Put a cupful of granulated sugar in a saucepan with a little water. Stir until it is dissolved, then let it cook to the ball stage without touching except to test. Turn in a half cupful of blanched almonds and stir off the fire until the nuts are well covered with the granulated sugar, but turn them out before they become one mass. Boil another cupful of sugar to the ball, turn in the coated almonds and stir again in the same way, giving them a second coating of sugar, but not leaving them in the pan until they are all stuck together. The nuts may be given a third coating in the same way, if a larger size is wanted.
For pink almonds, add a little carmine to the sugar just before putting in the almonds for the last coating. Any flavoring desired may also be added at this time.
Remove the shells from a dozen or more French chestnuts. Cover them with boiling water and let them stand a few minutes until the skins can be removed. Put them again in hot water and simmer slowly until the nuts are tender, but not soft.
Put a cupful of sugar and a cupful of water in a saucepan and stir until dissolved. Add the boiled chestnuts and let them cook in the syrup until they look clear, then turn them onto a sieve, using care not to break the nuts, and let them cool. Return the strained syrup to the saucepan and cook it to the hardball stage. Remove it from the fire, add a few drops of lemon-juice and a half teaspoonful of vanilla extract. Drop the chestnuts into it, one at a time, turn until thinly coated, and remove with a candy wire to an oiled paper or slab; or, when the sugar has reached the ball stage, add a few drops of lemon-juice, let it cool a few minutes, and then stir until it begins to whiten; then immediately place in a pan of hot water, flavor with vanilla and stir until it again becomes liquid, and dip the nuts as directed above.
Soak four ounces of gum arabic in a cupful of water until it is dissolved. Strain it to take out any black specks that may be in the gum. Put the dissolved gum arabic into a saucepan with a half pound of powdered sugar. Place the saucepan in a second pan containing boiling water. Stir until the mixture becomes thick and white. When it begins to thicken, test it by dropping a little into cold water. When it will form a firm ball remove it from the fire, and stir into it the whites of three eggs whipped to a stiff froth. This will give it a spongy texture. Lastly, flavor it with two teaspoonfuls of orange-flower water. Turn the paste into a pan covered thick with corn-starch. The layer of paste should be one inch thick. Too large a pan must not be used, or it will spread and make a thin layer. After the paste has stood twelve hours, turn it onto a slab and cut it into inch squares, dust them well with corn-starch or with confectioner's sugar, and pack in boxes. As the paste is more or less cooked, it will be more or less stiff. Marshmallows become harder the longer they are kept, but are best when as soft as they can be handled.