These homemade marshmallows are tender and delicate– a far cry from the store-bought versions. I love the addition of coconut, but you can get creative by adding an extract or a colour of your choosing.
Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides. Using a piece of paper towel, lightly grease the parchment paper with vegetable oil.
Stir the gelatin powder with 6 Tbsp (90 mL) of cold water in a small dish and set aside.
Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with electric beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until foamy.
Place the sugar with ¼ cup (60 mL) of water in a medium saucepot over high heat and bring it up to a full boil. Boil the sugar, without stirring, until it reaches a temperature of 240 °F (115 °C) on a candy thermometer. Carefully pour this into the egg whites while whipping on high speed (let the sugar syrup run down the side of the bowl, to avoid hitting the beaters and splashing). Add the softened gelatin to the meringue and continue to whip on high speed until the meringue cools to almost room temperature, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and coconut extracts. Scrape the marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread to level. Sift a layer of the icing sugar/cornstarch mixture overtop and allow the marshmallow to cool until completely set, about 2 hours.
While the marshmallow is cooling, prepare the coconut. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Spread the coconut on an ungreased baking tray (or pie plate) and toast for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through toasting (not all of the coconut will brown). Set aside to cool.
Turn the marshmallow out onto a cutting board dusted with the icing sugar-cornstarch mixture. Cut the marshmallow into 36 squares. Lightly dust all sides with the icing sugar-cornstarch mixture, taping off any excess and set on a parchment-lined baking tray.
Melt the white chocolate chips in a metal bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring gently until melted. Remove this from the heat. Dip each marshmallow a third to halfway into the white chocolate (it may take 2 dips, to get the chocolate to coat evenly over the starch on the marshmallow). Shake off any excess chocolate (should no longer drip) and then dip the marshmallow into the toasted coconut. Place this back on the baking tray to set and repeat with the remaining marshmallows.
The marshmallows will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.