My 1959 Meta Given Encyclopedia of Modern Cooking calls this “White Mountain Icing,” and the directions are for using a rotary beater. I used to own a rotary beater, but it has long since been thrown out and replaced with a KitchenAid stand mixer and a Cuisinart 7-speed hand mixer. I’m all in favor of hand whisking, but not for this frosting, thank you. If you’re feeling intimidated after that introduction, don’t be. This frosting is not hard to make, so long as you follow directions carefully.
If you’re a marshmallow fluff junkie, you can eat this stuff straight up or piled on a Ritz cracker that’s spread with peanut butter. Or you can restrain yourself and use it for chocolate-marshmallow ice cream sundaes, as a meringue for pies, or to make frosting for S’mores cupcakes. If you char the frosting with a kitchen torch, or place 4-6” under a broiler, the meringue will taste like a toasted marshmallow.
Homemade Marshmallow Fluff (AKA Italian Meringue)
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Rating: 10 out of 10
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3 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided use
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder or vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla powder)
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar
In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, bring water, corn syrup and 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar to a rolling boil on high heat, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush. Do not stir mixture, as it will cause it to crystallize. Boil until mixture reaches 242F, or soft ball stage.
In the meantime, a few minutes after the sugar mixture comes to a boil, in a completely clean, dry mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed whip egg whites, vanilla powder or extract, salt and cream of tartar until creamy and foamy, about 2 minutes. With mixer still on, sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbsp. of sugar over the whites and continue beating until whites hold very soft peaks, another 2 minutes. When syrup is ready, reduce mixer speed to low. Find the sweet spot (between the sides of the bowl and the whisk attachment) and very, very slowly and carefully drizzle in the hot syrup. After all syrup has been added, turn mixer to high and whisk till thick, fluffy and just warm, about 7 minutes.