Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

So here we are, guys. Just days away from the most marshmallow-y holiday of all! Mallows seem to be everywhere these days, from sweet little packets of artisan treats to ahem, a certain book all about the subject, to those ubiquitous Peeps and bunnies in day-glo colors. Hooray! To me, marshmallows are the ultimate happy candy, and really, whether they're packaged or homemade, I love them. Of course, I've become quite partial to from-scratch mallows myself, as I can now make them practically in my sleep, but that is neither here nor there. I want to get you mallowing right along with me, to make me feel a little less crazy. 'Tis the season, after all! Come along, won't you?

 A few days ago, I pointed you to a little video demonstrating the joys of a homemade version, but with a good basic marshmallow batter, piping out little chicks and other shapes is only the beginning. You can spread this fluffy, sweet goodness into any pan or mold, so long as it's prepped with nonstick cooking spray. Cut it into squares or use cookie cutters, roll them in a basic marshmallow coating of cornstarch and confectioners' sugar, or get extra crafty with colored sugars, sprinkles, crushed cookies or nuts...divine! You'd think I'd be so over marshmallows by now, but nay. I still have a full-blown addiction. My basic mallow recipe is the mother of them all, easily customizable with different food colorings, extracts and candy oils of all sorts. Get ready to get that sugar high on, friends.

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows

To make Classic Coating for these (and any other marshmallow, for that matter) simply combine 1 1/2 parts confectioners' sugar and 1 part cornstarch or potato starch. You can whisk or sift them together, or take them for a quick whir in the food processor. Make a couple cups at a time and store in an airtight container for months on end.

I love to Super Vanilla-ize these marshmallows with a bit of vanilla bean paste or a scraped whole vanilla bean, for an extra hit of flavor and all those beautiful, fancy little flecks. If you're using any food colorings or additional flavorings, beat them in along with the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

Immediately placing all your mallowing tools in a sink or bowl of hot water makes cleanup super simple.

The Bloom: 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin 1/2 cup cold water

The Syrup: 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided 1/4 cup water 1/8 teaspoon salt

The Mallowing: 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup Classic Coating (see note), plus more for dusting

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 minutes.

Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running. when the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; the finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. Pour it into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over top. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

Vanilla, CandyShauna Sever