Apr 6, 2012

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

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So here we are, guys. Just days away from the most marshmallow-y holiday of all! Mallows seem to be everywhere these days, from sweet little packets of artisan treats to ahem, a certain book all about the subject, to those ubiquitous Peeps and bunnies in day-glo colors. Hooray! To me, marshmallows are the ultimate happy candy, and really, whether they’re packaged or homemade, I love them. Of course, I’ve become quite partial to from-scratch mallows myself, as I can now make them practically in my sleep, but that is neither here nor there. I want to get you mallowing right along with me, to make me feel a little less crazy. ‘Tis the season, after all! Come along, won’t you?

 A few days ago, I pointed you to a little video demonstrating the joys of a homemade version, but with a good basic marshmallow batter, piping out little chicks and other shapes is only the beginning. You can spread this fluffy, sweet goodness into any pan or mold, so long as it’s prepped with nonstick cooking spray. Cut it into squares or use cookie cutters, roll them in a basic marshmallow coating of cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar, or get extra crafty with colored sugars, sprinkles, crushed cookies or nuts…divine! You’d think I’d be so over marshmallows by now, but nay. I still have a full-blown addiction. My basic mallow recipe is the mother of them all, easily customizable with different food colorings, extracts and candy oils of all sorts. Get ready to get that sugar high on, friends.

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows
Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows

To make Classic Coating for these (and any other marshmallow, for that matter) simply combine 1 1/2 parts confectioners’ sugar and 1 part cornstarch or potato starch. You can whisk or sift them together, or take them for a quick whir in the food processor. Make a couple cups at a time and store in an airtight container for months on end.

I love to Super Vanilla-ize these marshmallows with a bit of vanilla bean paste or a scraped whole vanilla bean, for an extra hit of flavor and all those beautiful, fancy little flecks. If you’re using any food colorings or additional flavorings, beat them in along with the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

Immediately placing all your mallowing tools in a sink or bowl of hot water makes cleanup super simple.

The Bloom:
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

The Syrup:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt

The Mallowing:
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Classic Coating (see note), plus more for dusting

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let
soften for 5 minutes.

Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in
a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the
temperature reaches 240°F. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn
syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour
it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.
when the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to
medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting
for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; the finished marshmallow
will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. Pour it into the prepared
pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly
and generously over top. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert
the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more
coating. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works
great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more
coating, patting off the excess.

  • Ahhhh! LOVE!

  • Excellent!! I’ve been meaning to make marshmallows, so this will be perfect!

  • I love homemade marshmallows! These are beautiful!

  • I have always wanted to make marshmallows but have always been intimidated until now. Just finished cutting up my first batch ever. So good and so easy – thanks for the great recipe!

  • I am so confused. I saved a link to a marshmallow recipe on here heralding gelatine leafs, to make them with my nephews and niece, but the link is saying recipe not found and now I can’t find your recipe anywhere 🙁

    • You are not alone Sarah!! I saved the link as well and ran into the same problem. The good thing is, I still the page up when I turned on my computer, so I managed to copy and paste it into a word document for the future. I’ve attached it below…hope you’re still able to go ahead with your plans!! Happy marshmallowing!! -Helen

      Perfect Vanilla Marshmallows
      Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

      This recipe calls for gelatin sheets, and I strongly recommend them for best results, but you can use unflavored powdered gelatin instead. Great resources for converting the gelatin amounts from sheets to powder in recipes can be found here and here.

      The original recipe doubles these amounts and spreads the marshmallow into a 9×13-inch pan. But since I don’t have an army in my midst demanding homemade marshmallows, I halved it and it worked out great, so I’m offering that version here. I find a pizza cutter is the best tool for easy marshmallow cutting.

      Makes 2-3 dozen marshmallows (depending on how you cut them)

      6 sheets gelatin
      1 cup sugar
      1/2 cup light corn syrup
      1/4 cup water
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      Pinch of salt
      1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting

      Grease an 8×8-inch pan with shortening, using a paper towel to rub it lightly and evenly onto the bottom, sides and edges of the pan. Set aside.

      Put the gelatin sheets into a medium microwave-safe bowl and fill it with very cold water to cover by several inches, adding a few ice cubes to keep it cold. While they soak for about 10 minutes, move on to the rest of the recipe.

      Place the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan and stir gently. Clip a candy thermometer onto the pan, and place it over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, checking it occasionally–you are looking for it to eventually hit a temperature of 235-240 degrees (soft ball stage).

      Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. By this point, the gelatin sheets should be very soft–drain them well and give them a quick wringing out, and place them back in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until the gelatin is completely melted, about 30 seconds. Turn the mixer on low, and very slowly pour the melted gelatin into the corn syrup. Keep the mixer running while you check the sugar syrup.

      Once the syrup reaches 235-240 degrees, pull it from the heat. Carefully transfer the syrup to a large, heatproof measuring cup or a similar vessel with a spout for easy pouring. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture. When all the syrup has been added, crank the speed up to medium-high and let it go for about 6 to 7 minutes–the candy will turn white and fluffy during this time. Add the vanilla and salt and increase the speed to its highest setting for 1 more minute.

      Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula spritzed with a bit of cooking spray to nudge it into the corners and smooth the top. Sift confectioners’ sugar evenly and generously over the top. Let sit for about 6 hours.

      Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan and invert it onto a confectioners’ sugar-dusted work surface. Dust the marshmallow slab with more confectioner’s sugar and cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great here). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more confectioners’ sugar, patting off the excess. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  • Mmm, I’ve been wanting to try homemade marshmallows for a while now. I feel like such a kid, but I still love to snack on mini-marshmallows. And homemade have got to be SO much better. Thanks for the recipe!

  • ahhh the perfect vanilla marshmallow recipe! Thanks!

  • I am terrible at making marshmallows so I will definitely give this a try! xo

  • Shauna, I just got your book and I really like it. However, I’m having an issue. The marshmallows come out really good and I have them dusted with the corn starch/powdered sugar mixture. But when I put them in an airtight container overnight, they “remoisten” themselves and stick to each other as if the coating was never on. They maintain their shape but are back to the state as if I never coated them.

    I recoated them yesterday and put them in a single layer in a cake pan, covered with foil and a corner opened to air. This morning they were “remoistened” again.

    They taste great and I love your cookbook but they’re freaking my co-workers out a little even though they still love em.

    Thanks for your advice, Tim

    • Hi Tim!

      No worries–it happens sometimes! On page 13 there is a little box with some storage tips and what to do if your mallows don’t dry out enough, if you haven’t seen it already. Out of curiosity, what was the weather like where do you live when you made them and what flavor were you making?

  • Shauna, thanks for your quick reply. I read that info on 13 and will “read and heed”. The weather was nice and dry here in Dayton Ohio and I made the plain ole vanilla ones as my first run. I’m going to make another batch and will be even more careful with the ingredients and directions. Will let you know how they turn out. Tim

    • Terrific! You might also try decreasing the water in the bloom to 1/3 cup, but that might not be necessary.

      • I am so glad I read these comments! I got the book 2 weeks ago and made 2 different recipes and had this same “remoistening” problem and was really discouraged that it is too humid where I live. I reduced the water to 1/3 cup and my last 2 batches came out better than perfect! Thank you! Also, I wish I knew about LorAnn oils before. I had a little shopping spree after that tip! Can’t wait to make champagne flavored marshmallows! AWESOME BOOK!

  • My hats off to you on the book and pursuing a dream! I have been making my marshmallows for over 10 years now, sharing with friends and family. I had been advised to pursue something with my love of making marshmallows and never did. Continued success to you from a fellow Buckeye 🙂

    • So glad to hear there’s someone out there as bananas about mallows as I am. Hope to try yours someday!

  • Hi Shauna,

    My Classic Vanilla Mashmallows are currently setting as I type! I can’t wait to try them!

    I was lucky enough to get a copy of your fabulous book ‘Marshmallow Madness!’ to review (which I will be doing shortly). When I review the book, I’ll be sure to include a link here for readers to see the recipe.

    I’m looking forward to trying out the Malibu Marshmallows too!

  • I pre-ordered your book quite some time ago, when it arrived I was as giddy as a child at a fair. I have longed to make marshmallows from scratch and tonite I finally took the plunge! I was thrilled with how easy your book made everything, and I am so excited to keep going and adding more variations and trying new combinations! Thank you so much for such an amazing book and lifting my spirits on a dreary spring day. I’ll be back to your blog again and again and look forward to your new book in the fall! 🙂 xo Crystal-lee

  • Hi.

    My Marshmallows are “setting”,but I think I did something wrong. The basic vanilla recipe says 1/2 of coating, plus more for dusting. Is the 1/2 cup suppose to be mixed in at the end in the “mallowing” with the vanilla, or is that all for “dusting”. I mixed it in. We licked the bowl, clean, it tasted great!

