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Double Vanilla and Cardamom Marshmallows

If you would have asked me a week ago what I would be doing this week, I would not have predicted I’d be in my kitchen making marshmallows, rectifying a prior marshmallow disaster of epic proportions. But, such is life. Sometimes, you find yourself making marshmallows on a Tuesday afternoon, wearing an apron that barely fits around your 40-week pregnant belly. I’m quite the sight.

You see, a week ago, I was still working my full-time job, convinced by my doctor (actually, two doctors at my clinic) that I’d be lucky if I didn’t have the baby smack in the middle of the holidays. But babies, they don’t really care about your predictions or your schedule. It’s a hard lesson I’m still trying to fully grasp as an only child. And yet, here I was, several days past my due date, home on a sunny but cold afternoon, questioning my purpose in life, still checking my work emails after I’d told work that I needed to take a few days off to relax before the baby came. Thing is, I forgot to take into account something about myself I’ve known for years: I don’t really know how to relax. I’ll tell you: when you’re crazed at work and busy beyond words and going to Target and getting your oil changed feels like a monumental feat in the midst of so much other stuff, it’s easy to think of all the ways you could be spending your free time. Until you find yourself with some free time.

In preparation for our soon-to-be-arrival, I was meticulous about getting everything in my life in order. I began by tackling every major work project and prepping my co-workers months in advance of my leave. I started and finished purchasing everything for the nursery and decorating it. I organized all of our baby shower gifts and went through my registry to get every necessity that hadn’t been accounted for. I tested, prepared, photographed, and finalized the recipes for the February Pairings Box. I wrote nearly all of my thank you cards. I have been obsessively vacuuming my house nearly every other day. I’ve done all the laundry. The other day, on the morning of yet another doctor’s appointment I didn’t think I’d make, I woke up and thought to myself: I’ve done everything. It’s a strange thought to have when you’re used to running behind and knowing your to-do list is continually being added to.

Despite the fact that I know her arrival is imminent, and so is the return of chaos (of a different kind) to my life, I can’t seem to just enjoy this blissful sense of freedom. The sleeping in and the long mornings of reading and Pinterest and walks through the park. A few weeks ago, I was dreaming about having a few moments like this. In a few days (dear God, I do hope it’s only a few more days) I do hope I kick myself for feeling like I’ve ‘wasted’ this time because I have to continually remind myself that this time is a gift. This quiet house. My kitchen. Having to stand arms-length away from the counter so as to make room for this basketball-shaped belly. This human being that is constantly squirming and stretching her feet out into my sides. This person who doesn’t exist in my world yet, but who has given her mama a chance to feel like she’s read the entire Internet, tackled her to-do list, and finally make homemade marshmallows that didn’t end up smeared on every cupboard door and stuck in her hair like last time.

I’ve been scared of trying my hand at homemade marshmallows again for quite a while now. I’ve seen a number of recipes for homemade marshmallows, many of which involve eggs. This recipe, which I adapted from Molly’s, is fantastically straight-forward and surprisingly not very time-consuming. There are no eggs (phew). Just some sugar, corn syrup, a few of my favorite flavors, and gelatin. I went a little wild and used both vanilla extract and a whole vanilla bean, in addition to adding crushed cardamom for good measure. I poured my marshmallow base into a 9 x 9 inch brownie pan and sliced my pieces into big, fluffy squares. I kind of like my marshmallows towering β€” you don’t want them to melt in your hot chocolate right away! This time around, I schooled those marshmallows.

Double Vanilla and Cardamom Marshmallows
*makes approximately 45-50 1 1/2 – 2 inch marshmallow squares
adapted from this recipe

Note: Be sure to use the highest quality spices and extracts here as you will taste them. If you’re going to make these, get real vanilla extract, use high-quality vanilla beans, and yes, crush your own cardamom seeds (they’re infinitely better than powdered cardamom).

