Old Fashioned Marshmallows

A variation on the recipe in Joy of Cooking, originally published in 1931.


4 Tablespoons (packets) of plain granulated Knox gelatin

1/2 cup of cold water

2 cups of granulated sugar

½ cup white corn syrup (Karo)

½ cup hot water

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract or any other flavoring, amount may vary according to taste, and you must taste test (a lot) in order to reduce the quantity slightly to fit into the jelly roll pan!**

powdered sugar (for dusting)

candy thermometer (I use a Pampered Chef digital food thermometer that has a timer and temperature sensor. It beeps when the temperature is reached. This is a very good thing.)

Double batch ingredients:

8 Tablespoons of plain granulated Knox gelatin

1 cup of cold water

4 cups of granulated sugar

1 cup white corn syrup (Karo)

1 cup hot water

4 egg whites

2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract (preferred!)**


  1. Put the gelatin in a bowl and add the water. Stir quickly with a fork. It will become a rubbery mass, but will dissolve when added to the hot sugar mixture. Set aside.
  2. Put sugar, corn syrup, and the hot water in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar is mixed in.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture reaches 240° F. Be ready to remove the pan from the heat just as it reaches the 240° temp. If it overcooks, the mallows will be tough and you’ll have great difficulty getting the goo out of the mixing bowl!
  4. In the meantime, in the large mixing bowl of the stand-up (KitchenAid) mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the whisk beater.
  5. Add the gelatin to the hot sugar mixture when it reaches 240° (it will foam). Stir until dissolved. Add flavoring and stir.
  6. Pour a thin, steady stream into beaten egg whites, gradually increasing stream, until the pan is empty, beating with the whisk beater. Increase the speed gradually, to reduce splashing, to high speed. Beat for about 15 minutes, during which time feel free to test for taste. You can always add more flavoring. The mixture will be like a soft marshmallow creme, and is so good.
  7. Pour into a non-stick pan that has been thoroughly, though lightly, sprayed with plain, non stick cooking spray or oiled with cooking oil. (Don’t grease with Crisco.)
  8. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top of the marshmallow goo and let set about 2-3 hours (but maybe less) until firm. You can lightly cover with waxed paper if desired and cut them the next day, if you can wait that long.
  9. Cut with a knife, kitchen scissors, pizza cutter, or small cookie cutters that have been dipped first in water. You can peel the marshmallow out of the pan and cut it with a pizza cutter on top of a large wooden bread board dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Dust all cut sides with the sifted sugar. Store in Ziploc bags or an airtight container.

Additional Notes:

If using a jelly roll pan, lightly oil the nonstick Calphalon jelly roll pan along the bottom, sides, and rim of the pan. You’ll be glad you did it when the marshmallow mass just peels out of the pan.

For cutting up the marshmallows, work at the counter on a piece of waxed paper dusted with powdered sugar.

You need a large bowl or a large plastic bag for dusting the squares. One method of removing the marshmallow from the pan is first to use a wet knife to separate the set stuff from the sides of the pan and then to ease the rest out of the pan with a plastic spatula. This is easy because you oiled the pan. Once you get it started, you can pull the whole mass out of the pan in one piece.

Put top side down on dusted wax paper and dust the bottom with the sifted powdered sugar. Cut into long strips with a kitchen shears dipped in water and then cut into cubes. Work with a couple of strips at a time. You will need to dust a few as you go.

Whole mixing process takes about a half hour. Then you have to wait two or three hours for the goo to set. Once the setting is complete, you must taste test many times to be assured that each marshmallow passes “quality control.”

A double batch makes a lot of marshmallows, so there’s plenty to share! You will not lack for friends who would love to receive them as gifts or bribes.

** These marshmallows can be flavored however you like with any flavoring extract. For Christmas, you can use Peppermint Extract (from the grocery store). There is also “Mint Extract,” but it is spearmint, so choose carefully. To make the peppermint marshmallows look peppermint-y, add red food coloring to the marshmallow mixture and then swirl drops of food coloring on the surface immediately after pouring the mixture into the jelly roll pan. To do this, drip several drops on the surface and then swirl a knife blade through them a lot to get the marbled effect.