Christmas at my parents is one of my favourite times of the year. The house is filled with delicious food – my Dad loves to cook and has every meal covered, with menus for the entire Christmas period. The tree is bushy, sat twinkling in the corner of our living room and our hearth in the centre of the living room is prepped for a real log fire. I’ve taken a few days off work between Christmas and New Year, and am simply looking forward to resting with nowhere to be or go, and enjoying time with my family. I love that we dress in sparkles and enjoy a sit-down brunch with Buck’s Fizz and a classic eggs royale before any swapping of presents ensues. Baileys on ice is handed out as we get cosy on the sofa and savour each gift individually.

The best part? Curling up after Christmas dinner, now changed into comfies, hot chocolate in hand {laced with rum, of course} and homemade marshmallows on skewers, ready for toasting over the fire whilst watching one of many Christmas films – Elf, Love Actually, The Holiday. I’ve never in my life made homemade marshmallows. Until this year. It always felt like an impossible feat. Sugar work has always terrified me and so I dismissed them because clearly they’d be a pain to make, right? Wrong. Minus the fact that you really need to watch them like a hawk, the most difficult bit is really in your confidence to pour the hot sugar liquid into your bowl of gelatin. If you have some helping hands, a good set of oven gloves, a sugar thermometer and {I’d advise} a metal bowl, you’re good to go.

The reason I suggest a metal bowl over a glass one is because you’ll be heating your sugary syrup to the soft-ball stage {around 240F} which is HOT. Pouring hot liquid into a glass bowl is never a good idea – so to be on the safe side, opt for metal. I used a glass Pyrex bowl the first time I made these, which was totally fine but to be quite honest, I’d rather live without the fear of the glass cracking mid-pour!

These are beautiful packaged into cellophane bags and tied with ribbon and red berry holly, or added to homemade s’mores kits – just add digestive biscuits or graham crackers and some good-quality chocolate {I love Pump Street bars for this!}. They’ll also keep for up to a month if stored in an airtight container and are perfect for plopping into hot chocolate or coffee.

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
Read this recipe through in its entirety BEFORE starting to make these – it’ll help you get to grips with what you need to do and understand the process. And, remember to not have your children anywhere near the making of marshmallows for safety!

You’ll need

Sugar thermometer – get one like this, that tells you where the soft-ball stage is!
Scraper – I have this one from Divertimeni {or you can use a rubber spatula}
9 x 13 inch tin – this Nordicware tin is amazing
Metal bowl {or a thick glass Pyrex bowl}
Heavy duty / cast iron saucepan – I have something like this that I use {Le Creuset are also great}
Oven gloves
Electric whisk
Chef’s knife {recommended}


333ml warm water + 167ml for the gelatin
36g powdered gelatin
500g granulated sugar
320ml corn syrup {I bought mine from Sous Chef}
1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped
2tsp vanilla bean paste
30g icing sugar {for coating and cutting our marshmallows}
30g cornflour {for coating and cutting our marshmallows}
¼tsp kosher salt
Salted butter for greasing


  1. First of all, get prepared: split and scrape your vanilla bean, then grease a 9 x 13 inch baking tin with high sides using your salted butter. In a separate little bowl, sift together your cornflour and icing sugar, making sure there aren’t any lumps in the mixture. Sprinkle about half of the dry ingredients into the buttered tin, so the powder sticks to the butter. Rotate and tap the tin to evenly coat the bottom and sides, then get rid of any excess by turning the tin upside down over your bin or sink. You want a generous coating to avoid the mallow sticking to your tin. Butter a dough scraper or rubber spatula with butter. Set everything aside for later.
  2. Pour 167ml of water and all the gelatin into a metal bowl {you *can* use glass, but make sure it’s heatproof – I would highly advise metal though!}. Stir this together to make sure the water will be evenly absorbed by the gelatin, then set it aside.
  3. N.B. The gelatin will soak it up and set. Don’t worry, we’ll melt it with the hot sugar and then whisk it together again!
  4. Attach your sugar thermometer {make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom} to a heavy bottomed saucepan (something like Le Creuset is perfect, or equivalent), and over a medium-low heat, melt together: sugar, 333ml water and corn syrup until the mixture comes to a low steady simmer. Do not stir it. Simply let the mixture mildly bubble until it reaches 240F or the “soft-ball” stage. This may take a while – around 10-15 minutes, but be patient and keep watching your mixture. If you need to turn up the heat to get it there, do so slowly and don’t take your eyes off it.
  5. Here’s where you need to be really careful. Using an electric whisk, whisk the gelatin to break it up {it’ll have set like jelly}. Cover your hands with oven mitts and remove the sugar mixture from the heat. Ask someone else to help by tipping the bowl with the gelatin in towards you at a 45 degree angle. Make sure their hands are also covered, and that there aren’t any children about when doing this.
  6. Pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl, hitting the side as your go to avoid any unnecessary splashes. You want a slow and steady stream, until all of the sugar syrup is in your bowl.
  7. Add pinch of salt, your vanilla bean {split and scraped} plus the vanilla bean paste then turn on your electric whisk to its lowest setting. Be really careful to stand back from your bowl to avoid getting splashed with hot sugar. Whisk for one minute before increasing the speed.
  8. Slowly increase the speed of your electric mixer and whip for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until your mallow mixture turns white and looks thick and glossy. If they need to be whipped for a little longer, continue to do so until the outside of your bowl isn’t warm to the touch anymore. The mixture should be really thick, and very sticky – similar to marshmallow fluff {and not whipped cream}.
  9. Once the mallows have reached the right consistency, take your pre-buttered dough scraper or a large flexible spatula and scrape the sticky mixture out of the mixing bowl and into the 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Work as fast as you can to get it in the tin, as it tends to dry and set quite quickly. Use the scraper or spatula to even out the top.
  10. Let it set for about 4 hours. If you’re leaving them out for longer {like overnight}, cover with clingfilm.
  11. When you’re ready to cut them, sprinkle the other half of the cornflour and icing sugar evenly on top of the set marshmallows.
  12. Use a sharp knife to go around the edge of the tin and invert it onto a chopping board. You might need to use your fingers to get underneath the mallows before inverting the tin. They’ll be quite malleable and flexible so don’t worry too much about getting a bit tough with them to prise the mallow from the bottom of your tin.
  13. Once the marshmallows are out, measure up your squares using a tape measure and make small incisions to guide you on where to cut. Cut them into large squares with a sharp, buttered chef’s knife – the butter is going to help avoid any sticking. The sharper the knife the better.
  14. Keep your marshmallows in an airtight container for up to one month.

Adapted from Little Flower Bakery Cookbook

November 30, 2020



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