Saturday, 11 July 2009

Culinary experiments: homemade marshmallows

Once upon a time (oh, we were probably late high school or early college), my friends Amber and Sarah and I decided to make homemade marshmallows.  A couple of former missionaries had told us about making marshmallows when they lived in Africa.  We were so completely fascinated by the idea that we decided to give it a try.  I remember that the experiment took place in the kitchen at the Rhoton house.  Ingredients were mostly sugar, sugar, and more sugar, and some plain gelatin.  We didn't have plain gelatin but we did have some sort of flavored gelatin that was pink in color.  Maybe strawberry or cherry?  We decided that was good enough.  I don't remember much about the process, but I do remember the end result was rather nasty.  Note to self:  when making a recipe that calls for plain gelatin, do NOT use flavored.

Apparently that disaster did not deter me from ever trying to make homemade marshmallows again.  When you are desperate, you are willing to give (almost anything) a second chance.  We cannot buy marshmallows here in PNG, so a supply of Rice Crispies or a craving for smores = desperation.

So today, quire a few years after the first attempt, I decided to repeat the experiment.  The recipe came from "" which also has many other delicious goodies from cakes to breads to candies.  The site has an entire section dedicated just to lemons.  I might have to check that out for my three lemon trees.  Anyways, I found a most excellent recipe for homemade marshmallows.  Do we have all the ingredients or are the ingredients something that can be substituted?  Those are the first two questions that I ask about every new recipe.  Water and sugar and salt are readily available in PNG... check.  Vanilla, corn syrup, and gelatin are not but we happen to have a small stock of each of those items... check.  I borrowed a candy thermometer from Kathy Radcliffe... check.  OK good to go.  After heating the sugary ingredients to the appropriate temperature, the hot syrup was combined with the gelatin and whipped on high speed in the Kitchen Aid mixer.  The Kitchen Aid, BTW, was a birthday present from my parents before I left the States.  It is one awesome machine.  Amazingly after a few minutes, the syrup started to look like marshmallow goo.  The white stuff was spread into a pan, dusted with powdered sugar, and allowed to sit for about 12 hours.  The next to the last step was the messiest
 part.  The marshmallow slab was removed from the pan and cut into squares with a pizza cutter.  Each side of the marshmallow had to be dusted with a mixture of corn starch and powdered sugar to keep the squares from sticking to one another.  There was white dust all over the kitchen when I finished!  Final step was the taste test... what ooey gooey goodness!  Much better than the store bought version in my opinion.  I'm not sure I want to waste them on Rice Crispy treats.  Well, maybe one small batch.  The marshmallows are especially excellent in a mug of hot chocolate.

My overall assessment of this experiment is that it was a success.  It was a bit messy, though, so perhaps I will save future marshmallow making for special occasions.  My cousin Elizabeth also recommended cutting into shapes with a cookie cutter and dipping in chocolate.  Mom... how about a homemade chocolate covered marshmallow Santa?


  1. We love reading your blogs. Thanks for putting them on.

  2. How fun! They look wonderful!!! Like real marshmallows only square! :-)

  3. OK. It's 101 degrees outside, and my mouth is watering for hot chocolate with your homemade marshmallows.

  4. LOVE IT i want to make some :) :)

  5. You are the "Martha Stewart" of the South Pacific!!