It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter

Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows | for the love of the south

Making homemade candies during the holidays is a great pleasure of mine. These marshmallows are particularly wonderful. The sound of the sugar and syrup boiling in the saucepan sounds like the pinging crackle of snowflakes hitting the ground, and the texture of the dusted, springy marshmallows remind me of a perfect blanket of freshly fallen snow. Mostly, I adore making these because I love hot chocolate, and these little beaming beauties are like the lights on the tree and the warmth of the hearth, they are the perfect crowning glory to a season of childlike wonder, pure happiness and eternal bliss.

Recipe: Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows

Adapted from Bon Appetit |Orangette

Makes 24, 2-inch marshmallows

Note: Serve these wonderfully springy marshmallows with your favorite hot chocolate, sandwich them in between chocolate and graham crackers for luscious s’mores, or package up in cellophane bags as Christmas favors for guests to bring home and indulge in later.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

3/4 cup of cold water, divided

¼ cup of cold bourbon

3 ¼-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin

2 cups of sugar

2/3 cup of light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of cornstarch

1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Line a 13x9x2-inch pan (or a 8×8-inch pan for taller, cubed marshmallows) with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment paper with nonstick spray.

Pour ¼ cup of cold water and ¼ cup cold bourbon into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water and bourbon. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs liquid, at least 15 minutes.

Combine 2 cups of sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining ½ cup of water in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium to medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240 degrees, about 8 minutes.

With the mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until mixture is thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.

Quickly scrape the mixture into prepared pan. Smooth the top with wet offset spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Stir cornstarch and powdered sugar together in a small bowl to blend. Sift a generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto a work surface, forming a rectangle slightly larger than your pan. Turn marshmallow slab onto the starch-sugar mixture and peel parchment off of the slab. Sift more starch-sugar over slab. Coat large knife with nonstick spray and cut marshmallows into squares. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to a rack, shaking off excess mixture.

Marshmallows can be made two weeks ahead, kept in an airtight container with parchment paper in between the layers of marshmallows.

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Tags: c-teamblog, cocktails&cuisine


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Comment by Amber Wilson on January 21, 2014 at 10:38am


Oh that sounds like so much fun! I made marshmallows solo many times during the holidays, and it NEVER ceased to amaze me! Those chai tea and vanilla ones sound delightful! 

Comment by Emily Laborde Hines on January 21, 2014 at 10:28am

Thought of you and this yesterday...went to a marshmallow making class at this cute sweet shop in Columbus, Indiana yesterday! Made some chai tea and vanilla puffs- so good!

Comment by Amber Wilson on January 10, 2014 at 12:01pm


Thanks so much! It was my pleasure to share this lovely recipe with y'all! 



Comment by Shannon Reeves on January 9, 2014 at 2:12pm

Oh my goodness, I love this! Thank you Amber!

Comment by Amber Wilson on January 7, 2014 at 12:54pm


Thank you! The bourbon is a lovely surprise that adds a little something extra to these beauties! They are pure heaven as they melt away gently into hot chocolate…. 



Comment by Tamara Eckles on January 6, 2014 at 12:15pm

I LOVE making homemade marshmallows!! They are the best. Now, the bourbon is a suprising element so I'm sure they took these marshmallows to the next level!

Comment by Amber Wilson on January 6, 2014 at 11:58am


These are absolutely wonderful and so easy to make! If I had business skills, I would probably sell them!

I have heard of placing chocolate at the bottom of a skillet, then covering the chocolate with marshmallows and placing the whole skillet under the broiler for a few minutes until the marshmallows were toasted and scooping up the entire marshmallow/chocolate combo with graham crackers! It's a great way to feed s'mores to a group! These marshmallows would put a dish like that over the top!

Comment by whitney long on January 6, 2014 at 11:50am

Amber, you should make these and sell them!  They sound so good.  I would definitely buy some!  A friend of mine was recently at an event and Alton Brown was the guest speaker.  It was at his studio/facility and he demonstrated how to make a giant marshmallow and then would cook it with what was basically a blow torch.  It made it like roasting marshmallows over the fire.  They would then use graham crackers to scrap the yummy crispy brown outer layer and then he would fire it up again and keep repeating this to achieve the roasted consistency.  She said it was amazing and was so inspired she did her own for the holidays.  Isn't that a clever idea? 

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