You know what it's like. You've been invited to a dinner party, and suddenly you're wondering what, exactly, you should bring the host — a bottle of wine, some nice olive oil, a candle? See, that's usually my dilemma — that is, up until two years ago when I realized that marshmallows make the perfect gift this time of year. And these eggnog marshmallows, in particular, will guarantee you get an invite to the next party.
Sure I could make cookies, a quick bread, or some candied nuts — but that seems so expected to me. So one year, I decided on marshmallows, and I turned out one batch of homemade marshmallows after another. I had no idea how they would be received, but then I discovered that every time they were gifted, people went completely bonkers for them.
Besides people loving a gift of homemade marshmallows, I love how easy they are to make. The hands-on time is about 15 to 20 minutes, then you set them aside for eight hours or overnight — and done! That's it. See, easy.
Tips for Homemade Marshmallows
Before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have all your tools ready to go prior to starting.
- The one tool you must have for this recipe is a candy thermometer. You can easily source on Amazon for less than $15.
- For those of you fearful of boiling sugar, don't be. If you can handle boiling water, you can handle hot sugar.
- Some marshmallow recipes skip lining the pan with parchment paper, but I prefer it as it makes it easy to remove the marshmallows once they have set. To keep the parchment from shifting around in the pan, cover it with non-stick spray prior to lining the pan (it helps the parchment stick to the pan). Once lined, give it one more quick covering of nonstick spray.
- Marshmallows are sticky, so if you are using a spatula to scrape the mixture from the bowl to the pan, cover it lightly with nonstick spray. Same goes for the offset spatula as you smooth top.
- Speaking of sticky, if you want nice clean cuts, make sure to wipe down your knife between cuts and give it a light coat of non-stick spray.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons gelatin (3 packets)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup eggnog
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nutmeg for light dusting
Line an 8-x8-inch pan with parchment. Spray lightly with cooking spray. (A little spray underneath the parchment will also help hold it in place.)
Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin on top; set aside.
In the meantime, place the sugar, eggnog, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook without stirring until candy thermometer reads 240°F, 8 to 10 minutes.
Pour the syrup mixture into gelatin mixture and whisk on low until combined. Once combined, increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, and mixture triples in volume, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until well combined.
Using a lightly oiled spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Use a lightly oiled offset spatula to smooth out top (top surface will not be completely even). Set aside to cool at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
Use a serrated knife and slice into 1-inch cubes. Whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Toss cut marshmallows in powdered sugar mixture. Dust with nutmeg. Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
(Image credits: Naomi Robinson)