Marshmallows may seem like a mystery, but they're actually simple and fun to make. (You'll feel like a little kid when you see them billowing up.) One important tip: Don't trust the measurements on the package of your powdered gelatin. Measure the powder yourself. Plus, be sure to have everything ready before you start; once the syrup reaches the right temperature you have to act quickly.
1 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (divided)
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Make the coating first. You'll have enough to use for a few batches. Sift the icing sugar and cornstarch into a bowl and whisk together. You want to eliminate any lumps. Set aside. Then spray an 8- by 8-inch pan with no-stick spray. Set aside. Now bloom your gelatin: Measure a 1/2 cup cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the powdered gelatin on top. Whisk it well and let sit for at least 5 minutes to soften.
2. For the mallow mixture, measure the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, water and salt into a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil until it reaches 240 F on a candy thermometer. Stir occasionally.
3. While the syrup is heating, pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer. Microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds to ensure it's fully melted and add that to the mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment on, set the mixer to low and keep it running. Don't forget to keep checking your syrup – make sure your thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of the pan when testing the temperature. And remember that boiling syrup is extremely hot; take care to keep it from splattering.
4. Once the temperature hits 240, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Then increase speed to medium-high and beat another 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 to 2 minutes on the highest speed until white and thickening.
5. The marshmallow mixture will be very fluffy – about triple the volume – and will now start to set very quickly. Pour into the greased 8- by 8-inch dish and smooth with an offset or spatula. Sprinkle the top generously with the marshmallow coating and let the marshmallow set in a cool, dry place for 6 hours before cutting.
6. Once set, run a knife around the edge of the dish and flip the mellow slab onto a surface dusted with the marshmallow coating. Now slice the marshmallows into cubes (or cut using scissors or cookie cutters sprayed with non-stick spray).
7. Toss them in the coating to cover all the sticky sides and serve. Store in a dry cool place and just redust the marshmallows if they get a little moist. You can also coat your marshmallows with finely ground nuts like pistachio, shredded coconut or graham crumbs.
Special to The Globe and Mail