I know, you're probably giving me that look that's become quite familiar to me at this point. That look that's part "did I hear you right?" part "you can't be serious" and part "you're nuts". I can't quite figure out why, but people seem to think I've lost it when I embark on recipes like this.
Actually, I probably had the same reaction when both my BFF Nicole and my good friend Jane told me about their adventures in marshmallow-making. I didn't even know there was such a thing as homemade marshmallows. For sure, they're one of those brightly packaged, childhood memory-inducing, supermarket aisle delicacies, right? Not so. Turns out those Jet Puffed sugar cylinders can't hold a candle to what you'll turn out in your own kitchen (just like almost everything else!).
I was intimidated at first, but I quickly learned that with a little bit of patience you're bound to be successful. Sure, it's a bit sticky (literally), but the reward at the end is a perfectly light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow. And they're like heaven when floating in a steaming mug of cocoa!
I included notes in the recipe below to help you along the way. But believe me, it's an adventure in candy-making that you should not pass up!
Non-stick cooking spray
3 (1/4 oz.) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Lightly spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. (I'd actually recommend using a 9x13-inch pan because these were mile-high marshmallows. I ended up cutting them into much smaller pieces than the pan would have yielded naturally.) Line dish with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides. Lightly spray wrap with cooking spray. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't touch it!). In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for one minute and then remove from heat. With the mixer on high (all the way up!), slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into the gelatin. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes (you'll watching it go from syrup to stiff, meringue-like peaks in that time).
Add peppermint extract and mix until well-combined. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and spread the mixture into the prepared pan. (At this point, I also swirled in a few drops of red food coloring for a candy cane effect. Next time, I'll swirl in two layers so that the color reaches the bottom.) Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and tightly cover (spray side down!) the dish. Set aside for 2 hours.
Carefully remove marshmallows from pan (they shoudl slide right out from all that cooking spray). Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and cut marshmallows into desired pieces. In a large bowl, toss marshmallows with confectioners' sugar to coat. (I dipped one side of each marshmallow in decorators' sugar before tossing them in confectioners' sugar, just to dress them up for the holidays. The decorators' sugar gave them a nice little crunch, but it was actually a bit much so I'd probably skip this step next time.)