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I believe everyone should try making marshmallows at least once, whether or not you think you like them. Why? First off, homemade marshmallows taste miles better than anything store bought — pleasingly bouncy texture, and real flavor (vanilla and peppermint here, or perhaps you’d prefer honey and sea salt?). Second, you’ll feel like a magician as you witness the clear syrup transform into a billowy white cloud.
Peppermint marshmallows just might be my favorite flavor — probably because if I’m making them, it’s getting close to Christmas and a festive playlist is almost certainly filling the air. These are a must-include in my holiday treat boxes each year, and usually one of the first treats I make (stored airtight, marshmallows have a great shelf-life). Use them to top your hot cocoa or put out a tray of these instead of after-dinner mints at your cookie exchange!
Here are a few tips for marshmallow success:
- Read the recipe through completely a couple times before starting. Marshmallows aren’t difficult to make, but they do require close attention to temperatures and working with hot syrups. Syrups wait for no one and once you hit the right temperatures you need to move on quickly to the next step. Measure everything ahead of time and prep all your equipment. This is a project best done without small children or animals underfoot.
- Use a digital probe thermometer for gauging temperatures. I have both a Thermoworks DOT thermometer and Polder digital probe thermometer; both work beautifully. Make sure that the tip of the probe is fully immersed in the syrup but not hitting the bottom of your pot to ensure accurate readings.
- Most marshmallow recipes are pretty similar in terms of ingredients. The biggest differences you’ll notice are in the temperature for cooking the sugar syrup — I’ve seen everything from 225F to 250F. I’ve been using this method from Bravetart for years (first from her sadly archived blog and then her cookbook). Though cooling the syrup may seem like an extra step, it’s safer than pouring boiling hot syrups into a mixer. Plus it ensures that the setting power of the gelatin won’t be compromised through overheating.
- The small amount of butter is optional — it adds a little extra flavor and tenderness.
- While you want to whip the mixture sufficiently so your mallows are nice and fluffy, don’t whip too long or the mixture will start setting in the bowl. This makes an already sticky process even messier, plus you end up losing more marshmallow than necessary to the bowl and beater. I like to pan the mixture when it’s fluffy but still sliiiightly warm and a little fluid. A greased flexible bowl scraper is by far my favorite tool for scraping the marshmallow out of the bowl and into the prepared pan.
- Use pure peppermint extract for the best taste — a little goes a long way. Do not use peppermint oil as that can cause the marshmallow to deflate.
- Watch me make these marshmallows in my Instagram highlights and this reel!
Marbled peppermint marshmallows
Makes one 8×8 pan | Adapted from Bravetart
- 21g (3 Tbsp) powdered gelatin
- 115g (1/2 c) cold water, for blooming gelatin
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 115g (1/2 c) water, for the sugar syrup
- 140g (1/3 c plus 2 Tbsp) corn syrup
- 340g (1 3/4 c minus 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar
- 1g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
- 14g (1 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted (optional)
- 1/8 tsp pure peppermint extract
- A few drops red gel food coloring (optional, for marbling)
- 30g cornstarch
- 30g icing sugar
- Prepare the pan: Lightly grease an 8×8 square pan with cooking spray.
- Bloom the gelatin: In a small, wide bowl, mix the gelatin with 115g (1/2 c) cool water and the vanilla extract. Stir to combine, making sure all the gelatin is saturated. Leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.
- Cook the sugar syrup: In a 3.5 or 4 L heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the remaining 115g (1/2 c) water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Place over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a heat-proof spatula or fork until the mixture starts bubbling, then stop stirring (stirring a boiling sugar syrup can encourage crystallization). Clip on a digital thermometer and continue cooking the syrup until it reaches 245-250F.
- Cool the syrup: Once the syrup reaches temperature, pour the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, using a flexible, heat-resistant spatula to scrape the pot. Let the syrup cool until it registers 212F, about 5-6 minutes.
- Whip the marshmallow: Once the syrup has cooled to 212F, scrape the bloomed gelatin into the bowl. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium low until the gelatin has melted, then increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the mixture is fluffy, thick, and roughly tripled in volume, about 8-10 minutes. The bowl should be slightly warm to the touch. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the melted butter, if using, and the peppermint extract; then increase the speed back to medium high and mix for a few seconds just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired. For the marbled effect, fold the mixture just a couple times with a greased spatula — most of the marbling will happen naturally as you pour the marshmallow into the pan, so don’t fold too much.
- Pan, cure, and cut the marshmallow: Use a greased spatula or flexible bowl scraper to scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Let sit, uncovered, for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) to “cure” or set the marshmallow.
- When ready to cut, sift together the cornstarch and icing sugar to make the marshmallow dust. Sift some of the dust over a cutting board, then invert the pan with the marshmallow onto the board, gently tugging it free with your fingers. Sift more of the marshmallow dust over the marshmallow. Use a sharp, oiled knife to cut the marshmallows into 6 strips (or whatever size you’d like); then cut each strip into 6 even pieces. Clean the knife between cuts for best results. Toss each marshmallow in the remaining dust to ensure it doesn’t stick. Store marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
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