Moonshine Marshmallows

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Christiana George
Christiana George
Welcome to The Tart Tart, my not-so-tart take on food, writing, and photography. I decided to start up this sucker after repeated nagging from Chris, my fiance, who cannot understand why the sight of a farmer’s market would send me into ecstatic convulsions (okay, total overstatement. I can be quite the histrionic at times).With that said, my interests, though chiefly in food, also span fashion, design, literature, and photography. So don’t mind the seemingly non sequitur odds and ends I toss in posts at times.

I was originally inspired by the recipe for Blue Bottle Coffee’s moonshine marshmallows, but after making it multiple times, and failing, I finally had to admit defeat. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use the name, now does it? A moonshine marshmallow certainly sounds much more intriguing than a bourbon marshmallow.

This is my first entry for a giftable holiday treat, and a winning one it is at that. These marshmallows look adorable, feel as soft as, no, wait, softer than pillows, and taste incredibly luscious.

Imagine creamy hot chocolate spiked with bourbon marshmallows… perfect for sipping in front of a wood-burning fireplace. Or for those of us who don’t have wood-burning fireplaces, our radiators. Actually, that’s the last place I want to be when it’s on; our apartment is hot enough as it is.

These also taste great in adult-flavored s’mores. (And if you use a 9-inch square baking pan instead of 8-, they cut into perfect-sized squares for the graham crackers.) To toast them, because again, there’s no wood-burning fireplace in my dinky little apartment, I pop them in the toaster oven where they do that funny expansion thing, bubbling and swelling like they’re about to come alive, and let them slowly turn buttery-brown. By then, the s’mores is a hot mess, melted chocolate and gooey marshmallow everywhere. It’s pretty much perfect.

Homemade marshmallows are pretty much perfect.

There’s no need to stick to bourbon. I imagine Bailey’s would work wonderfully. Or kahlua, or anything besides vodka (which doesn’t taste like anything except alcohol). You don’t even have to use alcohol at all—I imagine the recipe would work just as well with water—but what’s the point? Actually, scratch that. I’m not judging. I’m not the biggest fan of alcohol-tasting desserts. (But this one’s different, I swear!)

If you’re going to make substitutions with the sugar, I would advise against maple syrup. It tends to crystallize, and form razor shards. I cut myself on a piece, and it looks and feels like a paper cut. (They’re the worst!) I was initially uncomfortable with the idea of using corn syrup, but David makes a good case for it, and especially after my incident with the the maple syrup, I decided to just swallow my unease and pour it all in. The entire cupful.


Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 16 2×2-inch marshmallows or 64 1×1-inch marshmallows


  • 3 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatine
  • 6 Tbsp bourbon, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water, divided
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

candy thermometer


Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper (completely covering all the edges inside the pan). Lightly oil the sides and bottom of the pan.

In a separate bowl, sift together the corn starch and confectioners sugar. Sift enough of this mixture into the prepared pan to completely and generously cover the bottom. Reserve the remaining cornstarch mixture.

Sprinkle gelatin over 3 Tbsp bourbon and 5 Tbsp water in bowl of mixer and let soften while making syrup.

Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, the remaining 3 Tbsp bourbon, and the remaining 5 Tbsp water in a medium heavy saucepan (I used a 4-quart saucepan and it barely contained the liquid when it boiled up). Boil over medium heat, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 238 to 240°F. Remove from heat.

With mixer at low speed, pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in a slow stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to high and beat until very thick and mixture forms a thick ribbon when beater is lifted, 11 to 13 minutes.

With a lightly oiled spatula, scrape marshmallow into baking pan and smooth the top. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until surface is no longer sticky, 2 to 3 hours.

Remove from pan and carefully peel away the parchment paper. Dust the top and all the edges with the remaining corn starch mixture. Using a knife or scissors dusted with the corn starch mixture, cut the marshmallow into whatever shape you’d like. Dust all cut edges with the corn starch mixture to prevent sticking.

These should last for about a week or so, if kept in an airtight container at room temperature. If stacking the marshmallows, line between layers with parchment paper.

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