    • Hi Barb! The Classic Coating is only for coating the marshmallows, not for mixing into the batter. I’m not sure how they’ll set up when it’s all mixed in–I wonder if the texture and fluffiness will be affected?

  • They actually came out really good. The texture was a little firm. We still had a few left over late night and very carefully toasted them for the 4th of July. Amazing! I’m sure my 11 yr old will want to make the Kool Aid marshmallows next. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make marmallows and failed with a big mess. Even with my mistake I made marshmallows!

    • Hooray!

  • Hi Shauna

    I bought your book a few weeks ago and have been dying to make some homemade marshmallows ever since! I’ve made a couple of different batches now and I find that they are not as ‘fluffy’ and ‘pillowy’ as I had hoped. I’m trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. Once the marshmallows have set they seems to be a little sticky on the inside and gummy, and have a tendency to stick to the pan. Is it possible that I am making them too thick?


    • Hmmm…the first thing that comes to mind is how accurate your candy thermometer might be. Have you calibrated it recently? Also, if you live at a high altitude or an extremely humid area that can make a difference. But if they are especially dense or gummy every time you make them, my first thought is the candy thermometer. There is an information box called “Let’s Calibrate!” in the introduction pages that can tell you how to do that. It is also possible that you might need a couple more minutes of whipping at high speed at the end of beating–an extra two minutes might help a lot!

  • Thanks for the tips! I’ll re-calibrate my thermometer and give it another whirl!

  • Hi Shauna,

    I wish your book was available here in the Philippines. Sadly, I haven’t seen it in bookstores yet. Anyway, I’m having the same problem with my marshmallows in the sense that they remoisten. I’m going to try and lessen the water during the blooming stage later to see what happens. The weather here is generally hot and humid so that might be affecting the marshmallows. Also, I feel like my marshmallows aren’t sticky enough. I saw videos of marshmallow making and mine is just easy to scrape from the bowl. What do you think is wrong?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Oh! To add to my description above, aside from my marshmallows not being sticky enough, the texture is very much like Japanese tofu, more jelly-like than marshmallow-like. And the coating I dusted on the pan was stuck and absorbed by the marshmallow. It didn’t taste good at all.

      Thanks again!

      • Hi Athena,

        I’m thinking that you first need to double check that your candy thermometer is calibrated (reads 212 degrees F when placed in a pot of boiling water). Second, whip the marshmallow batter for a few minutes longer on high speed. Are you using my recipe? If so, know that my marshmallow batters do come out of the bowl quite a bit easier than others–there are no sticky strings of candy everywhere when you scrape the batter from the bowl into the pan (that was one of my goals!). But it should hold a soft shape for a moment or two, it should not be runny at all. You can try cutting a tablespoon or two of water from the bloom, but from what you’re describing (with the Japanese tofu reference, which I”m assuming means dense?), I’m apt to think that more whipping time is in order first!

        Also, with this recipe, you don’t want to dust the pan itself with the coating–just spray lightly with the nonstick spray, wiping away any excess oil or beading. Only dust the top of the marshmallow batter with the coating before setting. If the batter wasn’t beaten long enough and was too liquid when it was scraped into the pan, then it will absorb a good deal of the coating. Hope that helps!

        • Well that makes much more sense!! I have made these a few times, with a few different variations in your book and the first time I had no problems at all, they were just a little hard to get out of the pan, but the next few times I had the same issue with the coating soaking in and making a weird texture on the bottom. Now I know that the coating is only supposed to go on top it will make things much easier!! Love the book BTW!! My Mallows are always a super hit 🙂

  • Hi Shauna!

    Yes, I’m using your recipe. Trying it out before I take a risk and buying the book from Amazon (the shipping cost more than the book without taxes, haha). And yes, it was runny so I shall take all these tips and see what happens. Thank you very very much!

    • Eek! Well, know that if you do decide to buy the book, it is chock full of other tips and tricks and ways to know if you’re doing everything exactly right–much more info on mallow making that I can offer here.

      • Hey Shauna!

        So I did what you said above and whipped my marshmallows an extra 5 minutes and they turned out pillowy and fluffy. I also reduced the water which I think greatly helped. I’m purchasing the book now so I can look at the other tips. I plan on making a mallow business out here as no one offers the joys of handmade marshmallows in the country yet. Thank you so much!

  • […] Shauna Sever, author of Marshmallow […]

  • Hi Shauna
    You’re marshmallows look amazing! I’m wanting to try yours as the recipe I tried the other day was overly sweet and yours has less sugar. But I’m in Australia and can’t really find corn syrup. I’ve heard that diluting glucose syrup (made from corn) with a bit of water will subsitute ok. Have you heard of this or tried this? I belive corn syrup is quite runny whereas the glucose is quite thick.
    (Trying to find a stockist in Australia for your books – hunting tomorrow as they look amazing!!)