Nonstick vegetable oil spray or vegetable oil
1 cup of cold water, divided
3 1/4-ounce envelopes of unflavored gelatin
2 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 whole vanilla bean (on sale in the TK Market)
2 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed with a mortar and pestle
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar

1. Line an 9 x 9 inch metal baking pan with foil and generously coat it with oil (either using a pastry brush or spray, depending on what you have on hand).
2. Add 1/2 cup of cold water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and allow it to rest and soften for about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add the sugar, corn syrup, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of water to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low and stir the ingredients with a silicone spatula until the sugar has dissolved. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and bring the syrup to a boil. Continue cooking, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees F (this should take approximately 8 minutes, but watch carefully).
4. Once the mixture has reached the desired temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat. Turn the mixer on to low speed and carefully (and slowly) pour the syrup down the side of the bowl and into the gelatin. Once you’ve poured out all of the syrup, increase the speed to high and beat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy, white, thick and stiff. While the mixture is being whisked, slice open the vanilla bean and scrape out the little black seeds. Beat in the vanilla bean seeds, extract, and crushed cardamom until well incorporated.
5. Use a wet silicone spatula to transfer the mixture to your pan and smooth the top. Let stand for at least 4 hours at room temperature (I would allow it to rest for 6-8 hours) or until it is firm.
6. Sift together the cornstarch and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of the mixture onto a cutting board. Turn out the marshmallow slab onto the cutting board and peel off the foil. Use either a very sharp knife or pizza cutter coated with oil to cut the slab into desired shapes (I just cut large cubes). You may need to clean off your knife and re-oil it as you work your way through the slab.Β 
7. Transfer about a third of the cornstarch-sugar mixture to a large freezer bag and add about 6-8 marshmallows to the bag. Seal and shake to coat. Shake off any excess mixture and transfer coated marshmallows to a tupperware or plate. Continue adding marshmallows, in batches, to the bag, to fully coat them all. Add more of the cornstarch-sugar mixture to the bag, as needed.

The marshmallows will keep in a tightly sealed container for about two weeks.

Musical Pairings: Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic + Double Vanilla and Cardamom Marshmallows

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • They look perfect! I somehow knew you’d put a spin on the classic. I love your style! Must try these soon. I have the same problem not being able to relax. It’s my best and worst trait. Hoping a couple extra cups of hot chocolate will do the trick for you! Can’t wait to see pics if the little babe. Been thinking about you! Cheers my friend! xo

  • Congrats on schooling these marshmallows, Kasey! I have to say they look gorgeous and quite tempting, which means a lot considering I have a huge aversion to marshmallows, cotton candy, and all sugary things of squishy texture.

    Enjoy your triumph, revel in your finally finished “to do” list, and enjoy your new-found freedom.

  • What?! You guys are amazing. Seriously!

  • Thank you so much, friend! I had a lot of fun with this one, and it feels really good to have conquered this one πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the warm wishes and relaxing vibes – I’m doin’ my best! xoxo

  • Thanks, Aida! I felt quite accomplished πŸ™‚ I’m not usually one for marshmallows and cotton candy, but I have to say that nothing quite tastes like a homemade marshmallow. It feels *really* good to have tackled a massive to-do, but I’m looking forward to rebuilding it, too πŸ™‚ Looking forward to chatting/seeing you soon! x

  • Thanks, Dana! These have been years in the making…just goes to show, if at first you don’t succeed…xo

  • sarah kieffer

    I related so much to this post, Kasey – I have a terrible time with relaxing. I appreciated your honesty and self-reflection. I’ve been thinking about you and baby girl so much – excited to see pictures when she gets here. Much love to you. {and, those marshmallows look incredible! {Mmm. Cardamom.}

  • Ashley

    You totally schooled these. I always end up with marshmallow in my hair when I make these if it makes you feel better. Also, by the sound of it you are doing much better than me while waiting for baby. Rather than being productive I just curled up on the couch and cried. Your perspective is right on. This is such a sweet time. Enjoy it. They are so much more fun when they are out but sometimes I do miss the feeling of those sweet kicks (and yes I do remember how intense they are at this point but I still miss it). Hang in there, friend. Thinking of you!

  • Kasey,

    I so remember those eternal days of waiting for a babe to be born. Time takes on such a strange quality – my girl was 2 weeks late and I got to the point where I was convinced she’d never be born. The fact that you are rocking those gorgeous marshmallow with a giant tummy between you and the counter is so impressive.

