December is finally here and that means the holiday season is in full swing. The holidays always bring out my desire to create festive foods. There is no better time to experiment with fun new foods than during this festive season – whether it’s trying new recipes or giving old favorites a new holiday flare. With children, creating fun and festive food for the holidays can be a great way to share some quality time with them, or just surprising them with a tasty snack.
One treat that my kids always love is marshmallows. Marshmallows during the holidays take on a whole new variety with the little Christmas tree, snowman, and gingerbread man shapes. Fun holiday flavors like cinnamon and gingerbread can be found in stores, as well as red and green colored marshmallows. These marshmallows are fun to look at, but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to make them yourself?
Lucky for you, making marshmallows from scratch at home is incredibly easy. You can make them in any variety of flavors, shapes, and colors, making for a completely customized and creative holiday food.
So how do you make these fluffy little treats?
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (prefer organic)
- 1 cup light corn syrup (prefer organic)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or any flavor you would like)
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Nonstick spray
Place the unflavored gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer with 1/2 cup of the cold water. Do not mix yet. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt and heat over medium heat covered for 4 minutes. Use a candy thermometer and remove immediately when mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
Using a whisk attachment, turn the mixer on low speed. Pour the warm sugar syrup mixture into the bowl of gelatin mixture, trying to pour down the side of the bowl so it does not splash out. After all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer speed to high and mix approximately 15 minutes until very thick. Now add in the vanilla or flavoring of your choice. Mix for one minute longer.
Next you will prepare the pans for the marshmallows to set.
Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
Spread the marshmallow mixture evenly over the pan and let set for 4 hours at room temperature. You can also do this before bed and leave the mixture overnight to set up. After the 4 hours or overnight, turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares or use a cookie cutter for fun designs. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar/cornstarch mixture.
Place the marshmallows in an air tight container for storing. Eat within 3 weeks.
Prefer Mini Marshmallows?
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch/sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
These are basic instructions for making tasty and fluffy marshmallows from scratch at home. The beauty of making marshmallows at home is the customization that can happen. Add in food coloring, different flavors, or use fun holiday shaped cookie cutters to make truly unique (and tasty) marshmallows at home.
Have you made your own marshmallows before?