Valentine's Day is this coming weekend and although many of us object to the pressure of gifts and expensive dinners, or the alternative pressure put on people not in relationships, we should all celebrate that it's a holiday largely based on candy. Whether you are celebrating with a loved one or friends, enjoying hot chocolate with homemade bourbon vanilla marshmallows is always a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon (assuming your loved ones are over 21).
This recipe is a slight variation on Alton Brown's regular vanilla marshmallows (which I've posted about before). Adding bourbon to the gelatin at the beginning of the recipe ensures that most of the alcohol burns off when the hot sugar syrup is poured over it. If you want a boozier version just add some or all of the bourbon at the end when you whisk in the vanilla.
Bourbon Vanilla Marshmallows
Adapted from Alton Brown
- 3 packets unflavored gelatin (each packet is .25 oz or 7g)
- 3/4 cup cold water, divided
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Nonstick spray
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add gelatin and pour 1/4 cup of the water and the bourbon over it. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment ready.
Grease a 9x13 pan and wipe down with paper towel to evenly distribute. Combine cornstarch and confectioners sugar in a bowl and add to the greased pan. Shake to evenly coat and return excess to bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, the remaining 1/2 cup water, and salt. Cook on medium high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Clip on the candy thermometer and continue to cook on medium high (without stirring) until temperature reaches 240F, about 10 minutes. Note: Watch the pot as the mixture can bubble up and the temperature plateaus and then suddenly shoots up to 240F.
When the mixture has reached temperature, remove it from the heat and start the mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin.
Once all of the hot sugar mixture has been added turn the mixer speed up to high and allow to whip up until the marshmallow is fluffy and warm to the touch, about 12-14 minutes. You'll also hear the mixer's motor working harder towards the end which is a sign that your marshmallow is ready. In the last minute of whipping, add the vanilla paste or extract. Note: The marshmallow will look brown when it first starts whipping up - don't worry, it will turn white as soon as more air is incorporated.
Using a spatula, spread marshmallow into prepared 9x13 pan. To spread and even out the top, lightly wet your hands and press down on the marshmallow. Sprinkle top with more of the cornstarch-sugar mixture and allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours up to overnight. Cut into desired size squares using a wet a or oiled knife and coat all sides in cornstarch-sugar mixture. You can also cut out fun shapes using cookie cutters!