Marshmallows have a way of bringing out the kid in all of us! They transform an ordinary cup of hot chocolate into a creamy, dreamy mug of cocoa! Their pillowy shape is cute, whimsical, and makes me want to start a fluffy food fight! But marshmallows belong in a hot cup of cocoa sipped by a roaring fire or dipped in chocolate and rolled in yummy stuff, not littered on the floor or stuck in everyone’s hair.
This recipe for easy homemade marshmallows is fun to make, and you’ll have a hard time going back to store-bought marshmallows after tasting these. For basic vanilla marshmallows, this is the recipe to follow. But don’t stop with just plain-jane vanilla marshmallows. Take yours to a new level with the ideas below!
40 minutes (prep time); makes 12
1 to 1½ C confectioner’s sugar, for coating
1 C cold water, divided
2 C granulated sugar
½ C light corn syrup
2 envelopes (1/4 oz. each), unflavored gelatin
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then coat it lightly with some of the confectioners’ sugar.
- Microwave ½ C water, granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a medium microwavable bowl on HIGH for 7 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Return it to the microwave for another 5 minutes on HIGH. Carefully remove from the microwave. The mixture will have a slight yellow tint.
- Pour the remaining ½ C of water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Gradually beat in the hot syrup mixture with a whisk attachment on medium-low speed. Beat for 8 minutes. Increase to medium-high speed. Beat 10-12 minutes longer until the mixture is fluffy, shiny, and at least 3 times larger in volume! Beat in the vanilla.
- Spread marshmallow mixture in prepared pan. Smooth the top with a GREASED (very important!) spatula.
- Sift about 2 Tbsp. of the confectioners’ sugar over the top. Let it stand at room temperature overnight or refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
- Put the remaining confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Cut the marshmallows into 1 ½-inch squares. Drop the marshmallows into the bowl and toss them around to coat. Shake off the excess sugar. Store marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Variations you have to try!
These ideas are a good first step into marshmallow experimentation. Once you are ready to push the white, fluffy envelope, you’ll see that the possibilities are endless!
Mmm … Marshmallow Pops You will need: lollipop sticks (sold at craft stores) or straws (think striped!), 1 lb. chocolate or white chocolate almond bark, candy melting wafers in various colors, toppings (nuts, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, crushed cookies/candy, etc)
Melt the chocolate and candy wafers separately, according to package directions. Dip the very end of a lollipop stick (or straw) into either the melted chocolate or candy. Then stick it into a marshmallow until it’s not all the way through. Roll the marshmallow in the coating of your choice, then sprinkle your toppings on it. Set it on waxed paper or stand it up in florist foam. Repeat for all of your marshmallows.
Dip Me! Marshmallows You will need: one bag of chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, white, colored candy melts, whatever you fancy). Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, double broiler, or a candy melting pot. Stick a 2-prong utensil or fork into the marshmallow. Once the chocolate is melted, lower the marshmallow into the luscious pool of chocolate. Let the excess drip off, then place on waxed paper. Repeat with all marshmallows. Refrigerate your chocolate marshmallows for 30 minutes to help the chocolate set.
The Many Shades of Marshmallows You will need: various extracts (almond, lemon, peppermint), cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, food coloring
Bring your marshmallows to life with a little flavored extract and some fun food coloring! Follow the recipe above (minus the vanilla extract) and add these fun extras when you’d normally add the vanilla:
Peppermint patties: ¼ tsp. peppermint, 2 tsp. vanilla, 15-20 drops of green food coloring
Cocoa Almond Dream: 2 tsp. vanilla, ½ tsp. almond, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (add cocoa after you beat mixture for 8 minutes in Step 4)
Nice as Pumpkin Spice: 2 tsp. vanilla, 10 drops of yellow food coloring, 5 drops of red food coloring, ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (add pumpkin spice after you beat mixture for 8 minutes in Step 4)
Lemon Drop: 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 tsp. lemon, 50 drops of red food coloring
Wrap It Up!
My favorite gifts to give AND receive are of the homemade variety! Whether they’re made in the kitchen or with a needle and thread, homemade gifts spell L-O-V-E. And the lucky recipients of your homemade marshmallows will feel the love with each ooey, gooey bite! Here are a few ways to dress up your marshmallows and make them gift worthy:
- Stack marshmallows in a cellophane bag and tie a cute ribbon at the top. Print a classic label that tells the recipient what flavor/variety is inside. Personalized labels can be easily (and cheaply!) ordered online ahead of time.
- For your Marshmallow Pops, wrap them individually in cellophane bags and decorate with a pretty ribbon. Tie the ribbon just above the marshmallow so that the stick sticks out of the bag.
- For the perfect cold weather gift, pair your homemade marshmallows with a mug and cocoa packets. Finish it with a cute tag!
- If you’ve made white chocolate marshmallows, stack 3 together to make a snowman. Decorate with mini M&Ms for buttons and icing/frosting for the eyes, nose, mouth, and scarf. Wrap separately in cellophane bags.