    I’m excited for you guys and the major adventure that awaits!!!
    xxxxooo to you guys,

  • Nicole

    Just when I think you couldn’t be any cuter! I love that you and Matt are having this special leisure time as you wait for your little lady πŸ™‚ I can only imagine how anxious you must feel for the next step, but I think you’re making the very best of this time. I still need to try making homemade marshmallows and I’m glad you shared this great recipe! Thinking of you πŸ™‚

  • Anne Zimmerman

    I’m so impressed. The first and only time I made marshmallows it was a complete disaster. But hearing you and the belly can pull it off almost makes me want to try again. Good luck to you — come on and have that baby!

  • Well what else are you going to do when waiting for a baby but make marshmallows? Seems totally normal to me πŸ˜‰

    I am glad you’ve had some time to relax before baby comes, it seems like she’s already has a major impact on your life!

  • Funny thing. I was just looking in my calendar and saw where I’d noted your due dateβ€”eight days ago! I hope your patience is rewarded with the most beautiful, healthy baby girl around. I daresay I’m pretty good at relaxing, sometimes too good, but I’ve never attempted homemade marshmallows (or pregnancy, hello!). You seem to be handling it all like a champ.

  • Woah… well, you’ll certainly remember these marshmallows for years to come. Hope your own beautiful marshmallow comes out soon! πŸ™‚

  • WithStyleGrace

    beautiful marshmallows! love the addition of the cardamom. thinking about lady!

  • Stephanie

    “I schooled these marshmallows.” A sentence never written before. They do look delicious- homemade marshmallows are something special!

  • Thank you so much, Sarah – your support and encouragement have really touched me! xo

  • Oh, Ashley…I curled up on the couch and cried, too (in between making marshmallows). Now that she’s here, it’s hard to believe I wrote this post only a few weeks ago…and strangely, I miss those kicks sometimes, too! xo

  • It’s crazy how slow those days were and how fast they are now. Two weeks have flown by and boy, they have been the hardest of my life (more struggles than I ever imagined). Life’s funny…it’s pretty amazing to have this post to look back at…the beauty of blogging! Hope you are well. xo

  • I’m glad we enjoyed that leisure time because every day since has been crazy…lots of unexpected struggles, emotions up the wazoo, stress, and exhaustion. Looking back, I think I thoroughly savored the time, and despite the fact that parenting is no cake walk, I’m glad we’re on this new journey now. Thanks for the love! xo

  • Sounds like I wasn’t the only one! Give this recipe a try – it’s definitely MUCH easier than ones I’ve seen before. And, hey, baby is here now! Hopefully there will be some marshmallows in my future πŸ™‚

  • Ha! They were – I think you’d love them. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks, friend! She’s here! She’s here!

  • She’s finally here! A little marshmallow I like to call ‘baby vampire.’ πŸ™‚

  • So sweet! Now that the little one is here, I wonder how I could have ever possibly complained about relaxing. Goodness, I should have just slept all day every day…instead I was SO anxious! Alas, hindsight is always 20/20 and no matter how much people tell you, “sleep!” and “relax!” it’s easier said than done. One thing’s for sure – I’m glad I took the time to make these marshmallows. I hope you had a great time at Alt Summit – I am just now finally catching up on some recaps! That food blogger dinner looked AMAZING.

  • I agree! She took her sweet time to come out but now that she’s here, it’s hard to imagine her NOT being here. Time has slowed and stopped and sped up, all at once. I’m certainly looking forward to getting back in the kitchen…with a sleeping baby nearby πŸ™‚

  • Casey, I totally remember those first few weeks. Tons of tears, little or no sleep, feeding troubles, and then the crazy love and amazement and my son. It was so intense and as you said, I also had “more struggles than I ever imagined.”

    Sending you guys all sorts of well wishes during this rollercoaster of a time.

  • Oh yes, we’ve been dealing with lots of feeding issues. The last two weeks have been all about figuring out how to feed my baby and why it’s not working! But, like you said, there’s also that crazy love and amazement…I can’t believe she’s mine…forever! xoxo

  • Getting the feeding worked out can be SO stressful. My boy lost a pound his first week – I was terrified. I’m guessing you’re getting great help, but if you need any other names, I know an amazing lactation consultant in the East Bay. Wishing you the best,

  • Pingback: 20 food blogs I find lovely | Naturally Ella()

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