Homemade marshmallows are one of those things that just blow people's minds. Nothing is more delightful. I love making marshmallows of all sorts, but these Bubble Gum Marshmallows are everything a good mallow should be--tender, fluffy and sweet and with a hit of novelty flavoring. And PINK, for crying out loud. Divinely whimsical, basically.
I feel like marshmallows define me as a cook and baker for a couple reasons. First, like I said, they bring childlike joy to anyone you give them to (and oh, do they ever make great gifts!). Second, they are equal parts food and crazy science experiment. With my first cookbook all about Homemade Marshmallows coming out next Spring, I am hoping to become the Oprah of Marshmallows. Because I really love them that much. —Shauna Sever
unflavored powdered gelatin
light corn syrup
pure vanilla extract
bubble gum flavoring (I like LorAnn candy oils)
soft pink food coloring
confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
Grease a quarter-sheet pan (or similar baking pan that measures about 8x12 inches) with a small amount of shortening, using a paper towel to rub it lightly and evenly onto the bottom, sides and edges of the pan. Set aside.
Combine the gelatin and 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl and let the gelatin soften for 5 minutes.
Place the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup water and pinch of salt 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. Microwave the gelatin on high until it 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. Beat in the vanilla. Beat in the bubble gum flavoring, just a couple drops at a time, stopping the mixer to taste the marshmallow, adding more drops until you reach the desired intensity of bubble gum flavor. Beat in the food coloring, drop by drop, until you get the color you're looking for.
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 confectioners' sugar and cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great here for squares). 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.
Shauna Sever is the author of Real Sweet, Pure Vanilla, and Marshmallow Madness!, and is the voice behind the popular blog Piece of Cake. As a baking expert and television host, she has appeared on Food Network, NPR, CHOW, eHowFood, and more. Her work has been published in O, The Oprah Magazine; USA Weekend; Woman's World; Fine Cooking; Parade; the Huffington Post; and many others. She lives with her husband and their two children in Oak Park, Illinois.