Making marshmallows is just about the coolest science experiment that is both kid friendly and ridiculously tasty. I’ve given the recipe a Valentine’s spin by making heart shaped marshmallow pops in a pretty pink, and taking it one step further by dipping them in chocolate. Feel free to adapt them to any holiday by changing the shape, color and flavor (think shamrocks + mint for St. Patrick’s Day or bunnies + almond for Easter!). If you are thinking to yourself “I don’t really love marshmallows” you need to try homemade marshmallows.
Watching marshmallows fluff up is magical. You start with very simple, minimal ingredients. After following just a few steps, they go from a cloudy liquid, to clear and bubbly, to airy and white. The goo turns to a wiggly mass that you can cut to any fun shape.
My daughter was a huge help. She cut the hearts out with a 2 inch heart cookie cutter. We stuck them on some small cake pop sticks (only $1.99 pre-coupon at Michael’s), and dipped them in some melted milk chocolate chips. Let them set in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes, and they are ready to be bagged and tie with cute string. They are great for dipping in hot cocoa, squishing between graham crackers in smores, or eaten straight away.
To finish, pack them up in individual treat bags and tie up with twine, washi tape, or twist ties. You can find all the tools at Michael’s or your local craft store. The directions on how to make the marshmallows is below. Happy Valentine’s Day!
- oil for pan
- 1 cup powdered sugar (or confectioners’ sugar, if you like to call it that)
- 3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites (I used liquid egg whites from a carton)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- red food coloring
First step (and quite possibly the most important), oil the bottom and sides of a 13 X 9 inch rectangular metal or aluminum baking pan. Dust the bottom and sides with powdered sugar by using a small sifter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of the cold water. Let stand to soften.
In a medium saucepan, warm sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved. This is the cloudy stage. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees, or soft ball stage. This takes about 12-14 minutes. Mixture will appear clearish and bubbly. Remove pan from heat and pour over gelatin mixture Stir gently until gelatin is dissolved.
Place bowl into stand of mixer, and beat on high until it’s white and thick, about 5 minutes. It will have doubled in volume. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Add egg whites, vanilla and red food coloring to stand mixer, and beat on medium until just combined. Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared baking pan. If it starts getting stringy towards the end, just leave what is left and smooth top of marshmallow in pan. Sift about 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar over the top and let sit for several hours or overnight.
Using a 2 inch heart cookie cutter, cut as many hearts out of the marshmallow mass. Place cake pop stick in heart shaped marshmallow and sit on wax paper or cookie sheet dusted with powdered sugar. This helps them to peel off easily.
Melt 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments until completely melted. Dip hearts in chocolate half way (or all the way if you really love chocolate – but you may need more chips!). Sit on wax paper, and once all hearts are dipped, chill in refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes. Place in individual plastic bags and use twine, ribbon or twist ties to seal.
Marshmallows can be made a few days ahead, and generally last for about a week in an air-tight container.