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Marshmallows are a favorite food of children everywhere. These homemade ones are so much better than store bought that there is really no comparison. Whether you want to eat these on smores, in hot cocoa or just plain they will amaze you and your friends.
These marshmallows use gelatin to create tender, fluffy marshmallows. You can mold the marshmallows on an acetate sheet that has been sprayed with Pam using pastry bars, on a sheet pan, or in a baking pan.
You can flavor these gelatin marshmallows with many different flavors. For these we use the classic vanilla flavoring in the form of vanilla extract but any extract like maple or orange are also great. You can also use strongly flavored liquids in place of the water. Things like blueberry tea, coffee, or even curry make for very interesting flavors.
If you like this recipe you can get more than 80 other recipes from my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started. The book covers many of the popular modernist techniques such as gelling, spherification, and foams. It also explores modernist ingredients like agar, sodium alginate, tapioca maltodextrin, and xanthan gum. It is all presented in an easy to understand format and I think it's the best way to learn about modernist cooking.
Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.
Because they use modernist ingredients, these amounts are given in metric by weight. For more information on how to measure modernist ingredients check out this article.
12 gelatin sheets or 3 packets, 10%
1/2 cup cornstarch
60 grams light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare a 13" x 9" baking pan by spraying it with Pam. Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar and sift some of the cornstarch mixture in the pan.
While the gelatin is blooming, combine the ingredients for the syrup in a sauce pan set over medium-high to high heat. Stir it lightly until the sugar is dissolved and then leave it alone while it heats. Cook the syrup until the temperature reaches 230°F to 240°F (110°C to 116°C).
Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it into the standing mixer on top of the bloomed gelatin and water. Turn the mixer on low and slowly increase the speed until it is on high, being careful not to splash the hot syrup out of the mixer.
Whip the marshmallow mixture until it has tripled in volume, it should take 8 to 15 minutes. When the marshmallows have almost been fully whipped, add the vanilla extract and make sure it is fully incorporated.
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sift the top with some of the cornstarch mixture. Let the marshmallow set for several hours, preferably overnight.
Dust a cutting board with the cornstarch mixture. Turn the marshmallows out onto the cutting board and cut into the shapes you want. Coat the shapes with the cornstarch mixture to prevent them from sticking to each other.
I've found the best way to cut the marshmallows into squares is using a lightly oiled rolling pizza cutter, which I first heard suggested by Alton Brown. However, using a lightly oiled knife works well, as do kitchen shears. You can also use lightly oiled cookie cutters for unique shapes.
You can store the marshmallows for several days in a sealed container.