    • Hi Tiffany, a fellow Aussie replying: I made this recipe substituting glucose syrup for corn syrup, and it was great! I haven’t heard about needing to add water with the glucose syrup before. Hope you gave it a shot anyhow!

  • Hi Shauna,

    I finally got your book from my friend who recently visited the States and I have been having a blast making your recipes. Yesterday I made the Sea Salt Caramel recipe and it is my favorite, so light and wonderful. I have another question though, I tried making the Deeply Chocolate recipe twice today and it didn’t puff up the way others did. The volume is just twice its size and it didn’t hold its shape. Now though it isn’t dry yet I made this mistake before and the marshmallows turned out to be dense. I was wondering if I’m supposed to lessen the water in the slush or just increase the temperature of the sugar? The batter tastes delicious though and we ate one of my mistakes as pudding instead, which is divine.

    Thanks so much!

  • Just want to thank you for your recipe. It worked perfectly. Didn’t have a storage problem as they have all been consumed.

  • I am waiting for your book but am in New Zealand and we can’t get corn syrup here. I can’t wait the 3 weeks the book will take to get here! We can get liquid glucose, or there seem to be a myriad of homemade corn syrup substitute recipes around on the web but no two are the same. I understand that liquid glucose is thicker than corn syrup, but have no idea what consistency to aim for if watering it down. Have you tried any substitutes?

  • hi, i was wondering whether i could replace the cooking spray with something else? Butter, parchment paper…

    • Rub the pan with a tiny bit of vegetable oil instead!

  • […] Chocolate Truffle Stout Marshmallows Author: adapted from Shauna Sever’s Classic Vanilla Marshmallows Recipe type: dessert, sweets, snacks   A fluffy, chocolatey treat with subtle hints […]

  • […] the top “meringue” layer One Half Batch Vanilla Marshmallows (I followed Shauna Sever’s recipe directly; you can feel free to use a different recipe if […]

  • Hi Shauna –

    My mom and I made our first batch of the Classic Vanilla Marshmallows. They seemed to be pretty set when I tried to put them in the pan and and as a result, were not very easy to spread. Do you feel we whipped them too long?

    Also, we were trying them in hopes of making them for my wedding this fall. How long do they generally keep?

    Thanks! I cannot wait to try them in a few hours!

  • […] could always make homemade marshmallows, but I like store-bought because they keep things stress-free.  To make simple snowman […]

  • […] valmistuivat. Ensi kerralla voisi olla hyvä idea ottaa kuvia valmistusvaiheista. Olen käyttänyt tätä perusreseptiä vaahtisten tekemiseen ja muokannut niitä sitten. Vaniljaisten funfetti cupcakesien sisältä […]

  • Hi shauna,

    I am iris and I live in mumbai..india
    I have purchased your book and follow your blog.
    I tried the classic vanilla marshmellow and followed the recipe to a t..
    However the mashmellows have not set despite keeping it in a cool dry place for 8 hours. It appears as if it is set and ready to cut but when I went to do it it is cream like inside..
    What could be the problem.. Is there a solution.. The weather currently is hot, humid and muggy.. Could it be the reason..
    Would appreciate your feedback.
    Thanks iris

  • Perfect!! Simply perfect!!
    My batch of light blue vanilla marshmallows are setting as we speak and I am so excited about it! I am a huge fan of marshmallows but have never actually tryied making them myself!
    So, to be honest I had to try it out twice, since my first try I used a powder gelatin that was not for this purpose. It gave a sower-lemony taste to the mix and it would not ‘meringue’ at all! It is a German make that is meant to be used for jams and gellys. So after the first disaster I rushed to the supermarket and bout the only other alternative which was a sheet gelatin. Used 4,5 sheets to 4,5 tsp of powder gelatin and tara!! It did take me a lot more whipping (probably an extra 4-5 min) but it was worth it!
    Also fyi I used glucose syrup, substituting it exactly for the amount of corn syrup (no extra water added).
    Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    • Awesome on all accounts! Thank you!!

  • my batter is to runny and wont set. What do I do?!?!?!

