Making Marshmallows, Meringues, and Divinity

How to make homemade marshmallows from scratch.

Making Marshmallows, Meringues, and Divinity

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Candies made with eggs make perfect sense for those who have a flock of “girls” laying faithfully. And the holidays are the perfect time to showcase classic candies that have become treasured traditions. Three favorites: making marshmallows, meringue cookies, and divinity. All of these delightful confections start with a simple base of egg whites and a few other pantry ingredients. 

I love all three because they are a welcome, lighter addition to our holiday dessert trays. 

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Let’s get started with making marshmallows …


Cut marshmallows

These make a lovely gift with a pair of holiday mugs.  


  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting 
  • 4 envelopes, ¼ oz. each, unflavored gelatin  
  • 1 cup cold water, divided into ¾ and ¼ cups 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or other flavorings — see note 
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature 

Syrup cooking.


  1. Line a 9×13 pan or quarter sheet pan with parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Let it hang over the sides to allow for easy removal of marshmallows.  
  2. Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar. 
  3. Sprinkle gelatin on ¾ cup water to rehydrate. Give it a stir. It will get fairly thick. 
  4. Combine sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, remaining ¼ cup cold water, and four egg whites in a mixing bowl.  
  5. Whisk over simmering water (or use a double boiler) until the mixture is hot and sugar has dissolved.  
  6. Stir in softened gelatin and whisk until gelatin dissolves. 
  7. Remove from heat and whip at medium speed until mixture rises in volume and begins to thicken. Turn speed to high and whip until the mixture holds a soft but stable peak. 
  8. Spread in prepared pan and sift confectioners’ sugar all over the top. 
  9. Chill in the refrigerator until fully set, about two hours. 
  10. Cut into 1” squares. 


Store between layers of wax or parchment paper in an airtight container. Keep in dry, cool place for up to one month. 

Marshmallows, cooling before cutting.


  • Rose or Orange Flower Water Marshmallows: Use three tablespoons of rose or orange flower water and nine tablespoons of cold water (in place of the ¾ cup cold water) for soaking gelatin. 
  • Lemon: Use six tablespoons lemon juice and six tablespoons cold water for soaking the gelatin (in place of ¾ cup cold water).  

TIP: Each envelope of unflavored gelatin contains 2¼ to 2½ teaspoons. 


Meringue cookies.

These sweet little bites are lovely as an accompaniment to tea. 


  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature 
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 

Meringue in a bowl.


  1. Preheat oven to 175-200 degrees F.  
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  3. Beat egg whites, using low speed until whites are loose and foamy.  
  4. Add cream of tartar and salt and increase speed to medium. Beat until whites stand in soft but frothy peaks.  
  5. Turn to high and add sugar, about two tablespoons at a time, beating for five seconds after each addition. This assures sugar dissolves and allows for meringues to come out crispy, not too chewy. The meringue will be shiny with a firm peak when you lift the beater.  
  6. Place the meringue into a pastry bag with a star or plain tip and pipe out small meringues. Or plop a small dollop of meringue onto parchment. 
  7. You can place them fairly close together. 
  8. Bake one to two hours, or until meringues are dry and crisp throughout.   
  9. Pull from parchment paper. 


Store up to several weeks at room temperature in airtight containers. 

Tip: Oh no, my meringues got soft/sticky in storage! Just rebake them at 175 degrees F for 10 minutes or until they are crisp. 


Finished divinity.

This Southern specialty is a nougat-like confection, often studded with nuts, gumdrop-like candies, or candied fruit.  


  • 2½ cups granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup light corn syrup 
  • ½ cup water (see note) 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large egg whites 
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • ½ cup diced candied fruit, patted dry, or gumdrop-like candies, toasted nuts, etc. 

Whipping divinity


  1. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and then spray the parchment. 
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a three-quart or larger pan. 
  3. Cook over medium heat until mixture cooks to the hardball stage (260 degrees F), stirring only until sugar dissolves. 
  4. Meanwhile, pour egg whites. 
  5. Place whites with cream of tartar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat at low speed with the whisk attachment until mixture is foamy. Turn speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. If peaks form before the syrup reaches 260 degrees F, reduce speed and keep mixing on low. 
  6. Reduce speed to medium and very slowly add the hot syrup in a slow, steady stream.  
  7. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is very thick and loses most of its gloss. This took a good 10 minutes in my mixer, so be patient. 
  8. Fold in fruit or nuts if using. 
  9. Dollop divinity onto a prepared pan with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop. 
  10. Let sit until fully set and dry, at least eight hours.  


Store in single layers in a closed container at room temperature for up to two weeks. 

NOTE: If it’s humid, reduce water by two tablespoons.  

Originally published in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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