A few years ago, homemade marshmallows were all the rage on cooking bulletin boards I frequent. I gave it a try. They were OK but kind of chewy and underwhelming. I thought, "Well, I've done that now. Meh." Then my sister Kellie tried them last year, and discovered where my effort probably had fallen short (or long, actually). It's been a while, but with the cold weather and the increased consumption of hot cocoa, I thought I'd try again. The improved result is below. They aren't difficult, but there are two crucial things you have to get right.
In a way, marshmallows are cubes of super-whipped Jell-O. A sugar & corn syrup mixture is cooked to 240F, then beaten into softened unflavored gelatin. The mixture is whipped and whipped at high speed in a stand mixer, and fluffs up into clouds of sticky goodness. Given that the syrup is cooked to a specific temperature, marshmallows are, by definition, candy.