The temperature is dropping, the squash is out, and the chestnuts are roasting here in Florence. We are officially entering the holiday season, my friends, and I am psyched. Only 24 more days until Thanksgiving and 53 more days until Christmas! So many activities and so little time!!!
I am really on the fence about making Thanksgiving dinner this year. I absolutely love Thanksgiving, but it was a ton of work hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people last year in my tiny little kitchen… Thank goodness, Judith was able to send me her canned cranberry sauce and my beloved Pepperidge Farm stuffing before the big day so I had some assistance in the kitchen, but this year I am on my own… I know I can make my own stuffing, but I grew up on Pepperidge Farm stuffing and there are just some traditions that I am not willing to change… And stuffing is a big one. I also can’t find fresh cranberries for the life of me here… So Thanksgiving is still TBD.
In an effort to get into the Thanksgiving mindset, I have been baking up a storm in my tiny kitchen. I made Homemade Marshmallows for the first time ever and they were so incredibly delicious that I had to share. Homemade Marshmallows are like light, fluffy little clouds; they put your store-bought marshmallow to shame. They are a super quick and easy holiday treat and they elevate all of your marshmallow-desserts to another level. I originally made these marshmallows to get swirled into a Thanksgiving-themed ice cream, but I foresee myself making these again when I’m back home in the United States for some decadent Rice Krispies, brownies, cookies, and gourmet hot chocolate…
It’s a super simple recipe and a breeze to make and you can easily swap out the vanilla bean for peppermint, cinnamon, maple, or coffee extract for an extra festive holiday treat. The only thing I emphasize is to thoroughly wet your hands when spreading out the marshmallows so you don’t end up sticking to the pan yourself… It can get a bit sticky!
Yield: 4 cups of ½-inch marshmallows
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- ½ cup cold water
- Three ¼-ounce packets gelatin
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped out and reserved (Substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Line with parchment paper and generously grease the paper. Put ¼ cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it soften for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining ¼ cup water, the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Insert a candy thermometer in the pan and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 236 degrees F.
- Turn the mixer onto low speed and mix to break up the gelatin. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the gelatin, taking care to avoid the spinning whisk. Turn the mixer up to medium and then to high and continue beating until the mixture is very frothy, thick, and cool, about 12 minutes.
- Turn the mixture out onto the greased pan. Wet your hands and smooth and spread the marshmallows out in the pan. Cover with a sheet of well-greased plastic wrap or parchment and let stand overnight.
- Cut the marshmallows into ½-inch cubes and toss with powdered sugar to coat.