Sweeten up your weekend with homemade marshmallow
Sweeten up your weekend with homemade marshmallow

Sweeten up your weekend with homemade marshmallow

Marshmallows are the kinds of sweet treats that tend to conjure up childhood memories, perhaps of perfecting the art of the campfire toast (must be crispy but not burnt on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside), or a classic game of chubby bunny. For chef Jane Lawson, these “airy pillows of fanciful delight” reminder her of the milkbar lolly counters of her childhood. In her latest book, Milkbar Memories, Jane presents an ode to her childhood dreams, with a collection of nostalgic recipes that defined growing up in 1970s Australia. From the maltiest of milkshakes to sausage rolls, musk sticks and potato scallops, Milkbar Memories features more than 120 recipes that your mother probably wouldn’t have approved of.

mild-flavoured cooking oil spray
20 g gelatine sheets (12 sheets, each 7 x 11.5 cm)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups cold water
1 cup liquid glucose
1½ tablespoons honey
1¼ cups caster sugar

For coating
1 cup icing sugar mixture, sifted
1 cup cornflour, sifted


Spray a 20 x 30 cm baking tin evenly with cooking oil spray.

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for five minutes, or until softened. Squeeze out any excess liquid, then place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and 1/2 cup of the water. Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer and gently mix the gelatine and liquids together.

Pour the remaining water into a saucepan with a pouring lip. Add the glucose, honey and caster sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has just dissolved. After this point, do not stir at all. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to run around the inside rim of the pan to ensure there are no sugar crystals lurking. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the electric mixer onto medium to low speed. Pouring carefully, gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the gelatine mixture in a stream. Once the gelatine mixture has melted, you can add the rest of the syrup more quickly. Cover the top of the bowl with a tea towel to collect any splatters if you like and increase the speed to high. Whisk continuously on high for 20–25 minutes — make sure you go the whole distance, as the time is needed to cool and stabilise the marshmallow. You will end up with a thick, glossy, fluffy mass, like soft-peak meringue.

Use a spatula to scrape the marshmallow into your baking tin and very gently smooth over. Leave to set at room temperature for at least six hours, but ideally overnight if you can, to let the texture and flavour settle. If it is a really hot, humid day, set the marshmallow in the fridge. When ready to coat the marshmallow, combine the icing sugar mixture and cornflour and sprinkle a little on a clean work surface. To release the marshmallow from the tin, you may need to run a hot, wet knife around the inside edge of the tin. Sprinkle some icing sugar mixture over
the top of the marshmallow and smooth over with your hands. Turn the marshmallow out onto your work surface, sprinkle more of the mixture over the top and smooth over.

Using a sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into 3 cm x 4 cm rectangles. Dip any exposed marshmallow edges in the remaining icing sugar mixture.

Store your marshmallows in an airtight container to keep the moisture out. To stop them sticking together, stack them in single layers, sprinkling each layer with any leftover icing sugar mixture, and placing a sheet of baking paper between each layer.

They will keep in a cool dark place (or in the fridge in warm weather) for up to one week. They will start to break down a little after this time, and not look so pretty, but will still taste good.

Makes about 50 pieces.

Recipes and images from Milkbar Memories by Jane Lawson, published by Murdoch Books. Available in bookstores and online

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