Gifts that take time and effort are a special way to honor our loved ones. Homemade gifts that come from the heart are not only well loved but enable us to express our creative energies in a positive way. Creating a gift brings to mind feelings of gratitude that have such powerful mental health benefits: studies have shown that the routine practice of gratitude decreases risk of anxiety and depression. It also creates regular positive thought that boosts mood and satisfaction levels.
A quilt, vanilla extract, or massage oil are great ideas for easy do-it-yourself gifts. Choose a gift that reflects your creative strengths and interests. Earlier we posted a recipe for homemade hot chocolate mix that can be beautifully jarred and given out as an elegant gift. Add a bag of these beautiful handmade marshmallows and your gift will be complete!
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2-1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with enough aluminum foil to hang over the sides and lightly grease.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch and set aside.
- Pour 1/2 cup of cold water into bowl of an electric mixer.
- Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let stand 15 minutes.
- While gelatin stands, combine remaining water with corn syrup in a medium saucepan.
- Pour the sugar into the center; add salt and place over medium-high heat until mixture boils.
- Gently swirl the pan until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has reached 240 degrees F, about 7 minutes.
- Turn the stand mixer on low speed and slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the middle of the gelatin mixture.
- Gradually increase speed to high and whip until very thick and stiff, 10-12 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl whenever needed.
- Once the mixture is stiff, add vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated.
- Grease a spatula and, working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Smooth the top.
- Sift two tablespoons of powdered sugar mixture over the pan.
- Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.
- The following day, turn marshmallow slab onto a cutting board and peel off foil.
- Sift two tablespoons of powdered sugar mixture over the slab.
- Using a sharp, lightly greased knife, cut slab into 1-inch strips then across the other way for square marshmallows.
- Place remaining powdered sugar mixture into a bag.
- Using four marshmallows at a time, toss marshmallows in powdered sugar, then toss in a fine strainer to remove excess powder.
- Store marshmallows in an airtight container for two weeks.
If you would like to enhance presentation, try dipping half of each marshmallow in melted dark chocolate and rolling in crushed peppermint candies.