It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
I was baking recently, and the recipe required about two jars of marshmallow fluff. I added it to my grocery list, but after checking two or three stores near my apartment, I came up empty. How is it possible that fluff is so hard to find? No matter: I knew I had seen it made from scratch somewhere before. I did a quick search on my phone and was pleased to learn that the only ingredient I needed that I didn't already have at home was corn syrup.
More: Once you make your fluff, mix it with some berries.
I know, I know. Corn syrup is bad for you! Corn syrup blah blah blah. Look, we all enjoy candy and ice cream and the occasional cheese fry or bag of Cheetos, don't we? A little corn syrup never hurt anyone, and life is all about balance. So, armed with a big bottle, I returned home to whip up my very own small batch of marshmallow fluff.
The process is so easy, it made me wonder why hadn't I always made fluff at home. I'll admit that when I first poured the hot syrup into the fluffy egg whites, I was a little nervous. But as soon as they had whipped for a minute or so, I knew I would be victorious. In under an hour you, too, can have your very own beautiful marshmallow fluff, ready to be added to pie, swirled into brownies, or slathered on a graham cracker with a slab of milk chocolate. I've also considered adding it to a frozen icebox cake.
I made a big, juicy berry pie and served a big bowl of fluff alongside it. Obviously, my guests happily spooned large dollops of sticky, sweet fluff on top of each slice, and some friends even ate it straight out of the jar. One even declared the fluff to be her new boyfriend and claimed that they were very happy together. As you can tell, this is some seriously good party fare.
More: Use your fluff in a no-bake S'mores Pudding Cake.
Don't feel constrained by the recipe, though -- get creative and use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, add a little rum or bourbon, or try a sprinkle of cinnamon.
As an added bonus, it's also much cheaper to make fluff at home than it is to buy it. I've seen fluff priced for as much as $6 per small jar at a bodega in Brooklyn. For that price, you can make at least three jars' worth of fluff.
What you do with all of that extra goodness is up to you. I promise that I won't judge if you immediately remove your mixing bowl from its stand, grab a spoon, throw on a good movie, and go to town. My apartment has already seen this recipe duplicated at least three times, and there's no end in sight. It's just that addictive.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, until it reaches 240° F on a candy thermometer.
Be careful not to let the mixture bubble over: Turn the heat down if you need to, and keep a watchful eye over it. This might take a little longer than you think, but just keep at it. (Mine took about 10 minutes, but when you're standing there watching, it feels like an eternity. The mixture got stuck at around 220 for what seemed like forever, but then it eventually got up to 240.)
Meanwhile, place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed. You want to have the egg whites whipped and ready to go so that your syrup can be drizzled in. (If they whip before your syrup comes to temperature, just stop the mixer until the syrup is ready, which is what I did.)
When the syrup reaches 240° F, reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle about 2 tablespoons of syrup into the egg whites to temper them. (If you add too much syrup at once, the whites will scramble.) Slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup, no more than 2 tablespoons at a time.
Increase the speed to medium-high, and whip until the marshmallow fluff is stiff and glossy. This will take about 7 full minutes, and you shouldn't try to speed this process up. Finally, add in the vanilla and whip for 2 more minutes.
Use the fluff immediately, or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks. I made my fluff about 4 hours ahead of time, stored it in an airtight container, and served it with graham crackers and chocolate at a barbecue later in the day.
Photos by Sydney Kramer