Vanilla marshmallows

vanilla marshmallows

This is not another Valentine’s day post, mainly because I don’t have a valentine to talk about. I haven’t dated in awhile. I don’t know if it’s a lack of effort on my part. Or maybe I can blame the men in this city. Who knows. I can honestly say it’s been ages since I’ve even had a crush on somebody. Oh well. I’m going to quickly change the subject now.

I am still, and will always be, a sucker for anything heart-shaped.

I will continue to make cute heart-shaped confections, valentine or no valentine.


They say that the shorter the ingredient list, the harder it is to master. It’s true. Ganache is deceptively simple with only two ingredients, yet to achieve that perfect emulsion can be quite challenging. Meringue is made from egg whites, sugar, and water, and it too is one of the more difficult recipes to master and get just right every time.

I think marshmallows fall into this category as well.

vanilla marshmallows

I made these marshmallows from egg whites, gelatin, sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. They worked, as you can see from the photos, but they weren’t perfect (mine were a little wet on the bottom until I dumped them in icing sugar and cornstarch). And, of course, before having mastered the “marshmallow” techniques, I advanced to trying to replace the gelatin. That people was a fail! I substituted agar agar for the gelatin. Turns out agar agar cannot be used to make proper marshmallows because it can’t support their structure. It pays to read. (I read about this the next day after the agar experiment). My gelatin-free marshmallows looked, tasted, and smelled like marshmallows, but they were too fragile. They were not marshmallows.

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz. If you are anti-gelatin (which is understandable), I’ll save you the trouble and disappointment: don’t use agar agar. Just don’t bother. Try something else. Apparently carrageenan is a good one to try (though I have yet to test it).

While some bakers add vanilla bean to their marshmallow recipes, I prefer using pure vanilla extract and adding it at the end of the recipe to avoid damaging the flavour compounds. If you’d rather see the flecks of vanilla seeds, an alternative for the vanilla extract would be vanilla bean paste. Add the same amount!

Vanilla marshmallows

Course Confections
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 60 marshmallows
Author Janice


  • 140 grams cornstarch
  • 140 grams icing sugar
  • 2 envelopes Knox unflavoured gelatin powder
  • 125+ 80 mL cold water divided
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 100 grams corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pinch fine kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Sift together the cornstarch and icing sugar into a bowl and set aside for later.
  • In a small cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 125 mL of water. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, place the 80 mL of water, followed by the granulated sugar and corn syrup. Attach your candy thermometer to the saucepan, making sure that the tip of the probe is not touching the bottom of the pan. Begin heating the syrup over medium–high heat.
  • Place the egg whites with a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat them on low til frothy.
  • When the syrup boils, increase the mixer speed to high until the whites form stiff peaks.
  • When the syrup reaches 245°F, take the saucepan off the heat and remove the thermometer, and then slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl and over the whites, with the mixer running on low, being sure to not hit the beaters with the syrup.
  • When the syrup is all added, increase the mixer speed to medium–high. Meanwhile, add the bloomed gelatin mixture to the saucepan and melt it over very low heat til the solution is clear, then add the dissolved gelatin to the mixer bowl, along with the vanilla.
  • Beat the marshmallow mixture until it is cold.
  • Dust a parchment-lined rimmed quarter sheet pan with half the icing sugar mixture prepared earlier, then pour the marshmallow mixture on top and smooth it.
  • Let the marshmallows dry for several hours before cutting them (with well oiled scissors or oiled cookie cutters). Immediately toss the marshmallows in the powdered sugar mixture before storing.
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenhealssoul or tag #kitchenhealssoul!

egg whites, marshmallows, meringue, vanilla

5 Responses to Vanilla marshmallows

  1. Medeja February 11, 2013 at 4:14 AM #

    Oh they look really cute!

  2. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite February 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM #

    I’ve NEVER celebrated St Valentine’s Day either but, like you, am a sucker for the heart shaped candies and confections. I am heartened to hear that an amazing baker like yourself finds simple things challenging – I couldn’t agree more (look at macarons, for goodness’ sakes!). Marshmallows I find exceptionally challenging but they are on my list for this year. I’ll try this version for sure!

    • Janice Lawandi February 11, 2013 at 1:03 PM #

      So true! Macarons look so simple on paper, but in practice, even the most talented of pastry chefs have bad weeks where they just don’t work!


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