Eating marshmallows brings back fond memories of my grandparents who died in a plane crash twelve years ago. Whenever I visited their house, my Nana gave me a ziploc bag of mini marshmallows for snack, accompanied by a bag of senbei (Japanese rice crackers) from Boppa (my grandfather). She always gave me mini marshmallows instead of the regular sized ones my cousins received. I loved that, and it made me feel special.
I hold these memories of marshmallows and senbei close to my heart. They’re some of only a handful that I still have. Unfortunately, because I was only three when they passed, my memories of my grandparents are very limited. However, the ones that I do have are extremely clear. Marshmallows and senbei, along with kissing my grandmother goodbye before she left for work, stand out the most in my mind.
Naturally, when I realized that I can make marshmallows from scratch, I was thrilled! It was a MAJOR moment for me. Still, I’m fully aware that some people think that they’re gross. I understand, especially when we’re talking about the store-bought variety. I’m actually surprised that I like them, since I tend to dislike love-or-hate foods (i.e. celery, bell peppers, cilantro). But, homemade marshmallows are a completely different animal. They’re fluffier, less dry, and much more flavorful. Best of all, you can customize them, and add fun ingrediants! Hellooo, Nutella!
Make them. Right now. I promise they’ll be worth the candy thermometer that you’re going to have to purchase. (I know you probably just thought, “Oh, crap! I have to buy one of those?”) Don’t be scared of thermometers. They’re lovely tools, as long as they’re not broken. Bottom line? Buy a nice candy thermometer and make marshmallows. Slather a bit of nutella on them too. You’ll be in marshmallow heavan!
3 packets (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, divided
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup (light in color, not low calorie)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
½ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, (Nutella)
crushed peppermint candies, peppermint oil/other extracts, or espresso powder, all optional
confectioners’ sugar, to sprinkle on top
1) Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine ½ cup of cool water and the gelatin.
2) Combine the remaining ½ cup of cool water, granulated sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a small, deep saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, or set up your thermometer as needed. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high,stop stirring, and allow the syrup to cook until it reaches 240°F on the candy thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
3) Turn the electric mixer on low, and slowly pour the hot syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the mixer speed to high, and whip the hot syrup/gelatin mixture until it is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm. To test the temperature, touch the bottom of the mixer bowl. It should be slightly warm, and but not too hot to the touch. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Near the end of the mixing, add the vanilla or other flavors. While the marshmallow is whipping, microwave the nutella for ten seconds, or until it is runnier than normal. (If you’re just making regular marshmallows, skip this part)
4) Working quickly, spread half of the marshmallow mixture into the pan. Spread the nutella evenly over the marshmallow in the pan. Then, top the nutella layer with the remaining marshmallow. Lightly wet your hands with water, and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and allow the marshmallow to sit overnight.
5) The next day, sprinkle a work surface or large cutting board generously with powdered sugar. Turn the marshmallow out onto the work surface, turning to coat both sides with powdered sugar. Using a greased pizza cutter or knife, slice the marshmallow slab into 1-inch cubes, or a shape of your liking. Coat each piece with powdered sugar to prevent sticking.
6) Feel free to dip the cut marshmallows in chocolate and roll them in candy, sprinkles, or other fun ingredients! Plain mallows will last for up to two weeks in a plastic bag. Nutella marshmallows should be eatan within two to three days.