“Would you make marshmallows?” is the refrain. If my aunt—Chuttie is her pet name—dares to ask what she can bring to special event, this slightly hesitant request comes back from her nieces every time. Or at least as often as we feel we can make the request it. We do worry about putting Chuttie out since these marshmallows are a little fussy to make, as working with sugar is. Once the sugar is at the right stage, you have to work very quickly. But other than that this is a matter of mixing and waiting. Though we nieces have started to make our aunt’s recipe ourselves, our batches aren’t as “perfect” to us…not as silky inside, not quite as bouncy to the touch. Truthfully, they’re just not “hers”. To anyone else who won’t know to miss her special touch, these will be the best little marshmallows you’ve ever had.
1 oz regular gelatin
1 c boiling water
1 lb sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Softened butter or vegetable oil for greasing pan
3 tbs icing sugar
Dissolve the gelatin in half a cup of the boiling water in a small bowl and set aside. Add the remaining half cup of boiling water to a medium saucepan, pour in the sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Then simmer for 10 minutes at which point, to test the sugar for doneness, drop a tiny amount of the sugar into a bowl of water. Rather than dissolve, you should be able to pick the ball of sugar up and it should still be pliable, not hard. If it is hard, carefully add a little more water to the pan and re-test. A note, and sorry to sound bossy, to remind you that sugar is dangerously hot at this stage so make sure your work space is free of clutter, distraction and little kids.
At the desired stage, remove from heat and immediate add the dissolved gelatin and vanilla and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 4 x 9-inch loaf pan well.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer for about 12 minutes until its turned thick, milky white and flows in ribbons from the whisks when they’re lifted. Immediately pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Add 4 or 5 drops of the food colouring to the remaining mixture, mix well and pour on top of the mixture in the pan. The mixture should flow and settle evenly into the pan. Let cool completely and dust the top evenly with some of the icing sugar, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave to set overnight or for 24 hours at room temperature. Reserve the remaining icing sugar in a large, seal-able plastic bag or container large enough to hold twice the amount of the marshmallow loaf.
Once set, you may be able to pull the marshmallow away from the sides of the pan with your fingers and lift it out, if not, slide a butter knife around any parts that stick. Once removed, place the loaf on a cutting board dusted with some of the reserved sugar. Cut the loaf into marshmallow blocks about 1-inch in size and transfer to the bag or container with the remaining icing sugar. Seal and shake to coat all of the pieces with sugar which will prevent them from sticking. Serve or store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.