I fell in love with making homemade marshmallows a couple years ago. It took only one batch to realize how easy they are to make and that most people are very surprised to learn marshmallows can be made at home (one of many reasons I like giving them as gifts). After finding a no-fail recipe in Gourmet, I've felt much more comfortable tweaking elements to create my own. These are perfect for the winter - a vanilla-infused marshmallow that's been swirled with chocolate and sealed in a cinnamon-cocoa powder coat. For the chocolate, I like to go dark (here, I used a bar with 75% cacao to offset the sweetness of the rest of the square). - notlazy.rustic. —lifeaswecookit
Test Kitchen Notes
If you've never made marshmallows you should try these -- we had a ball with this recipe! You pour hot sugar syrup into gelatin and then let the mixer work its magic, whipping up the marshmallow until it fluffs and gets bouncy. Once the marshmallow is shaped and set, you snip it into whatever size or shape marshmallows you want. For a child's treat, notlazy.rustic.'s marshmallows have an adult touch -- they're scented with chocolate and cinnamon, and not too much of either. You'll probably eat all of them plain, but you might also try dropping a few into hot chocolate. - A&M —The Editors
Lightly grease a 9x9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray or oil; set aside.
In mini food processor, chop chocolate 45 seconds, or until the chocolate is the size of tiny pebbles; you could also use a knife or spice grinder for this. Set aside.
Place 1/2 cup water in bowl of electric mixer; sprinkle gelatin over water, distributing well. Let stand while you prepare the syrup.
In medium sauce pot, combine remaining water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium; bring to a boil without stirring. Add candy thermometer; cook, without stirring, but brushing down sides with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until the mixture registers 240° F (soft-ball stage). Let sit 1 minute.
Turn electric mixer on, on low speed. Carefully pour hot sugar mixture in a stream into mixer bowl; once the mixture is incorporated, gradually increase speed to high. Beat 12-14 minutes, or until mixture is opaque and very thick. Turn mixer off. Add vanilla extract; beat 30 seconds. Add chopped chocolate and beat 15-20 seconds more, or until just melted and swirled through, but not completely combined.
Immediately transfer marshmallow to the greased pan (use a greased spatula to transfer any that sticks to the bowl). Lightly wet your hands and smooth top of marshmallow. Set aside, uncovered, until firm (about 2 hours).
Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and ground cinnamon.
Using scissors dipped in confectioners' sugar mixture, cut marshmallow into squares, tossing in powder and dusting off excess as you go. (They will be incredibly sticky, but as soon as you toss them in the sugar-cocoa powder mixture, they will be easy to package.) Package in an airtight box or plastic gift bag that is tied very well.