Marshmallows were originally made with the sap of the root of the marsh mallow plant instead of gelatin. The sap was cooked with egg whites and sugar and whipped into a foam. This foam hardened when cool and was cut up and used as a type of throat lozenge (marsh mallow sap reportedly acts as a cough suppressant). In the late 1800's, the marsh mallow sap was replaced with gelatin, and egg whites were phased out of most mass produced recipes.
I started by reading over a dozen marshmallow recipes before settling on the recipe credited to Chef Thomas Keller.
I prepared a 9x13-in. glass baking pan by greasing it with butter and sifting powdered sugar over it to coat the bottom and sides.
The recipe calls for 3 envelopes of Knox gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. 3 envelopes of gelatin is equivalent to 3 tablespoons or 21 grams of powdered gelatin. Make sure you use the unsweetened and unflavored kind.
I poured the water and gelatin into the bowl of my stand mixer to allow the gelatin to bloom. The recipe calls the gelatin to bloom for ten minutes.
While the gelatin was blooming, I measured out 2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water.
I brought the mixture to a boil and deviated from Chef Keller's recipe a little. Instead of boiling for one minute, I allowed it to boil until the sugar's temperature passed 250°F. This brings the sugar into what is known as the hard-ball stage (when dropping the sugar into some water will form a hard ball that is not easily deformed) and is the traditional temperature of sugar used for making marshmallows.
I ran the mixer at low speed while drizzling in the boiling sugar syrup. Once the syrup was mixed in, I turned up the speed a little and added about 1/4 tsp. salt. The recipe calls for mixing at a high speed, but I couldn't turn up the speed to high without risking splattering 200°F sugar everywhere.
When the mixture begins to fluff up, I scraped down the bowl and turned up the speed to high.
Once the volume of the marshmallow stopped increasing, I added 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. After the extract was mixed in, I stopped the mixer. This took about 8 minutes from when I started mixing, a few minutes short of Chef Keller's recommended twelve minutes.
I poured the marshmallows into the prepared pan and smoothed roughly with a silicone spatula. Several internet recipes recommend oiling plastic wrap and using it to flatten the top of the marshmallow.
I let the marshmallow cool and set by leaving it on the dining table uncovered overnight. I then inverted the pan over a cutting board covered in powdered sugar. I released the marshmallow buy pulling from a corner and working the marshmallow loose from the baking pan.
I used a large pizza wheel to section the marshmallows one row at a time and dredging each piece in powdered sugar until the sides weren't sticky anymore.}?>
So, how did the marshmallows come out? I felt that the flavor and texture were right on. Since I dredged the pieces with powdered sugar, the exterior was a little sweeter than the marshmallows sold in supermarkets. This was actually a pleasant effect since my marshmallows were fairly large and the sweetness emphasized the difference between the exterior and interior of the marshmallow. I did occasionally smell the gelatin while cutting the marshmallows and was afraid that the flavor would be tainted, but once I had dredged the piece, I couldn't detect any gelatin taste. All in all, I'd say this is a pretty good homemade marshmallow recipe.}?>
Marshmallows (yields about 40 large marshmallows)
|Grease 9x13-in. pan and powder with powdered sugar|
|3 Tbs. (21 g) gelatin||soak 10 min.||drizzle while mixing||mix until marshmallow has fluffed up||mix||cool in pan for 3 hours||cut||powder|
|1/2 cup (120 mL) water|
|2 cups (400 g) sugar||boil until 250°F (120°C)|
|2/3 cup (160 mL) corn syrup|
|1/4 cup (60 mL) water|
|1/4 tsp. (1.5 g) salt|
|1 Tbs. (15 mL) vanilla extract|