Make Ahead

Modjeska Caramel Marshmallows

January 29, 2017
0 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 15 candies
Author Notes

If there’s one romantic gesture that’s sure to woo, it’s naming a candy after the object of your affection. That’s exactly what Louisville, Kentucky, candy maker (and French immigrant) Anton Busath did to spotlight just how enamored he had become with Polish actress Helena Modjeska. In the late 1880s, the Shakespearean actress had a large cult following in the U.S., and often performed in downtown Louisville where Mr. Busath would watch, dreamy-eyed, during her shows. Ms. Modjeska was also the first person to produce a Henrik Ibsen play in the country (A Doll’s House, of course) in 1883.

While the story didn’t end quite happily ever after for Mr. Busath and Ms. Modjeska, this caramel-covered marshmallow candy has gone down in history as a testament to love and, well, super-fandom.

Recipe adapted from Kentucky Sweets.Sarah Baird

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla marshmallows, store-bought or homemade:
  1. Generously grease a marble slab or baking sheet and set aside. If using homemade marshmallows, cut into 1-inch squares. If using store-bought marshmallows, slice in half crosswise.
  2. In a heavy-bottom pot with a candy thermometer attached, combine sugar, syrup, and 1/2 cup of cream over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Pour remaining 1/2 cup of cream into a small saucepan and warm (but do not boil) separately over low heat. Once the sugar mixture begins to boil, add the remaining warmed cream in a slow, steady stream. Add butter a half a tablespoon at a time, stirring until combined, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to boil until the temperature reaches 238°F, “soft ball” stage.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in salt and vanilla extract. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and in that time, grab your greased baking sheet or slab. Using a fork, dip the marshmallows in the caramel until completely coated on all sides, then place on the greased baking sheet. Repeat to your heart’s content. Allow candies to rest for 2 to 3 hours until fully set, then wrap individually using wax paper. Store in a cool, dry place.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mithu Lahiri
    Mithu Lahiri
  • Fredrik Backman
    Fredrik Backman
  • i8sushi
  • Karen Chinn
    Karen Chinn

6 Reviews

Mithu L. February 14, 2023
Is is possible to use maple syrup in addition to the corn syrup? I want to make Bourbon-spiked, salted maple flavoured Modjeskas...
Karen C. January 4, 2018
In Jeffersonville, Indiana there is a candy shop called Schimpff's Confectionery on Spring Street in the center of town. They not only make terrific Modsjeskas but have a wonderful candy museum. Plus a bonus you can watch them make candy by hand.
Nancy M. February 7, 2017
Well that was fun! My caramel is not as dark as the picture but it's yummy. next time I will add a little more salt but they are otherwise delicious. There is a trick to coating the marshmallows which I have not quite solved. If the caramel is too hot the marshmallows begin to melt, and if it's too cool it goes on too thick. There is a Goldilocks moment right in the middle where they turn out perfectly.
Fredrik B. February 7, 2017
Is all that caramel only enough to coat 15 marshmallows? How much caramel is left over?
Nancy M. February 6, 2017
I hardly ever comment on a recipe I haven't made, but this recipe has to be an exception: I CAN HARDLY WAIT. IF I HAD MARSHMALLOWS IN THE HOUSE I WOULD BE MAKING THESE RIGHT NOW.
i8sushi February 9, 2018
Nancy Mck, I am right there with you! Planning to rush to the store after work to get a couple of ingredients, and will make this with my 8 year old son ASAP!