Making your own marshmallows is easy. No, really. The first time I made homemade marshmallows I was amazed at how few ingredients are used and how relatively uncomplicated the process is. Sure, you need some experience with boiling sugar syrup, but once you know how, you’ll never look back.
Most of our marshmallow memories include the same formula. A big bag of the Beacon pink and white variety, gently burning embers, a hunt for the perfect roasting stick, and an ooey gooey mess – where burning your lips at least once on scalding hot sugar is inevitable. Or any child’s birthday party with a tower of Rice Krispie squares. Oh how we loved their spongy texture! There is however a feeling of accomplishment that comes with biting into the pillowy sweet airiness of a homemade marshmallow.
I made some REAL hot chocolate by melting 70% Lindt Dark Chocolate with some full cream milk. Pour into mugs or a pretty cup, and top off with some heart shaped marshmallows. For extra indulgence add a dollop of whipped cream … Joy*
1 cup (200g) water
12g unflavoured gelatin
2 cups (400g) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon glucose syrup*
2 free range egg whites
scant teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
*glucose syrup can be found in most baking shops
Lightly butter a 25 x 25cm (or any suitable size) baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with baking paper, then sift about 3 tablespoons of icing sugar onto the bottom of the pan (which will help release the set marshmallow from the pan).
Place 1/2 cup water into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to stand until the gelatin has softened (blooms), for about 15 minutes.
Place the egg whites with the salt into the bowl of a standing mixer and beat with a whisk attachment until they hold firm peaks.
Meanwhile, place the sugar, glucose syrup and remaining water into a heave saucepan over medium heat and allow the mixture to come to the boil. Increase the heat to high and boil, without stirring, and using a candy thermometer continue to boil the the syrup until the temperature reaches 127 degrees C (hard ball stage), which should take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin and vanilla essence/seeds, and stir to combine.
While continuously whisking the egg whites on a slow speed, slowly pour over the hot syrup in a thin stream. Once all the syrup has been added turn the mixer speed up to high. Continue to beat for a further 5 – 10 minutes, the marshmallow will start to cool and really begin to thicken up and hold its shape.
Scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Allow to set before turning out of the pan onto a surface dusted with icing sugar. Using a sharp knife cut into squares. Store in a cool dry place in an airtight container for up to a week.
Once you are confident with your marshmallow making ability, and you feel like experimenting, you can substitute almond extract or mint extract for the vanilla. You can also add food colouring as I did – PINK for Valentines Day. And if you want to coat them in something besides icing sugar, try using toasted coconut, cocoa powder, or even toasted and ground nuts. Of course, you can also cut the marshmallow into other shapes besides squares, simply by using your favorite cookie cutters- HEARTS for Valentines Day!