Homemade Marshmallows for Valentines Day

I love the look on people's face when I tell them that I make my own marshmallows. In fact, the first time I made them I called to tell my little sister. She didn't say anything for a second and then asked why would I even think that you could make your own marshmallows. For some reason people think that homemade marshmallows is a hard and long process. People are shocked when I tell them how easy and quick it is to make them. Believe me when I say that once you eat a homemade marshmallow you will never go back to store bought ones.

This recipe makes about 16 small marshmallows. 
Nonstick cooking spray
3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, plus 1 vanilla bean, scraped
Confectioners' sugar, sifted, for coating

Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water;
let stand for 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds; mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.

Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

The possibilities are endless with these. You can make peppermint flavored ones by adding 1/4 teaspoon of extract. Cut them into different shapes for hot chocolate and coffees.  Cut into squares and cover in chocolate for chocolate covered marshmallows. For valentines day you can do what I did. Cut them into squares and push a stick into them. Dip into pink or red chocolate then sprinkles. Set on wax paper and let the chocolate harden. 

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