What You Need to Make Homemade Marshmallows
There are so many things that we have been trained to just buy in the store without a second thought. Most people don't think of making their own crackers, or ice cream, or marshmallows. But all these things can be made with ease by the home cook. All you need is the right tools and some good instructions and you too can be making your own marshmallows.
The first thing you need is the proper equipment. The number one thing on the list is a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. The mixer will beat air into the candy giving it the texture you expect from a marshmallow. You could make them with a hand mixer, but they aren't as powerful, so you might not get the texture you want. Plus if you have to mix it for 12-15 minutes and I don't know about you but my arm would fall off before time was up.
The second thing you need is a candy thermometer. You need to cook your candy to 240 degrees. Of course you need a pot that the thermometer can easily attach to, making it easy for you to read it.
Lastly you will need either a silicone baking mat (like a Slipat) or some parchment paper. This candy is some serious sticky stuff before it sets up, so if you need a really slick surface to put it on to set up.
Marshmallows only need a few basic ingredients: corn syrup, gelatin, water, sugar, flavorings. Everyone has sugar and water on hand. A lot of people have corn syrup on hand. It is used in a lot of candy recipes. The gelatin may be another story. You need unflavored gelatin, so don't buy settling for a box of Jello-O. Unflavored gelatin can be found right where you find Jell-O and also online.
I like to point out that some recipes call for egg whites. I haven't tried any of those myself. I try to just stick with the same basic ingredients.
As for flavorings you can use any kind of extract you like - vanilla, lemon, mint, etc. You just need to add it in the last couple minutes. You can also use flavored oil, like orange or peppermint oil, but make sure you do so separately as oils are a lot stronger than extract. If I am using an oil I use one 1/4 of what it would be if I was using an extract.