I have fond memories of going to the neighborhood rec center, memories of barbecued Korean short ribs, the telltale scent of chlorine, moments spent splashing around with friends. Every day spent there would wind down with us pulling chairs up to the fire pit, all wet hair and shivering at the sudden onset of dusk. Hopefully someone had brought marshmallows. Hungry again after more pool time, us kids dove our raisiny hands into the plastic bag of Jet-Puffed, puncturing them viciously onto bamboo skewers. I remember them with all senses. They’re bright white and dusted with a powdery layer of what’s likely cornstarch. You had to have the correct roasting technique; only the impatient savages gleefully stuck them directly into the fire, their smiles turning to fear as what had once been delicious metamorphosed from a burning fireball into an inedible coal-like substance. Instead, I kept mine an inch away from the flames, rotating it gently like a rotisserie chicken. Once the surface browned into an even golden color, I sucked the top layer away before returning my prize to its hearth. It was never about the taste, really. Jet-Puffed marshmallows were just a receptacle for me to practice my roasting skills. Sure, they tasted pretty decent to my undeveloped tastebuds, but always with a side of cloying sweetness that got old fast.
I’ve wanted to make my own marshmallows for a long time, really; nostalgia for those summer pool days is a likely cause. But the prospect of candy thermometers and boiling hot sugar syrup frightened me, so I put it off for years. No marshmallows, but I spent my free hours tinkering around with the basics: cookies, cakes, breads. Recently I realized that I was surely skilled enough to handle marshmallows at this point. And sure enough, it was a piece of cake. So easy, in fact that I think that anyone could make them, regardless of whether you cook frequently or not (as long as you have a solid candy thermometer and a steady grip). And goddamn, homemade marshmallows really reside in a different realm than their supermarket counterparts. Squidgy and soft still, but with a balanced sweetness and a greater depth of flavor. And of course, you probably already guessed that homemade marshmallows make the dreamiest, meltiest s’mores… but please Lindt, not Hershey’s.
matcha vanilla marshmallows
recipe from the kitchn
- 3 packets (3 tbsp) powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tbsp matcha
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, making sure to reach all the corners (use a tissue to spread the oil around).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attached, mix the cold water, vanilla and gelatin together until it reaches the consistency of applesauce. Set aside.
Pour the 3/4 cup water into a large saucepan. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and salt on top without stirring.
Over medium-high heat, bring the sugar mixture to a rapid boil without stirring. While coming to a boil, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash the sides of the pan down so that the sugar doesn't crystallize.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil until mixture reaches 247°F to 250°F.
Turn on stand mixer to medium speed. Slowly drizzle in the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl.
Once all the syrup is added, turn the speed up to high and let beat for about 10 minutes, until white in color and the consistency of thick lava.
Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan with an oiled spatula.
Mix the matcha powder and about 1-2 tsp water together. Add to the remaining marshmallow batter and beat until incorporated. Spread the matcha marshmallow into the pan. Use a chopstick or knife to swirl the vanilla and matcha marshmallow together. Smooth out the top with a spatula covered with cooking spray.
Let the marshmallow set for 6-24 hours uncovered at room temperature. Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar (add 1 tbsp matcha for a green powder) and sift over the top of the marshmallow.
Turn the marshmallow block onto a cutting board covered with the cornstarch/sugar mix. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter (dipping it in water helps), slice the marshmallows into squares. You can also use cookie cutters to cut the marshmallows.
Toss the marshmallows in the remaining powdered sugar mix. Store in an airtight container for up to several weeks.