Homemade Marshmallows

Every Christmas Eve, we make a big bonfire and sit around it telling Christmas stories, reading the scriptural account of Jesus' birth, roasting homemade marshmallows, eating sugar cookies, and sipping hot chocolate.  We stay up as late as the kids want, then it's tub time and off to bed so that Santa can come.  We started this little tradition a few years ago.  Everyone in our extended family either has to work or has some kind of Christmas party on the 24th.  We were always alone on Christmas Eve, so we created something that we could do to have fun and be together as a family.  I love having a unique family tradition, and I hope that my kids grow up to remember Christmas Eve as something that was always fun and really special.

Since we are talking traditions, have you ever had a homemade marshmallow?  These are a tradition at our house every Christmas.  Ohhhhhhhhhh.......baby!!!  They are incredible!  These are soft and literally melt in your mouth.  (***Excuse me, I am wiping the drool off of my chin!***)  They are the best roasted marshmallows that I have ever had, they brown beautifully over a campfire.  These are also one of the simplest things in the world to make...no kidding!  If you have a stand mixer, a couple of ingredients and about 15 minutes, you can make your family a delightful treat that they will never forget.  You will never go back to store bought marshmallows...EVER!

One of my little secrets to out-of-this-world-marshmallows is that I use homemade bourbon vanilla.  I buy the best Madagascar vanilla beans and I soak them in a really good Bourbon for at least 6 months.  I put about 3 split beans per jar (about 12-16 ounces) of bourbon, after 6 months to a year, you have something that you will cling to.  It makes chocolate chip cookies taste like nothing you have ever had before, and you can taste the vanilla and bourbon at the end of each marshmallow, kind of at the back of your tongue.  I use vodka based vanilla for things that you wouldn't want to taste the alcohol in.  Yep...little Farmgal secret sharing...just because I love y'all!

Modified from Martha Stewart

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp homemade bourbon vanilla
vegetable oil cooking spray
powdered sugar 


Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper (leave an overhang of parchment to use as "handles" to help remove the marshmallows later).  Pour 1/3 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Sprinkle with gelatin and let the mixture soften, about 5 minutes.  

Place sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan.  Whisk together to combine.  Cover, bring to a boil.  Remove lid, cook, swirling occasionally, until the syrup reaches 238ºF, about 5 minutes.  

With the mixer on low speed, whisk the gelatin mixture and slowly pour in the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl.  Gradually raise the speed up to high, beat until the mixture is thick, white, and almost tripled in size, about 12 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat about 30 seconds, until combined.  

Pour the mixture into prepared baking sheet and smooth with a spatula.  Let stand at room temperature, uncovered for 3 hours or overnight.  

Cut (with a pizza cutter sprayed with non-stick spray), roll each marshmallow in powdered sugar and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.  

*note: for thicker marshmallows, use a 9 x 9-inch pan, or double the recipe and use a 12 x 17-inch.*


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