Water, sugar, and gelatin are just a few of the ingredients used to make marshmallows. Read on to learn how to make this much-loved confectionery.
Are you ready to enjoy a sweet treat that was once reserved for gods and royalty?
It’s not the $9.85 million Strawberries Arnaud from New Orleans (complete with a 10-carat royal blue diamond). It’s not even our beloved Raffles Hotel’s Snowskin Mooncakes.
No, the dessert once reserved for Egyptian gods and nobility is — brace yourself — the humble marshmallow.
More than 4,000 years ago, the Egyptians were the first to discover the delectable goodness on the inside of the mallow plant. Through the Middle Ages, physicians used it to (supposedly) cure everything from stomachaches to impotence. Only in 19th-century France did confectioners get the wild idea to turn it into dessert.
It’s true that you can go to any supermarket and buy ready-made marshmallows. But what about homemade marshmallows? Would you like to know how to make marshmallows from scratch and use them in your favorite dessert recipes?
Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Gather Your Marshmallows Ingredients
Back in the good old days, you’d have to wade out into the Nile River to collect mallow plants from the marshy shoreline (hence the names “marsh” and “mallow”).
If you were lucky, you’d be able to make many types of marshmallows from the supplies you gathered. If you weren’t so lucky, you’d become a crocodile’s dinner.
These days, you don’t have to brave crocodile-infested waters to make marshmallows at home. In fact, you don’t need any part of the mallow plant at all. Since the late 1800s, confectioners have used common ingredients like cornstarch and gelatin to make marshmallows.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to gather:
- Vegetable oil
- Powdered sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Powdered unflavored gelatin
- Corn syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Making marshmallows involves precise timing and (very!) hot melted sugar, so you’ll want to be sure you have all the tools you need nearby. This includes:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Pastry brush
- Candy thermometer
- Stand mixer with whisk attachments
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Ceramic baking dish or square pan
If you don’t have everything on this list, pause right here and gather what you need. We’ll be right here waiting when you get back.
How to Make Marshmallows at Home?
Welcome back! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. Here’s your step-by-step guide for how to make marshmallows.
1. Prep the Pan
Using your pastry brush, lightly spread the vegetable oil across the baking pan. Then, place the powdered sugar in the sieve and lightly dust the entire pan with sugar.
2. Prep the Gelatin
Set up your stand mixer and open three envelopes of gelatin. Allow it to dissolve into half a cup of water (undisturbed) for about 30 minutes.
3. Make the Sugar Syrup
Using your saucepan, combine the corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt with half a cup of water. Bring it to a boil as you gently stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
Here’s where we switch from baking class to chemistry class. To create the perfect melted sugar, you need to become a bit of a scientist. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, stop stirring, and keep the syrup at a slow boil.
You’re waiting for the syrup to reach the “soft-ball” stage at exactly 240 degrees Fahrenheit (or 115 degrees Celsius).
4. Combine the Ingredients
Once you hit that magic temperature, you can switch back into cooking mode. Take the saucepan off the heat and wait a moment for the bubbles to subside. Turn on your mixer at low speed and slowly pour your hot sugar into the cool gelatin mixture.
Over the next five minutes, gradually increase your mixer’s speed from low to medium to high. The mixture should become strong and thick and form a solid ribbon when you lift the whisk.
When it reaches this stage, beat in the vanilla extract until mixed thoroughly. Finally, scrape this beautiful mixture into your pan and use your wet fingers to smooth and spread it.
5. Let the Marshmallows Cool
We know you’re tempted to dig into your sweet, gooey treat, but now’s the time to exercise self-control. Dig into your favorite kuih muih if you need a sugar fix, because the marshmallows won’t be ready to eat for a while.
Let the marshmallows sit for at least four hours at room temperature. You’ll know they’re ready when they’re not sticky anymore and you can easily pull the mixture away from the sides of the pan. If you have the self-control to let them rest overnight, even better!
Should you cover your marshmallows while they set? You don’t have to, but if you want to, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil. Don’t use plastic wrap, because it will droop and become stuck to your beautiful marshmallows.
6. Cut & Store Your Marshmallows
Now comes the best part: tasting the fruits of your labor. Dust your cutting board with a bit of powdered sugar so your marshmallows won’t stick to it.
Then, use a spatula to gently invert the mixture onto the cutting board. Dust every remaining surface with powdered sugar until it looks like a snowstorm went through your kitchen.
Using your sharp utility knife, cut the marshmallows into whichever shape you prefer. You can make them bite-sized, oversized, or anywhere in between — we won’t judge!
If you have any marshmallows left over (highly unlikely), you can wrap them in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container. Technically, they’ll stay good for a month, but we doubt they’ll last that long once you taste how amazing they are.
Homemade Marshmallows: You'll Never Eat Storebought Again!
Pretty much everything tastes better when you make it yourself, and marshmallows are no exception.
Luckily, you don’t have to wade through Nile marshes to get the ingredients you need. Gather the items on the list above and follow our easy recipe to make marshmallows at home.
One bite of that gooey, fluffy goodness, and you’ll never buy a bag at the store again.
Has all this talk of baking given you the munchies? Looking for some great recipes where you can use your homemade marshmallows? Keep browsing our baking and dessert blogs for more inspiration!