A marshmallow seems to be one of those things that conjures up the most delicious memories from childhood. Yes, they are adorably delicious straight out of the bag — they add a crazy depth of sweet, yummy, sticky texture and flavor unparalleled by any other addition. Whether it be mixed with chocolate chips stuffed inside a banana over a campfire the classic s’mores around a cup of cocoa, at the end of the day marshmallows bring out the kid in all of us. I learned the following marshmallow recipe many years ago from an amazing pastry chef. This chef said “I’m gonna blow your mind and demystify a marshmallow”. While this recipe may seem tedious, I promise that practice will make you a rockstar who will never go back to the bagged version again. This recipe pairs well with Sandy’s Hot Cocoa too.

3 package unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water

12 ounce granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with half a cup of water. Stir using a small hand whisk or fork for about 30 seconds until the gelatin is incorporated. At this point attach the whisk attachment and get the mixer ready to turn on.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. On medium-high heat, cook for about 4-5 minutes covered. At the four-minute mark, uncover the saucepot, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 238°F (between six and eight more minutes). Once the syrup reaches this temperature, immediately take it off the heat. Carryover cooking will occur from the time you take it off the stove to the mixing bowl will take it to around 240°F. (If the sugar mixture goes above 242°F your marshmallow fluff will no longer be smooth and velvety; it will be a sticky, stringy mess and you will have to start over.)

Turn the mixer on low containing the gelatin water. While the mixer is running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl from a height of about 6 to 8 inches above the mixer. (The height allows air to combine too.) Once you have added all of the syrup mixture, increase the speed of the mixer to high. Continue to whip until the sugar mixture becomes very thick and slightly warm to the touch (about 15 minutes). Add the vanilla during the last minute of mixing.

While the sugar mixture is whipping, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix well to incorporate or sift together twice through. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, being careful not to over coat the pan. Add a tablespoon of the powdered sugar mixture and move around the pan to completely coat the bottom and sides. Use more, if needed, depending on how much spray you used. If there is any powdered sugar mixture left in the pan, return it back to the bowl.

At this point, your whipped sugar mixture should be slightly warm to the touch in the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer off and remove the bowl from the mixer. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking to the spoon. Pour into the whipped sugar mixture into the prepared pan and use the sprayed spatula to smooth out the surface.

Lightly dust the marshmallow top with the powdered sugar mixture, just enough to place an even coat all over. Save the rest for later. At this point the marshmallows need to sit at room temperature for at least four hours or up to eight hours, but no longer. I like to use a pizza wheel as a knife. Lightly dust the wheel in the powdered sugar mixture to keep it from sticking. Cut the marshmallows into your preferred size pieces. Dust the cut pieces in the remaining powder sugar mixture to coat evenly. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks (if they last that long).

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Written by Chef John O'Neil

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