I recently checked the ingredient list on the back of the popular brand of marshmallows you find in the grocery store. Here's what I found.
Ingredients: CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, WATER, GELATIN, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (WHIPPING AID), ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ARTIFICIAL COLOR (BLUE 1)
According to OSHA, tetrasodium pyrophosphate is slightly toxic and mildly irritating to humans. I don't know about you but the last thing I want my marshmallows to be is irritating!
The Handbook of Industrial Chemistry says that Blue 1 is a synthetic dye made from petroleum. Yum!
And, I just shake my head at artificial flavors. Click here to read my post about "Vanilla vs. Vanillin."
Ok, enough of my rant. On to the REAL marshmallow recipe.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon + a pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Prepare a 13x9" pan by spraying with nonstick spray and dusting with confectioner's sugar and cornstarch. Reserve the remaining sugar/cornstarch mixture.
Empty gelatin into mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment. Pour 1/2 cup of the water over the gelatin.
Stir 1/2 cup of water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes and attach a candy thermometer.
Side note about the thermometer - Don't attempt this recipe without one! Sugar is a tricky little bugger. Alton Brown is the only person I know of who can actually look at heated sugar and know the exact stage. When I make caramels, even 2 degrees up or down can dramatically alter the finished product. So, just find a candy thermometer and start making lots of caramels and marshmallows!
If you're the fancy schmancy type, there are digital candy thermometers (pictured here).
However, I've only worked with the inexpensive, simple analog thermometer (this is mine exactly) and have had fine results.
Once the mixture reaches 240F (almost 10 min), QUICKLY remove it from the heat and pour into the mixer with the gelatin. Turn the mixer on the lowest setting until the gelatin and sugar are combined.
Increase the mixer speed to its highest setting until the mixture is unbelievably thick. This will take up to 15 minutes depending on the mixer. Add the vanilla and whip to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Dust the top with confectioner's sugar. Let it sit for 3 hours (I know, it's a LONG time when you're waiting for these beauties). The longer, the better.
Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board. ...one that has been SERIOUSLY dusted with even more confectioner's sugar and corn starch.
You can eat these in your hot cocoa, coffee, or make some homemade graham crackers for an ultimate batch of s'mores. They're so rich and melt right in your mouth! I would have loved to know about this recipe before I made this mug of hot cocoa birthday cake.