I must have been living under a rock, because I did NOT know marshmallows could taste this good.
Let me convince you that these are worth every ounce of effort that you might exert in making them (it’s only a moderate amount of effort). AND, most of the effort comes from the self-control you must exhibit while they cool, undisturbed, for several hours (so don’t forget that part when you get around to making them). In return, you will receive back ten fold in marshmallowy melt-on-your-tongue delight. If I still don’t have you convinced, let me say you will make quite an impression on the relatives, kids, or friends who are lucky enough to try one.
VANILLA BEAN MARSHMALLOWS
makes one 8×8 pan, about thirty six 1.25″ marshmallow cubes
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 packets/0.5 ounces gelatin
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 egg whites
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon rum, brandy, kahlúa, or alcohol of your choice (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus extra for the pan
toppings: nutmeg and cinnamon for light dusting, toasted coconut (optional)
Generously grease an entire 8×8 pan. Place parchment paper along bottom of pan with extra parchment length added to one side (for easy marshmallow removal later). See above picture for clarity. Grease surface of parchment paper and generously sprinkle some cornstarch over the entire inside of the pan.
Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, cook sugar, cream, and syrup over medium heat until it reaches 240 degrees F, stirring nearly constantly to prevent scorching. Once it reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat and let it sit for a minute or two to cool.
While your syrup cools slightly, beat 3 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set egg whites aside. If you used your stand mixer bowl to beat the egg whites, gently spoon the egg whites into another bowl.
Spatula your prepared gelatin into a stand mixer bowl and fit your mixer with a whisk attachment. Pour in the hot syrup and turn your mixer on at a low speed. Once combined, increase speed to high and beat until mixture almost triples in size, approximately 10 minutes. Your batter will progressively get lighter in color as you near 10 minutes.
Mix in vanilla and alcohol (if using). Stir in your egg whites by hand until evenly combined.
Spread marshmallow batter into your prepared pan. Cool marshmallows at least 3 hours (at room temperature) before eating. Sift together powdered sugar and cornstarch and set aside until marshmallows have cooled.
When marshmallows have fully cooled, dust a clean surface with some of the powdered sugar/cornstarch mix. Run a sharp knife along the side of the pan to separate your marshmallows. Grab the extra side of parchment paper with one hand while you gently lift the marshmallows away from the pan (again, see above photo). Carefully flip it over onto your prepared surface.
Peel parchment paper off of the marshmallows. Sprinkle more powdered sugar mixture onto the exposed surface of your marshmallows and cut into desired size with a large chef’s knife or pizza wheel (I prefer large marshmallows, probably because it feels better to say I only put “one” marshmallow in my hot chocolate). Coat the marshmallows with the rest of the sugar/cornstarch mixture (one way to do this is to gently toss them together in a large plastic bag).
Dust your marshmallows with nutmeg, cinnamon, toasted coconut, or whatever you fancy!