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Amy's Blog

backyard camping and homemade marshmallows



When we got married, over 6 years ago now, one thing my husband insisted that we register for was a camping tent. We registered for one, we got one, and then it got put away into a closet. I hate to admit that we still hadn’t used that tent, until last week, that is.


That’s right, we went camping, with a 2 1/2 year old and an almost 8 month old…

in our backyard.


Don’t worry, I haven’t gone totally batty, yet. I am so not crazy brave enough to try real camping, in a tent, with our boys yet. Give me a year or two and I’ll be all over it.

Or give me an rv and we can go next week.


Oh and did I mention that Mason and I slept in the house? Yeah, there was no way all 4 of us would have gotten any decent sleep in that tent. This was definitely a Daddy and Liam sleeping adventure, which actually went much better than any of us expected.


So, yes. We put up our tent in the yard, built a charcoal fire in a little bitty bbq, and roasted hotdogs for dinner & marshmallows for s’mores. After this little backyard camping adventure, I’m even more certain that I’ll hold off on the real deal for awhile. I loved being able to take a carrot covered Mason straight into the bathtub after dinner. Oh and forget to bring something outside? Don’t worry, just walk back inside to get it. This was perfect for some out of the ordinary and not super difficult memory making fun for Liam. A couple of days later, when we were outside, “Where is my tent?!?!” I guess we’ll be pulling it out for another camp out soon.


Now, all my life, I’ve used store bought marshmallows for s’mores and never had any complaints. A couple of years ago, I saw an episode of Good Eats, with Alton Brown, that was all about making your own marshmallows. Before the episode was finished, I knew I was going to have to make some. I’ve never even been a huge marshmallow fan, but it was just something I had to try. I’m all about trying recipes for things that are normally store bought (I’ve also made goldfish & oreos). They might not always taste exactly like the original, but I’ll know exactly what’s in them and what’s definitely not in them. I had made these marshmallows several times before but never used them for s’mores before. I thought this was a perfect chance to try them out, and I’m thrilled to report they were a total success.





Now this is a pretty simple recipe, not many ingredients, but there are a few specific steps that have to be followed precisely. You’ll need to have a candy thermometer and I wouldn’t attempt this recipe if you don’t have a stand mixer. This recipe is also a great blank canvas just waiting to be customized. You can add any number of extracts or flavorings (instant coffee is one of my favorites), I’ve mixed in chocolate chips at the last minute (they melt and swirl into the marshmallows), or you can dip them in chocolate/candy melts and then in sprinkles or nuts. The options are endless!


Since I follow this recipe almost exactly as it’s written from Alton, I thought about just giving you the link and leaving it at that. But then what would I do with the step-by-step photos I took for you??? So here goes.

Homemade Marshmallows

3 packages Unflavored Gelatin
1 cup ice cold Water (Before I get started, I take a measuring cup like this, put 1 cup of water in it, and stick it in the freezer to get nice and cold.)
12 ounces Granulated Sugar (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 tspn Kosher Salt
1 tspn Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (You may end up needing more than this.)
1/2 cup Cornstarch (You may end up needing more than this too.)
Nonstick spray (I use one of these misto sprayers filled with olive oil instead of the usual store-bought nonstick spray. It’s not ideal for this application because you want a thin, even coating for the cornstarch and powdered sugar to grab onto, but it works and I know all I’m spraying is olive oil.)

1. With the whisk attachment ready on your stand mixer, add all 3 packages of unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup of the ice cold water to the bowl. Set aside.


2. In a small saucepan, add the other 1/2 cup of ice cold water, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and salt. Cover with lid.

3. Set the pan over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. (This allows the sugar crystals to get all nice and dissolved into a syrup)

4. Once the 3-4 minutes is up, remove the lid, attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the syrup reaches 240° F . Once it reaches that temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Never in this cooking process will you need to use a spoon or anything to stir. Promise.

5. Turn your mixer onto the lowest speed and pour the sugar syrup into the bowl of your mixer. It’s good to try and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, as it will help drop the temperature of it faster.
6. Once all of the syrup is in the bowl, turn the mixer up to the highest speed and whip it until it is very thick and only barely warm. Initially, it will be all steamy, but that subsides once it starts to cool down. Alton’s recipe says 12-15 minutes, but I usually only run it around 12.
7. While the marshmallows are whipping into their fluffy goodness, you’ll want to get your pan prepped. Really, you can use just about any shape/size dish to mold your marshmallows into, but I always use a 9×13 metal baking pan. Mine has square bottom edges which I like for making square marshmallows. Someday, I’ll get a pan that has all square corners, so all my marshmallows can be square.

8. Mix together the cornstarch and powdered sugar. Alton’s recipe says 1/4 cup of each, but I always end up using more, especially once I have the marshmallows cut. You’ll want them to be thoroughly coated so that they don’t stick together. So, start with whatever amounts that you want, since you can always make more, but just equal parts of each.

9. Spray the pan lightly, but evenly with nonstick spray or your oil of choice. Then sprinkle the cornstarch/sugar mixture evenly and shake around (over a bowl to catch the extra for use later) to make sure that ALL SIDES ARE COATED. Trust me, this marshmallow goo will stuck to anything that’s not coated in this stuff.

10. In the last minute of whipping, add the vanilla or any other extracts or flavorings you want to use. If adding something like chocolate chips, once the whipping is finished, turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add the chips, mixing as little as possible.

11. Once the marshmallows are all whipped up, spray a spatula with your nonstick spray, and work quickly to get the marshmallow goo into your prepared pan. It will settle a little bit, but you want to try and smooth it out the best that you can.
12. Once the marshmallow goo is spread evenly in your pan, sprinkle with more cornstarch & powdered sugar mixture, and set aside for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
13. When the long waiting time is finally up, turn the sheet of marshmallows out onto a cutting board, and using a pizza cutter, cut into desired size shapes.
14. Add as much cornstarch & powdered sugar mixture is needed to coat all sides of the marshmallows. Believe me, they will stick together if they aren’t coated in the stuff. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, if they last that long.

Not that hard, right? You can totally make these too! They’re perfect for making s’mores during your next backyard camping adventure.

love and butter,

posted under candy, dessert | 4 Comments »