Making Marshmallows 101

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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There’s nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate. It’s been a favorite drink of mine for years and one that is even better once I started making marshmallows! This year I made a few different versions of marshmallows – some were pink with the peppermint melted into the syrup and some were dusted in peppermint and turned out more red on the outside. Either batch will taste delicious in hot cocoa although for future reference I’m going to stick with adding the peppermint into the syrup mixture. If you need a fun activity and want to make your own you can find the recipe I used here or follow along below. It’s by the ever insightful Alton Brown and I’ve include a few pictures of my process to help you see what marshmallow-making looks like.

part I: heating the sugar syrup to 240 degrees, the gelatin + water waiting in the mixer, and the oiled + dusted pan


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 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. Continue to whp until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking 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 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.

part II: whipping the gelatin + sugar syrup so it turns into marshmallow creme, pouring the mixture into the pan, and finally cutting the marshmallow into squares!

The process really is simple even though it takes a while to get everything finished. If you try them you’ll have to let me know what you think. While I’m talking about winter and holiday things, I thought I would include a few pictures of our Christmas tree which is decorated with some of the fabulous fabric garland I made for the baby shower earlier this year. I never knew fabric garland would be so useful, but it works perfectly and I would definitely add that to your list of winter projects. It’s basically the easiest thing to make, you just need to be able to sew two strips of fabric together in a semi straight line and then use scissors to cut the fringe! Okay I promise to blog more photos soon but I’m having fun with family and friends and I hope you are too!

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