Oh, hurray, Stef! So glad it worked out for you, I hope you enjoy making many more variations!
Dec 11, 2013 · 4:18 PM
Hi Stella –
I have made this recipe and always comes out great. This year I started packaging them to give out as gifts for my family. I have been packaging them in poly bags… I have noticed that they become sticky when sitting in the bag and omit a moisture even after I have added powder sugar. I have seen several packaged gourmet marshmallows sold at stores (with the same ingredients as above) with no moisture. Any tips? Thanks a bunch!
Dec 12, 2013 · 10:22 AM
Hi Megan! Hmmm… Some quick questions: how do you grease the pan? Pan spray, butter, oil, etc? Do you use any particular brand of powdered sugar? I use generic, store-brand powdered sugar and it contains a small amount of cornstarch. I’m wondering if maybe a pure-sugar powdered sugar would cause that sort of wet clumping? Or if the pan were greased with butter, which contains water. Let me know if any of that lines up with your experience, and hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of it!
Dec 12, 2013 · 12:32 PM
Hi Stella – I pan spray it, and then pat it down with paper towel so it is still greased up but not excessively. I use generic brand, and I do use corn starch as well. I had started to “dry” them out by leaving them out overnight after cut and powdered. It helps for a few extra days, but ultimately the moisture comes through again. Thanks for responding so quickly!
Dec 14, 2013 · 12:20 PM
Hi Megan! Recently, I’ve started covering the pan of marshmallows without dusting, and then dusting it all at once when it’s time to cut. I haven’t had noticed any crusting issues this season (although I have from time to time in the past, though I have never pinned down the exact reason). I wonder if this lets the marshmallows themselves “dry” a bit before the powdered sugar is added.
Dec 16, 2013 · 6:26 PM
Not only do I spy new photos, but is this a slightly revised recipe I see? Hmm, well I’m glad I read it again! I’m going to try a new (tiny) batch with the revised technique.
· emily | nomnivorous · www.nomnivorous.com
Dec 16, 2013 · 8:39 PM
Hi Emily! Yeah, just doing some little updates and housekeeping. I actually have a totally brand new recipe for the book, and it is killing me not to post it here. I mean, this recipe is a-okay, but I’ve learned a trick or two this past year.
Dec 17, 2013 · 10:18 AM
Well, 2014 is approaching quicker than expected. Can’t wait to get my paws on your new recipe and cookbook. <3
· emily | nomnivorous · www.nomnivorous.com
Dec 18, 2013 · 9:54 PM
Thanks, Emily. I will be shouting it from the rooftops when it’s done.
Jan 26, 2014 · 6:08 AM
Sorry if you’ve outlined this before, but I can’t seem to find it on your site at the moment. If I want to make fruit marshmallows with your berry reduction, I should replace all instances of water with the reduction and also leave out the corn syrup? Do I replace the weight of that with reduction? And is the 28oz of sugar left in? Thank you so much!
Jan 27, 2014 · 10:52 AM
Hi Callie! Yeah, I used to have it listed as a variation here, but a few people reported back with trouble. I’ve slowly learned that sometimes the variations that I use at work deserve more than a brief explanation, and that a quick variation can leave some people without the info they need for success.
So at the risk of arming you with a brief explanation…. When I do berry variations, I replace the water in the gelatin mixture with an equal weight of cold reduction. The sugar in the reduction/gelatin makes the marshmallows a little sweeter, but that’s a good thing since the berry flavor is also tart. I also reduce the sugar in the syrup by a few ounces and replace with an equal amount of reduction (say, 4 ounces). I don’t like to replace it with too much syrup, as the berry flavor can get funky as it cooks. But with just a little it turns out pretty nice. Hope that helps!
Mar 14, 2014 · 8:57 PM
So, Stella, out of all the deliciousness I created during last weekend’s BT-fest! this was my only total fail. I watched carefully as it got a little scary-dark on the way up to 240, but it didn’t smell bad. So I kept going. At the start of the mixing phase, it was dark molasses in color. After beating it for…ever, it lightened to a lovely dark shade of urine. They felt & looked like real mm, but they tasted burned. Thoughts? My pan is very thick-bottomed & has been used for candy many times; my thermometer worked well on my last candy— though it probably is that after reading your other comments. Suggestions for an accurate thermometer? No one online seems to agree about candy therms. Thanks for any help (I’d upload a pic but don’t know how ). MA
Mar 15, 2014 · 12:57 PM
Hi MA! There is definitely a problem with your thermometer, because sugar can’t even begin caramelize until 340°, and it won't actually start to darken until about 360°. So with a candy like marshmallows, you won’t develop any color at all. After cooking, the syrup will be as clear as water, so the fact that your mixture caramelized signals some major trouble.
Of course, your thermometer could be broken. Even with a successful batch of something in your recent history, it could have been damaged in the meantime. What may be more likely is that your pot was too big (wide), and so the syrup was too shallow, which prevents the tip of the thermometer from being fully submerged and specifically causes dramatically low readings. In this instance, the thermometer is only measuring ambient heat, not the heat of the syrup itself. With any candy, the thermometer should be submerged at least an inch to get an accurate reading.
My favorite thermometer is a Polder all-in-one. It’s digital, so you get the readings lightning fast instead of waiting for the mercury to climb up the pole. It’s got a clip-on attachment, which helps anchor the thermometer to the pan regardless of the shape. It also has temperature alerts, so you can leave the kitchen and have it beep when your syrup comes to temperature. Finally, it’s got a long cord so you can use it for roasting meats too. It’s the only thermometer you need! Let me know how all this info jibes with your experience, and we’ll get to the bottom of this mysterious burning.
Mar 19, 2014 · 3:44 AM
Hey Stella, thanks for the help. I think you’re right on both counts: pot too big; thermometer too off. I guess I thought it’d be like w making caramel- the bigger the pot the better. I also just got your suggested thermometer today, so I’ll let you know how the next batch goes! Thanks for the advice!
Mar 23, 2014 · 8:08 PM
Hi MA! Oh, I hope you love your new thermometer. I use it for everything from roast chicken to peanut brittle. If you ever give the marshmallows another shot with a smaller pot, please let me know!
Apr 13, 2014 · 7:20 AM
Hey Stella, I gave them another shot. Your thermometer + smaller pot = SUCCESS! They are so beautiful & creamy. Even my super healthy-eating friend took extras home. I can’t wait to try again with another flavor. Thanks so much for being so willing to help us master your recipes!
Apr 13, 2014 · 9:24 PM
Hey, MA! Oh, what a relief! I’m so glad the second batch behaved itself for you. Marshmallows are so much fun and fluffy and soft when they turn out right, I’m glad you gave them another shot and could experience them for yourself. Happy to help!
Apr 14, 2014 · 10:11 PM
Hi RLW! You can absolutely use vanilla extract, just mix it in with the gelatin. About a tablespoon for a recipe of this size. But for what it’s worth, vanilla beans don’t have to be too expensive. On sites like beanilla.com, you can get them for just a dollar a piece if you buy several a time. Happy baking!
Apr 17, 2014 · 12:44 AM
I totally understand, RLW! I just hate when people think $8 beans at the grocery store are the only option. Hope you enjoy the marshmallows!