Garnish that “cup of cheer!”

…with homemade marshmallows, of course! So much more delicious than the grossly over-processed stuff you get in a plastic bag. It’s so easy, and you can cut them into virtually any shape! My friend Valerie ordered some from me, and I opted for short little squares so I could tie them up into neat little stacks. I spread the mallows out to cool on a baking sheet and cut away. You can also use the baking sheet and employ some cookie cutters. But, I have to say my favorite is to cool the mallows in a 9×13 baking dish so you end up with big, fat fluffy squares. It makes them perfectly dunkable for hot chocolate sauce!

This marshmallow recipe is adapted from the lovely Jill O’Conner and her wonderful bakebook Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey. The biggest difference in my recipe comes from a great tip I got from my friend and pastry chef Loren Wood: use non-stick baking spray (i.e. Baker’s Joy) allover the baking sheet/dish. The mallows will slide right off. I also found that keeping your offset spatula (a must) well-coated with the spray will keep that freakishly sticky gloop from being more of a pain that it already is. Happy non-baking!

Classic Marshmallows

1 cup cold water
3 tablespoons unflavoured gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting

Pour 1/2 cup of the cold water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer. Sprinle the gelatin evenly over the water, half hour or so.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cold water, the granulated sugar, the corn syrup and the salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and let the mixture come to a boil. Cook the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer. Do not allow the syrup to go past 244F or the marshmallows will be rubbery rather than tender.

Remove the syrup from the heat and slowly beat it into the dissolved gelatin with an electric mixer set at low speed. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating until the mixture is very thick and white but still warm – about 15 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

Generously spray a 9/13 inch baking dish or large baking sheet with baking spray (i.e. Bakers Joy). Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula (that has been liberally sprayed as well).

Let the marshmallow stand, uncovered, for 8 to 12 hours to firm up. Turn the marshmallow from the pan on to a sheet of parchment. Cut into 20 large squares. Dust each square on all sides with more powedered sugar. Store in a tightly covered container until ready to serve.

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