Marshmallows have been one of those foods that just happen, like red hots or licorice. I never really considered how marshmallows were made or where they came from. Maybe they grew on sugar trees or dropped out of the sky in their puffy, cylinder shape. They always just showed up in the baking aisle at the grocery store. I’ve never loved marshmallow but I could always enjoy one sandwiched against chocolate and between crunchy graham crackers around a campfire.
Now I know the truth-those puffy things aren’t real marshmallows. It’s clear to me that they are imposters.
Homemade marshmallows taste much better than the store-bought puffs I grew up eating. They are creamy and lovely. They melt in your mouth like a snowflake melting on your tongue. They call for a mug of hot cocoa to rest in. They are simply delicious. Homemade marshmallows are the only way to go. And not just because they are tastier than the imposters but because they can literally be whipped up in a few minutes.
I made a couple of different flavors but I loved the Peppermint Marshmallows. I used peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract and then rolled the marshmallows in a bit of crushed candy cane. I made a cup of hot cocoa with a little sea salt and dropped in a couple peppermint marshmallows. The mallows added a little peppermint touch to my cocoa and melted slightly on top. It was creamy and so rich and now I think about them daily. These are worthy of a new holiday tradition. They will be perfect paired on Christmas morn with hot cocoa and my grandpa’s homemade pecan rolls.
- adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
makes about 48 mallows
- 2 packets of gelatin (1/4 oz packets)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 candy canes
Using vegetable shortening, grease a 9×13 inch pan. Put the gelatin in a small bowl. Add 7 tablespoons of cold water. Let the gelatin sit until it becomes spongy.
In a medium saucepan stir together the sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Set aside.
In a large bowl add the rest of the corn syrup. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, begin to whisk the syrup on low speed. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the gelatin to ensure it is completely melted. Then slowly add the gelatin to the corn syrup mixture. Keep mixer on low speed.
Begin to heat the sugar mixture on the stovetop on medium-high heat. Stir until it begins to boil. Use a candy thermometer to watch the temperature. When the thermometer reaches 235 to 240 degrees F, remove the saucepan from the heat. Turn the mixer up to medium for one minute, then slowly add the sugar mixture. Begin mixing on medium-high for 5 minutes. Add the peppermint extract and salt. Mix on high for one minute. The mixture will be very fluffy.
Crush the peppermint candy canes, to create peppermint dust. Set aside in a small bowl.
Transfer the marshmallows to the 9×13 pan using a spatula. The mixture will be sticky and stringy. Spread the marshmallow mixture evenly in the pan. Then sprinkle the top with peppermint dust. Let it sit for 6 hours or more.
Sprinkle a countertop surface with a 1/4 of the peppermint dust. Loosen the marshmallows from the pan using a knife or spatula. Grab a corner of the marshmallows with your hands and slowly remove the marshmallow sheet out of the pan and place on the dusted surface. Using a large knife dusted with peppermint dust or confectioners’ sugar, cut the marshmallows in a 6-by-8 grid (or smaller if you prefer). Roll each marshmallow in peppermint dust. Then enjoy!
I also made some additional flavors. For vanilla marshmallows, use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead of 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Use confectioners’ sugar to dust the tops and to roll the marshmallows. For chocolate marshmallows melt 3 ounces of dark chocolate and stir in 2-1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon. Fold in the chocolate after the marshmallow has been mixed before spreading in pan.