  • […] Recipe I used is from Shauna Sever. […]

  • […] Recipe by Kelly Bakes, adapted from Shauna Sever […]

  • […] View the original recipe on Shauna Sever’s website here […]

  • […] muhkea pilvi. Ihmeellistä sanon minä. Ja hyvää! Perus vaniljaisen vaahtokarkkireseptin löydät täältä. Itse tein tuolla reseptillä vaaleanpunaisia vaahtiksia jotka maustoin parilla tipalla hattaran- […]

  • these look so good! i just have some questions – i don’t have a microwave, so can i melt the gelatine over hot water instead? and is it possible to halve the recipe? if so, do the whisking times and syrup temperature change? looking forward to hearing your advice 🙂 thank you!

    • Yes, and yes to halving the recipe too. However! It does get tricky when you work with so little syrup in the pot. I also find that the whipping time is less, just rely on the visual cues outlined in the frontmatter of the book. Remember that mallows keep for weeks in an airtight container, so making a full batch might not be such a bad idea. 🙂

  • Hi Shauna,

    I have your “Marshmallow Madness” book, and I’ve made at least 5 or 6 different kinds of marshmallows from it, all of which were delicious! But, I consistently have a small issue – after unmolding the marshmallows from the pan and cutting them, the sides and bottoms of the cut marshmallows don’t ever seem to “dry out”. Even after coating the marshmallows, after some time (usually only about 30 minutes) the coating gets absorbed, and the sides and bottoms get kind of goopy.

    Before, I’d thought this might have been due to using fruit juice or other ingredients in the marshmallows, but this weekend I made the plain vanilla mallows and had the same problem. Do you have any suggestions for how to fix this? (I was thinking it might help to cook the syrup to a little more than 240 F, but I’m not sure how high to go.)


    • I’m having this issue, too, Emily. Uf. I tried the Margarita and Deeply Chocolate marshmallows and with both, the mallow doesn’t firm up after beating as much as it should and the coating continues to be absorbed. Bah! I’m not sure what I could be doing. My climate is dry and I’ve made many different marshies in the past, all with success. Ayudame! Lol.

      • Hi Michelle! If it’s a consistent issue, try reducing the water in the bloom by one or two tablespoons. Also, in the search bar, type “marshmallow troubleshooting” and you’ll find a post with lots of helpful tips! 🙂

  • […] seemed the obvious choice. Following Shauna Sever’s Marshmallow Madness recipe for Classic Vanilla Marshmallows, I stirred in more of those mini m&ms at the finish for confetti cake […]

  • Hi Shauna,
    It was the second time to try making vanilla marshmallow. The first time turned out good, so second time, I was fold in some caramel at the end. I let dried for 24 hours, the top and bottom were dried and inside was wet. Do you have any idea why was happen? Thank you.

    • Was it a storebought sauce? I have a Sea Salt Caramel Swirl marshmallow recipe in the book that should fit the bill!

  • […] Recipe I used is from Shauna Sever. […]

  • Hi Shauna,

    Love your recipes! I’m wondering if it is possible to use your recipes without the corn syrup?

    • I recommend brown rice syrup for a good swap!

  • Hello,

    I was wondering if you would/could use agar-agar, pectin or some other form instead of gelatin. We don’t eat it anymore. Would the same amount 4 and 1/2 teaspoons be used to replace?
    Thank you

    • Hi Sunny!

      The short answer is no–the gelatin-based recipes in the book all need the ingredients as called for to be successful. But you might want to check out the vegan marshmallow recipe in the book. It uses a specialty product in place of gelatin, but after many tests with agar-agar and other gelatin substitutes, it’s the only product I found that delivers consistent results. Hope that helps!

  • What is the weight measurement you use for your sugar? Also, can these be made and just leave the corn syrup out? I have tried using the spray on the pan instead of dusting it – but the marshmallow seems to slip/pull away from the sides since it’s slippery.. so hard to smooth and get in to all the corners? I would love to have it work.. because I know the coating does kind of stick to the bottom of the mallows in a weird texturey way..

  • […] vanilla marshmallows – going to give these a try over the […]

  • Shauna I am trying to make marshmallow to put into ice cream cones like back in the day they made the Yum Yum Marpo marshmallow candy ice cream cones, so im trying to make homemade ones for my kids and I’m just wondering where i would fit the step of filling the cones, would it be after it set for 6 hours or would it be right away and then let them set in the cones


  • I have a couple of other marshmallow recipes, but I made yours last week and they are the best! At first I thought they might be too soft, but after the full standing time they were just perfect. I dipped them in chocolate, put them in the freezer and kept them all for myself.

  • […] I wouldn’t say that the marshmallow recipe I used was difficult to follow. To the contrary, I would actually say it was quite an easy recipe to make. […]

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