Although you might be tempted to think that marshmallows are their own element, composed purely of atoms of marshmallonium (element 823 on the periodic table), you can in fact make them in your very own home kitchen. I used this recipe from Alton Brown, but it's actually quite simple and can be made with things that you might already have lying around.
First you mix gelatin (what, we're the only people with a huge box of gelatin sitting in the cabinet?) and water in a mixing bowl.
That hangs out while you bring water, sugar, and light corn syrup up to 240 degrees, which is somewhere between the "soft ball" and "firm ball" stage. (Insert "that's what she said" joke here.
Then you slowly pour the sugar water into the mixer while it's running at a low speed. I didn't take any pictures of this part because I didn't want to capture Daniel being disfigured by third-degree burns if there was a mishap.
Turn the mixer up to high speed and let it run for 15 minutes. Wonder of wonders, it starts to turn into marshmallow fluff!
Then transfer the marshmallow goo to a baking pan to solidify. This was way easier said than done because it was so sticky. I thought my hand was going to be permanently adhered to the side of the mixing bowl trying to scrape out the last of it.
But we eventually got most of it into the pan. Sprinkle with cornstarch and powdered sugar and let it sit uncovered for a few hours or overnight. Cut into chunks with a pizza cutter (it's not sticky once it's had time to set up).
We each tried a piece yesterday afternoon and declared them to be both tasty and marshmallow-like. I took them to a cookie swap last night, and got a lot of "I didn't even know you could do that" comments. We are planning to make these again for friends from Christmas gifts- I can think of a lot of fun variations with flavors/mix-ins.