Hi! I’m Rebecca, a commercial and editorial food and brand photographer with a studio in Nashville, and I specialize in helping chefs, restaurants, bakers, and makers market with soulful images to elevate their brands, connect with clients, and sell more of their work. I also photograph food for cookbooks and magazines including Edible Nashville and Tennessee Home & Farm.

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Featured Post:

Easy Homemade Marshmallows

February 18, 2021

Nashville food photography - homemade marshmallows

Easy Homemade Marshmallows

Photography by Rebecca Denton Photography

As a Nashville food photographer, I’ve been wanting to make easy homemade vanilla marshmallows for awhile because they’re so beautiful – but I also was curious about the process. No one in my family made homemade marshmallows when I was growing up, so it wasn’t even something I thought about until I saw them in online and became intrigued by the fluffy, pillowy treats that were cut in large rectangles and used in hot chocolate or perfectly melty s’mores.

It took me some time to get brave enough to make them because I haven’t yet bought a candy thermometer, and this recipe involves hot sugar that needs to be at a certain temperature. But when I ran across a recipe that made the thermometer optional, I was in!

Below is a great recipe that worked perfectly for me. The process was easier, faster, and stickier than I imagined. The marshmallows just have to rest overnight to dry out, so you can’t eat them right away. Even without a candy thermometer, my first batch turned out fluffy and soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and my kids ate them up in hot chocolate and s’mores (even though we were stuck indoors due to an ice storm and had to make the s’mores in the microwave instead of the fire, which is of course the better way).

These are a fun treat to make in the wintertime just for fun, or for a special addition to a holiday party. Next time I’m going to try another flavor such as chocolate marshmallows or peppermint. Check out this recipe, and give them a try!

Nashville food photography homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows Recipe


14.5 oz white sugar

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup water for the gelatin

7 tsp. gelatin (about 3 packets of Knows gelatin, 21.6 g)

Pinch of salt

1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


Dusting Powder

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 cup cornstarch


  1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot. Stir until the sugar is moistened and mixed with the water.
  2. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup comes to a boil. Gently swirl the pan to evenly distribute the heat.
  3. Cover the saucepan with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Let the syrup cook for 2 minutes. Do not lift the lid at this point.
  4. After 2 minutes, remove the lid and check to make sure there are no sugar crystals on the side of the saucepan. If there are crystals, then cover the saucepan for a further minute to allow the condensation to wash down the sugar crystals into the syrup.
  5. Clip the sugar thermometer to the side of the saucepan, and set the temperature between 242-245 degrees F. Let the sugar syrup cook until it reaches this temperature. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, check the sugar stage every 5 minutes until it reaches the firm-ball stage.
  6. While sugar syrup ins cooking, prepare the gelatin. Place 1/2 cup of the water in the mixer bowl. Add the gelatin to the water and mix to moisten the gelatin. Set aside to allow the gelatin to bloom while the sugar syrup is cooking (at least 10 minutes). Place the bowl in your mixer, with the whisk attachment.
  7. When the sugar syrup reaches the right stage, remove it from the heat and let the bubbles subside. While the mixer is running on medium-low speed, pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin, along the wall of the bowl (this is to prevent the gelatin from being scorched by the hot sugar syrup). Add the salt and increase the speed to medium-high.
  8. Whisk on medium-high for 3-5 minutes until the marshmallow base is doubling in size and is white, fluffy and smooth. Mix for a further 3-5 minutes on high speed, allowing the marshmallow to volumize more (up to 3 times). Do not mix if the marshmallow base is already cooled down, as this will create tough marshmallows.
  9. While the marshmallow base is whisking, prepare the pan and utensils you will be using. Rub an 8×8 inch pan with shortening or butter. Brush all utensils with the same.
  10. Add the vanilla to the marshmallow base and whisk for a further minute on high speed to combine the vanilla.
  11. Scrape the marshmallow base into the prepared pan using an oiled cake spatula or flexible scraper. Spread the marshmallow evenly in the pan using the oiled spatula.
  12. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over the top of the marshmallow and allow the marshmallow to set for at least 6 hours. (Do not refrigerate.)
  13. Turn the set marshmallow out onto a work surface dusted with dusting powder. Cut the marshmallows with an oiled knife or a pair of scissors. Toss the marshmallow in the dusting powder and store in an air-tight container.

Thanks to The Flavor Bender by Dini Kodippili for making such an easy-to-follow recipe. Check out her blog here.

Nashville food photography and styling homemade marshmallows and hot chocolateNashville food photography  homemade marshmallows and hot chocolate


All photos by Rebeca Denton Photography

For more information about my restaurant and food photography packages, email me at rebeccadentonphotography@gmail.com!

Looking for another easy recipe? Check out Healthy Banana “Ice Cream” With Roasted Almonds with just a few simple ingredients HERE.




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Rebecca Denton is a food and brand photographer with a studio in Nashville.