There are some foods that even the most confident and experienced cooks and bakers will shy away from making from scratch. For me, that included marshmallows.
I mean, how DO you make marshmallows, anyway? Sugar and fairy dust? Fluffy clouds? It all seemed a mystery.
And then I came across an actual recipe, and lo and behold, it was not at all complicated. It didn’t even require any fancy ingredients (no fairy dust!).
So I gave it a try. And not only are homemade marshmallows super easy to make in your own kitchen, they are far and away superior — both in flavor and texture — to anything you get out of a bag.
Even better? When you make them yourself you can customize. Flavors, colors, mix-ins — the sky’s the limit! And talk about bragging rights: As you put out a tray of graham crackers and chocolate bars, and casually mention that those marshmallows? Yeah, you made them yourself.
While you can’t go wrong with classic vanilla, I love to make marshmallows inspired by some of my other favorite treats.
Like these Root Beer Float Marshmallows.
These two-toned beauties have a rich root beer base, topped by a double-vanilla layer that evokes the classic soda fountain treat.
You will need a stand mixer and a thermometer, but other than that just a few simple tools and ingredients will get you from start to finish easily.
And the cherry? Totally optional.
Root Beer Float Marshmallows
Meal Snack, Candy, Dessert
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 20 minutes
- 3 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or one vanilla bean, halved and scraped)
- 1 tablespoon root beer concentrate (available on-line or at some specialty food shops)
- brown gel food coloring (optional, if a darker brown hue is desired for the root beer layer)
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1. Grease an 8” x 8” baking pan – line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again.
- 2. Place ½ cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
- 3. Combine the remaining ½ cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring till sugar is dissolved. Once mixture is boiling, attach a thermometer and boil till a temperature of 240 degrees is reached. Remove pan from heat and—with mixer running at low speed—slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl. Increase speed to high and beat for 5 minutes. With mixer still running, add the vanilla extract and beat till blended.
- 4. Transfer half the marshmallow to a medium bowl and quickly stir in the vanilla bean paste. Add the root beer concentrate and food coloring (if using) to the remaining mixture and beat till incorporated.
- 5. Scrape the root beer layer into your prepared pan and use a small angled spatula (or clean, slightly damp fingers) to spread evenly. Top with the vanilla layer and spread evenly. Let set overnight.
- 6. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch together.
- 7. Spread some of the sugar/cornstarch mixture onto a cutting board. Use a small knife to loosen the marshmallow around the edges of the pan and invert onto the board. Using a large greased knife, cut marshmallow into desired squares, and dip the cut sides into the sugar/cornstarch mixture.
- 8. Store marshmallows in an airtight container.
Images via Sheri Silver