If you haven’t had the luxury of a homemade marshmallow, let me begin by apologizing to you. I am so sorry that you have not experienced a cloud in food form. I am also sorry that your pantry has only allotted space for the oddly shaped (albeit delicious) store-bought variety. It’s a shame, really.
It’s been awhile since I’ve embarked on the tedious (read: actually quite simple but somewhat foreboding) journey of crafting these luscious sweets. During one particularly embarrassing, and scarring, event, I completely overlooked the fact that heating sugar and water makes it boil and therefore bubble. And when you’re heating something so ferociously sticky to the point of 260 degrees fahrenheit, you really, really shouldn’t neglect that little factoid. So, stubborn as I am, I proceeded to rapidly (stupidly) over-boil my simple syrup mix in a saucepan that was far too small for the job. Without blowing things up to astronomical proportions, I can say that the stuff went everywhere. The burners. Into the crevices of the oven door. The hardwood floor. I deserved it to go up my nose, as well, because my poor mother had to walk into her kitchen and see it reduced to a pool of the sweet version of quick sand (sugar sand?). I laid off of the homemade marshmallows for a bit, to say the least.
With my lesson learned and an incredibly tempting recipe awaiting the incorporation of homemade marshmallows (S’more Brownies, say wha? Thank you, Hedy Goldsmith), I crossed back over to the dark side of fluffy goodness. Due to my extremely fastidious sugar monitoring, pictures did not happen this time around. But as long as you follow the steps and pay attention to your cooking sugar and take your time with everything, you’ll be pouring marshmallow fluff into a pan in no time.
First thing’s first, whisk together 1/3 cup of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Dust the bottom of a 9X13 pan with a good amount of it, and set it aside for fluff-pouring. You’ll want to save the remaining mixture, as you’ll be using it for dusting the top of the fluff before it sets. Before proceeding, take two eggs out of the fridge and separate the whites into the bowl of your electric mixer (you’ll whip them eventually, but give them some time to get to room temperature). Then, fill a small saucepan with 3/4 cup water and sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin over it. Let it “bloom” and soften up for a few minutes and then take it over to a burner set on low heat. Let the gelatin dissolve and stir it until the water is clear, then take it off the heat. Time for the sugar: 2 cups of it, plus 3/4 cup water, and a teaspoon of light corn syrup. Heat it up, melt down the sugar, and once the liquid is clear, crank up the heat (not really, only to medium-high). Now, start whipping your egg whites, until they form soft peaks. Once your sugar mixture has reached 260 degrees, stir in the gelatin, and then pour that all into your egg whites and beat it on medium-high speed for 6 minutes. During the last minute, beat in a tablespoon of vanilla. The good stuff. Now you can (quickly!) pour your fluff into the pan, finish it off with another dusting of sugar, and forget about it until tomorrow. Then the world of homemade marshmallows is yours. Add to hot chocolate, eat them plain, or, as I plan to do, make s’more brownies. Good luck!