So - I finally made the homemade marshmallows, and here are the details! They were really easy (with a stand mixer), and are delicious. I stuck with vanilla for my first try and used this recipe; it was a bit vague in spots (I'm not used to making candy or using gelatin and wanted a bit more information), and made a LOT of marshmallows. The mixture completely filled the mixer bowl when it was finished. It filled a 9x13 pan full and then another big blob, too. I'm planning to try a smaller recipe next time. There's a similar recipe of Martha's vanilla marshmallows here, and one here. And lots more out there, too.
I used my homemade vanilla, which you can see sitting on top of the corn syrup in the measuring cup. Aren't vanilla seeds the prettiest?
One thing I wasn't sure of was exactly what to do with the gelatin. The recipe said to sprinkle it on top of some of the water, which I did. I wasn't sure if mixing it would just create giant clumps at that point, and since it didn't tell me to in the recipe, I didn't. But as you can see in the above picture (along with the Christmas lights reflected in the burner guard) it clumped when I was mixing it on the stove. I just heated it more and whisked, and between that and the mixer time, it seems to have gotten rid of the majority of the clumps.
Two important things to take note of:
1. One packet of gelatin = 1 tbsp. I bought mine in bulk at Yarmouth Natural.
2. Another thing to make note of is that my cousin (hi, B!) burned out the motor on her mixer while making marshmallows. So there's probably a good reason why in the recipe I used they suggest a KitchenAid or other kind of industrial-strength mixer. It needs to mix for about 10-13 minutes at high speed, which is a lot for a mixer to handle, especially as the marshmallow mixture thickens.
I used tonnes of icing sugar on the pans I poured the mixture into, and tonnes more in the bags I shook the marshmallows in after they were done. And they're still a bit sticky, as marshmallows are wont to be.
I am definitely trying these again, with a smaller recipe, and maybe some peppermint extract. Maybe shaken in cocoa powder, or rolled in toasted coconut? Coated in chocolate? So many possibilities!