Many marshmallow recipes will instruct you to whip hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. I've made many batches of marshmallows this way and they turn out fine, but my favorite method is to beat the syrup and egg whites separately then blend them together as in Gourmet's version. I find them lighter and springier this way.
This recipe does not include corn syrup, a common ingredient in marshmallows used to ensure a smooth texture and prevent crystals from forming. As long as you heat the granulated sugar and water properly and use the resulting syrup right away, you won't have any problems. If you'd like to keep the corn syrup in, however, add two tablespoons to the recipe.
Notes On Variations:
Egg-Free: Reduce sugar to 1 1/2 cups. Skip steps 5 and 6 and proceed directly to spreading the marshmallow-y fluff into the prepared pan. Continue with step 7.
Cocoa-Amaretti: Prepare 1 cup of finely crushed amaretti cookies. Instead of confectioners sugar and starch, coat surface of the baking pan with amaretti crumbs. Sift ¼ cup cocoa into syrup/gelatin mixture over low speed. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract instead of vanilla extract to beaten syrup. Sprinkle the top of the marshmallows with crumbs. Once marshmallows are set and cut, coat exposed sides with crumbs.
Matcha/Green Tea: Sift 1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder into the confectioners sugar/starch dusting powder. Instead of vanilla, sift 2 teaspoons matcha powder into beaten syrup/gelatin mixture over low speed until well-blended.
Espresso: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder into 1/2 cup of water before adding the gelatin powder. Leave out vanilla extract.
Coconut: Toast one cup of sweetened, shredded coconut. Coat inside surface of baking pan with coconut and sprinkle on top of marshmallow mixture. Once marshmallows are set and cut, dip exposed sides into coconut to coat.
Vanilla Bean: Add the scrapings of 2 vanilla beans to egg whites before whipping. Leave out vanilla extract.
Peppermint: Instead of using vanilla extract, add 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract to beaten sugar syrup instead. Drip 6 to 8 drops of red food coloring on top of marshmallows before they set in the pan and drag a toothpick through the dye to create a swirly pattern.
- Yield:Makes 8 dozen 1-inch marshmallow cubes
- Active time: 25 minutes
- Total time:10-hour setting time
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ cup potato starch (or corn starch)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup water, divided
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Two ¼-ounce packets of unflavored powdered gelatin (about 5 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring, see variations in note above)
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature (see note on eggless marshmallows above
- pinch salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Sift together potato starch and confectioners sugar.
Prepare a 13- by 9-inch baking pan by lightly buttering inner surface and sifting sugar-starch powder over it.
Pour ½ cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin powder into water and let stand.
Pour remaining ½ cup of water and sugar into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Leave undisturbed once sugar is dissolved. When sugar is dissolved and syrup begins to boil, leave undisturbed until temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 240°F, about 5 minutes.
Carefully pour the hot syrup into the bowl, gently stirring until gelatin is fully dissolved in the syrup. Gradually increasing the speed to high, beat the mixture until almost tripled in volume and thick, shiny, soft peaks have formed, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla extract.
While syrup/gelatin mixture is beating, pour egg whites and pinch of salt in a deep mixing bowl. With an electric hand mixer, whisk eggs until they begin to foam. Sprinkle in cream of tartar, gradually increase speed to high and beat until shiny and firm peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Switch to paddle attachment on the stand mixer and incorporate egg whites into syrup/gelatin mixture on medium-low speed, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. When mixture is fully blended, after 2-3 minutes, spread into prepared pan.
Sift sugar-starch powder over the top surface of the marshmallow. Allow to set overnight. If the air is very dry, cover partly with a plate or plastic wrap.
Run a small offset spatula around edges of pan and turn marshmallow out onto a surface that has been dusted with sugar-starch powder.
Use cookie cutters, scissors, or a sharp chef’s knife to cut the marshmallow into pieces. If using a knife, cut into cubes by pressing down, not sawing back and forth – it will bounce back. Dip cut marshmallows into sugar-starch powder to coat evenly, shaking off excess powder. Store up to a week in a closed container.