The funny and unexpected thing that happened after my episode of Chopped aired were the inquiries about those fluffy white squares that I made in my kitchen for the B roll segment of the show. My son Louis Dunn shadowed our camera crew so closely that day that they finally surrendered and allowed him a cameo, which actually made the final cut. Those little squares were marshmallows.
Candy Lab Homemade Marshmallows are inspired by my Virginia Tech food lab in college. I loved lab class! We made all kinds of variations of things altering ingredients and amounts, so we’d really know how the recipe worked. To this day I continue to refer to my tattered 7th edition Foods textbook and lab manual co-authored by my Foods and Nutrition professor Dr. Jean Phillips. If Dr. Phillips could only know just how far a marshmallow can take you.
I love the laboratory feel of candy making. If you are new to it, one thing you must own and become comfortable with is a candy thermometer. It’s just a thermometer, a simple tool so you’ll know the temperature of the sugar syrup. Big deal.
Marshmallows are a great place to start in candy world. These little pillows, really just sugar syrup gelatin, never fail to wow people. You can alter the flavoring as you like. And actually get really fancy with them. Have fun and keep cooking.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 2 packages unflavored gelatin
- Flavoring extract of your choice (1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, ½ teaspoon lemon or orange extract)
- Powdered sugar
- Combine the sugar and ½ cup of the water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (240°F).
- While the sugar mixture is cooking, combine the gelatin and remaining ¾ cup of water in a glass or metal medium mixing bowl, preferably the mixing bowl that goes with your stand mixer.
- Stir to blend and soften the gelatin.
- Pour the hot syrup into the gelatin and beat with an electric mixer until it becomes fluffy and white and holds its shape.
- This will take about 15 minutes so a stand mixer is easier to use. Stir in the flavoring.
- You can divide the marshmallow mixture into two bowls and add different flavorings to each half. Use half the amount of extract called for in the ingredients.
- Dust a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or two 8-inch baking pans with powdered sugar.
- Spread the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan or pans. Cool until set.
- Cut the marshmallows into squares with a sharp knife and roll each marshmallow in powdered sugar.
- Store at room temperature in a covered container.