Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Sweet potato chips and chocolate ice cream (is that one just me??). Some foods belong together, and these springy marshmallows belong with my Hot Chocolate!
Traditionally, marshmallows are made by whipping together granulated sugar, corn syrup, and tempered egg whites. Once cooled and set, they’re dusted with a thick cloud of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Knowing this, I didn’t think I’d ever eat another marshmallow again, and that made me a little sad. Sure, it’s just food (and not even a daily staple), but it’s incredible how closely food ties us all together and how quickly an un-standard diet can pull us apart. Meals have always been eaten and shared together, so for someone with dietary restrictions it’s startling how easily our food requirements can turn into feelings of being “annoying” at best and an “outcast” at worst. I don’t want that for me, and I don’t want that for you either! Soo, back to the kitchen with my lab coat! Clover honey takes a whirl with gelatin, and TA DA! – a new way for some of us to enjoy these sweets once again!
I’ve been making homemade marshmallows for a few years, and while it’s certainly not rocket science, it can be a horribly sticky mess. I don’t wanna scare you off because they’re totally worth the (minimal) effort, just keep everything you’ll need close by and have a few damp rags at the ready, because before you even realize what’s happening you’ll have spun yourself in the midst of the most delicious sugar web stretching from one end of the kitchen to the other. Also, arrowroot powder is a lot like powdered sugar in that it leaves tell-tale signs and handprints everywhere you’ve been, another reason to have clean-up tools handy. Aaand, it’ll feel really strange slicing into these, almost like cutting into your favorite pillow.
Truth be told, I’m not a huge marshmallow fan. Sure, I like them garnishing my hot chocolate, who doesn’t love them freshly toasted in s’mores (exactly.), and I’ve been dying to give puffed quinoa treats a try – what I’m saying is, if you’re not one to sit around and snack on plain marshmallows (and if you aren’t, these may make you start!), have some plans for these fluffy jewels, as this recipe yields quite a few!
Makes about 96 Marshmallows
2 cups Clover Honey or Grade A Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Vanilla Bean, scraped (or 1 tbsp of your favorite extract – vanilla, almond, mint, etc.)
1/2 cup Water, cold
3 tbsp Gelatin, powdered
Arrowroot Powder, for dusting
Special Equipment: Candy Thermometer
Lightly oil a 9×13 inch pan and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the cold water, sprinkle the gelatin over the top, and then lightly stir to gently incorporate.
In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, combine honey, salt, and scraped vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Attach (or hold) the candy thermometer so that it’s submerged into the syrup mixture but not touching the bottom of the pan. There’s no need to stir, but you can gently swirl the pan around if you just can’t leave it alone. We’re aiming for a target temperature of 240* F, or the “soft ball” stage, so keep a close eye on things – this should take around 10 minutes. Once the syrup has reached 240*, immediately remove from heat. If you’re using extracts, now’s the time to dump them in! Please be careful – hot syrup is not only HOT but sticky too, a bad combo for burns!
Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in about 1/6 of the syrup and allow to mix for one minute – you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl the first few times. Repeat the pouring and mixing until all of the syrup is added – this process should take around 10 minutes (what? I said add it slowly!) Now crank the mixer up to high and set a timer for 10 minutes. During this whipping stage, the syrup will whiten and expand by about 3x in volume.
With the help of a rubber spatula, pour the marshmallow fluff into the greased pan and spread evenly. Don’t fret about getting all of it out of the bowl, that’s usually when the mess happens. Dust a light coating of arrowroot powder over the top and allow to cool, uncovered, at room temperature overnight.
When you’re ready to slice, lightly dust your work surface with arrowroot powder and carefully invert and un-mold your giant marshmallow. Using a sharp knife (or kitchen shears!) with an oiled blade, “matchstick” marshmallows into about 12 even columns, then slice each column individually into about 8 square marshmallows. (Obviously, you can slice these however you see fit. I’d love to use a tiny cloud cookie cutter!) Once diced up, sprinkle on a little more arrowroot powder and toss to lightly coat.
These marshmallows will keep about a month in an airtight container at room temperature or a couple months in the fridge!