December 20, 2013: Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows


These are my almost-sister-in-law Nikki’s fault. A couple years ago, she gave everyone homemade peppermint marshmallows for Christmas, and they were amazing. I didn’t know mere mortals could make marshmallows at home. So I tried them myself, and they were just as amazing.

Though it was about the biggest mess I’ve ever made in the kitchen. And that’s saying something. To quote J-Dub, “Uh…we BUY our marshmallows.”

I just think it’s such a cool thing to make your own marshmallows. I wanted to include it in this year’s cookie mix.

In case you don’t know what goes into marshmallows, I’ll tell you: it’s mostly gelatin, powdered sugar and corn syrup. And it starts out looking like this:

That’s 3 1/2 packets of gelatin curing in some cold water. Kinda looks like something from my 9th grade biology class.

Boil together sugar, corn syrup, and salt until it registers 240 on a candy thermometer. Unfortunately, I can’t find my candy thermometer, so I had to use my meat thermometer…and an oven mit.

Pour it into the gelatin and get cracking. It will whip up white and fluffy.

Unless you dye it reddish pink, like I did. Then it will look pink and fluffy.
This recipe calls for egg whites, so I whipped them up too and folded them gently into the mixture. I also added a teaspoon and a half of peppermint and a half teaspoon of vanilla. Then I put them in my powdered sugar-dusted 9×13 pan.
I put it in the fridge to chill overnight, and then had to deal with the aftermath.
Thank God I have a dishwasher. I could reattach a limb with this stuff.
This morning, I took it out of the fridge and set it up to cut it up, dusting each section back in the powdered sugar so I could handle it without it sticking to me. A pizza cutter worked well for this.

Very tasty and impressive, if I do say so myself!

Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows (from the website
Adapted from Gourmet, December 1998

These homemade marshmallows are not only easy to make, they set as perfectly as promised: puffed and lightweight, bouncing off one another as I tossed them in the container. Even better, they toasted like a campfire charm speared on the end of a skewer, and s’mooshed between two graham crackers with a square of chocolate.

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out. Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Cookies today: 73 marshmallows
Cookies this year: 1079 and a batch of mints!

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