I was crazy enough this weekend to attempt homemade marshmallows. Why, you ask? Can't you just buy a bag of Jet Puffed and call it a day? Well, no, I can't. As my co-worker says, I need to fill my Martha Stewart quota. Why not make your own marshmallows or graham crackers or whatever. From-scratch food tastes so much better!
And so, that is why I tried my hand at making these delightfully fluffy, subtly minty marshmallows. They turned out way better than I expected. What I expected was a big kitchen disaster, with me finding marshmallow fluff in every corner of my house from here until next May. I had read about a few marshmallow fails, so I was prepared to scrap it all.
And then, they turned out beautifully. I have no idea how or why I was lucky enough to win at this recipe, but I did. My co-workers coached me through the process, so I think that plus a few mimosas really helped. They are perfect. I hope you have the same success!
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
2 teaspoons peppermint extract (alternately: 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons other extract)
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 an electric stand 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 (learning from my mess of a first round). 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.
Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.