It’s a messy job, but totally worth it.
Before I dive into the world of marshmallows, it’s interesting to note that most recipes contain corn syrup and/or raw egg whites (it makes them soft and fluffy). The problem is, I’m not a fan of corn syrup and most people freak out about raw eggs. So, what is one to do?
Use evaporated milk.
Yes, it’s true. I’m not exactly sure what kind of magical powers it might posses… All I know is that evaporated milk makes the fluffiest marshmallows ever, without having to add any of the above ingredients. It’s the best kept secret.
Here’s another tip- your cooking tools are just as important as your ingredients. If you’re short on any of them, the process is going to be a little bit tricky. You will need the following (in this order):
- Clutter free workspace
- Stand mixer
- Cooking spray
- Non-stick 8×8 or 9×13 pan
- Parchment paper
- Candy thermometer
- Rubber spatula
- Powdered sugar & cornstarch
- Sharp knife, pizza wheel or kitchen scissors
And now, kindly prepare yourself for a fleet of snowy white photos with comprehensive instructions at the end of the post (I had to lure you in somehow- this is a long one!) Sunglasses are optional.
All of that for homemade marshmallows?!
Yes! They taste way better than store-bought and you have control over the quality of ingredients. Of course they’re a bit messy, and yes your fingers will get sticky- but the truth is, they’re a lot of fun to make. Once you have this basic recipe down you can add different extracts and toppings to make them your own. Follow these tips and you will have beautiful, fluffy marshmallows.
- Space is your friend. If your kitchen lacks counter space, move this project to a clean kitchen table. Position your stand mixer near an outlet, and set up all cooking tools and ingredients before you begin.
- Prepare your pan right away. Marshmallows set very quickly, so be sure to have your pan prepped and ready to go. All pans need to be generously coated in cooking spray and lined with parchment paper. I recommend using something non-stick, but glass or metal will do.
- Do I really need a candy thermometer? Yes. In order for your marshmallows to set properly, the milk and sugar must be heated to approximately 250 F. Regular thermometers only go up to 220 F. Don’t chance it.
- Get to know your rubber spatula. This is the one and only tool that will get the fluff out of the bowl. Keep in mind, because marshmallows are very sticky you will not be able to scrape every last bit out of the bowl. You will not have a perfectly smooth finish to the top as well. This is all OK.
- Powdered sugar & cornstarch… why both? Even though powdered sugar has a small amount of corn starch in it, additional cornstarch acts as a moisture barrier preventing the marshmallows from becoming sticky. Make sure to sift your mixture before coating the marshmallows (you don’t want any clumps!).
***And last but not least- because evaporated milk is a tan color, your mixture will initially be brown. Do not fret! After 10-15 minutes of mixing on high speed your marshmallows will become a soft, creamy white color. I was skeptical at first but it’s true.
- cooking spray
- ½ c. water + ¼ c.
- 3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 c. sugar
- ½ c. evaporated milk
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1½ c. powdered sugar
- ½ c. cornstarch
- clutter free workspace
- stand mixer
- non-stick 8x8 or 9x13 pan*
- parchment paper
- candy thermometer*
- rubber spatula
- sharp knife, pizza wheel or kitchen scissors
- Generously coat the bottom and sides of your pan with cooking spray.
- Cut the parchment paper to fit the inside of your pan. You should have about 2 inches of overhang on each side. These will be your 'handles' for easy removal.
- Pour ½ cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the gelatin and allow to soften, about 10 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and ¼ cup water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 247- 250 F, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated.*See important note below.
- If using a vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise with a pairing knife. Scrape out the seeds using the blade of the knife. Add the seeds (or vanilla extract) to the bowl.
- Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 10-15 minutes. Your marshmallows will be a glossy, creamy white color.
- Using a rubber spatula, quickly scrape out the mixture into the prepared pan. Lightly coat your spatula with cooking spray and smooth out the surface. Marshmallows set very quickly, so you will need to work fast. Do not worry about getting every last bit of marshmallow out of the bowl or making the top perfectly smooth!
- Allow the mixture to set, uncovered (not refrigerated) for at least 8 hours- overnight.
- After the marshmallows have set, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
- Spoon some of the mixture into a sifter, and sift over the top of the marshmallows and a cutting board.
- Using the parchment handles, remove the marshmallows from the pan and place onto your board.
- Dust a large chef's knife, pizza wheel, or kitchen scissors with the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture so that they do not stick to the marshmallows.
- Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares.
- Toss the marshmallows into the mixture to prevent sticking.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.