Soak the gelatine in ¼ of a cup of cold water in a small bowl and set aside to swell for 10 minutes. In a large saucepan pour the sugar and second measure of water. Gently dissolve the sugar over a low heat stirring constantly. Add the swollen gelatine and dissolve. Raise the temperature and bring to the boil. Boil steadily but not vigorously for 15 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until luke warm. Add the vanilla essence and whisk the mixture with an electric mixer or beater until very thick and white. Rinse a 20 cm (8 inch) sponge roll tin or fudge dish under water and pour the marshmallow mixture into the wet tin. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares and roll in mixed cornflour and icing sugar.
Variations: To colour the marshmallows add a couple of drops of food colouring. To make other flavoured marshmallows use 1 teaspoon of peppermint, coffee, almond or other essence in place of the vanilla. Roll the marshmallows in desiccated or toasted coconut in place of the cornflour and icing sugar.
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