Who doesn’t love big fluffy marshmallows and this recipe for homemade marshmallows are even better! It is so fun to recreate them in your kitchen. Plus these have zero food dyes and artificial flavors.
Herbal History of Marshmallows
The story of marshmallows traces back to ancient Egypt, where the sap of the marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis) was used for medicinal purposes. The mucilaginous substance found in the plant’s roots was combined with honey and consumed to soothe sore throats and alleviate coughs. Later, this remedy made its way to Greece and Rome, where it continued to be cherished for its healing properties.
As time went on, the French began incorporating the marshmallow root extract into a sweet confection. In the 19th century, French confectioners whipped the marshmallow sap with sugar and egg whites, creating a meringue-like treat that eventually evolved into the marshmallows we know today. While modern marshmallows may not contain marshmallow plant extract, the connection to its historical roots remains sweetly intact.
Homemade Marshmallows Recipe
- 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup cold water (divided)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup (you can try substituting honey or maple syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or peppermint extract
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Prepare the Pan:
- Grease a square baking pan and dust it generously with powdered sugar. This prevents the marshmallow mixture from sticking.
- Bloom the Gelatin:
- In a bowl, combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of cold water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.
- Make the Sugar Syrup:
- In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Place a candy thermometer in the mixture.
- Heat the Sugar Syrup:
- Over medium heat, bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 240°F (115°C) on the candy thermometer.
- Whip the Gelatin:
- While the sugar syrup is heating, use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the bloomed gelatin at low speed.
- Pour the Sugar Syrup:
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 240°F (115°C), slowly pour it into the whipped gelatin with the mixer running.
- Increase Speed and Add Flavor:
- Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue whipping until the mixture becomes thick and triples in volume. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Add vanilla extract during this stage for flavor.
- Transfer to Pan:
- Quickly transfer the marshmallow mixture to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
- Let it Set:
- Allow the marshmallows to set for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Cut and Dust:
- Once set, dust the top of the marshmallows with powdered sugar. Turn the marshmallow block onto a powdered surface, dusting the other side.
- Cut into Squares:
- Use a sharp knife or cookie cutters to cut the marshmallows into desired shapes. Coat the cut edges with more powdered sugar to prevent sticking.
Enjoy these homemade marshmallows on their own, in hot cocoa, as part of a gooey s’more or top a sweet potato casserole with them like we do here in the south. FYI Homemade Marshmallows will cook faster than store bought. Roasting worked well too!
If you want to make a more authentic marshmallow recipe then infuse 1 Tbsp. Marshmallow root into the cup of water. Infuse the water for 4 hours or overnight then strain before using.
I love to give these marshmallows as gifts along with a mason jar of Hot Cocoa mix. They will last in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.