Today I found myself pursuing the cold. I didn’t bundle up on our walk to the park after dinner. I did not turn up the heat when I got home. I removed my layers down to a t-shirt and procrastinated putting on my slippers just so that my chill could be cured from the warmth of a cup of hot cocoa topped with homemade marshmallows. I remained in a continuous slightly chilled state until I tucked my sweet boys in bed, so that my enjoyment of my warm treat would be uninterrupted.  From there I placed a saucepan on the stove, filled it with milk, brought it to a boil, turned off the heat and added several pieces of dark chocolate. I poured this luxurious concoction into a large mug then topped with two pillowy puffs of whipped vanilla bean studded heaven.

For moments like these I not only welcome the cold, I invite it in like a long lost friend because nothing is more satisfying to remove a chill then with a steaming mug of rich hot cocoa and sweet vanilla scented homemade marshmallows. Now if only I had a fireplace to curl up to.
If you have never met the deliciousness that is a homemade marshmallow I not only encourage you I URGE you to stop what you are doing and whip up a batch. The process is simple. Don’t let the cooking of sugar scare you off – just don’t burn yourself because that would definitely hinder your enjoyment of this intoxicating treat.




adapted from Alton Brown

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cups cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup (or glucose)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Add the vanilla seeds. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.  While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.


Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with aluminum then spray with pan spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or sharp knife dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. (I suggest doubling the recipe – yes, they are that good.)


94 Responses to “pieces of heaven”

  1. rani

    Hi, I as well live making marshmallows, the favorite around the house is peppermint marshmallows, have you ever made them with honey instead of corn syrup? I have a great and easy recipe. Let me know if you want it.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Sue – They can be but they are a lot more fragile than store bought. It is better to broil them or just very lightly toast them and be prepared to catch them with something before they fall off the stick! :)

  2. Rachael

    I know that a Vanilla Bean is the BEST way to get the flavor, but it is unaccessable to me. would using Pure Vanilla Extract change the consistancy of the marshmellows or make me have to change a little bit of measurements?

  3. Bev K

    My DIL sent me your blog. I agree homemade marshmallows can’t be beat. My Norwegian friend always makes several varieties at Christmas – I think the toasted coconut ones are my favourite. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

  4. AmyDishes

    Just made these a couple of nights ago after watching you demonstrate them in the holiday treats class. What fun! I’ll admit that my sugar took much longer to reach softball stage (maybe 20 minutes) – but think that has to do with my electric stovetop range vs the recipe. I added a couple of drops of peppermint oil + dipped them in tempered chocolate like you showed us. What a delight! Can’t wait to spread the holiday cheer. Thanks again for the lovely recipes!

  5. Ellen

    Hi Ashley, I’ll be making marshmallows (these!) for the first time and want to make two or three different kinds, including candy cane. Would I put the flavoring in at the very end before spreading in a pan? And would you recommend peppermint extract or oil? Thanks in advance for your help. I’m excited to make these! Ellen

  6. ashley L

    Hi Ashley! I know someone asked this before, but can you use vanilla extract in the recipe? we live in a very small town and vanilla beans are impossible to come by or afford. Thanks!

  7. Sharon

    These look wonderful! I didn’t have time to read all the comments so if you’ve already answered this, bear with me. Could I use vanilla extract or would the alcohol make the fluff fall? Thanks!

  8. Ellen

    Just want to let you know that I’ve now made three batches (vanilla bean, peppermint, and Mexican spice) in the past three weeks and they each turned out great. Plus, they’re really fun to make. Thanks so much, Ashley!


    Not listed as a separate part is a gasket in the bottom of each blade.
    Poach the chicken for 20 minutes or until firm when touched
    remove the pan from the heat, uncover, cool the chicken in the liquid
    for half an hour. It can be made into a fancy finger food,
    placed on top of a bed of lettuce with fresh fruits or veggies, or simply eaten
    with whole grain crackers.

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  13. Lauren

    I made these the other day and they continued to have that “gummy” texture even a day after letting them set. Is this normal. I was under the impression that they would harden up. Thanks!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      They definitely don’t harden but ideally they are soft, fluffy and light. The texture comes from the temperature of the sugar and how long you whip the sugar with the gelatin. Whip the mixture until the bowl is just warm and the mixture is very pillowing and airy.

  14. Marla

    epic marshmallow failure… Thought I could use vanilla extract since I had no beans… Now I know.


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