This post is written in partnership with If You Care.
There’s something joyful and magical about making your own marshmallows! Not only is the process fun to do, but you can customize the flavor to your liking.
These festive peppermint marshmallows are great for topping hot cocoa or just nibbling when you want a treat. Expect loud proclamations of “You made these?!” and “I didn’t even know that you can make homemade marshmallows!” when you serve them.
How do you make marshmallows?
Marshmallows aren’t difficult to make, but it’s helpful if you have a candy or deep frying thermometer. After all, you ARE making candy!
First you'll line your pan with If You Care parchment paper, spray it with cooking spray, and dust with a little confectioners sugar and cornstarch.
Then you'll start making the marshmallows! Simply soften unflavored powdered gelatin in cold water. Cook a combination of sugar, corn syrup, water and a pinch of salt until it reaches 240°F.
While the syrup is cooking, melt the gelatin in the microwave, add it to a stand mixer bowl, and whip it while you add the hot syrup. Add the peppermint extract, scrape into the prepared pan, drop a few drops of food coloring and swirl away. Let the whole things sit around overnight and then cut and serve!
What is the purpose of the parchment paper?
Non stick parchment paper makes fast work of a sticky task like marshmallows.
Once the marshmallows have “cured” overnight, you lift them out of the pan with the sides of the paper, then move directly to a cutting board. No worrying about the marshmallows sticking to the pan or damaging the red swirls of color on the top by flipping them upside down.
And If You Care is the right parchment paper for the job. It's unbleached and 100% natural, so once you use it, it can go right into the compost bin.
Do I really need a candy thermometer?
You don’t necessarily need a candy thermometer, but it does make your life a lot easier.
If you have a thermometer, you can turn the heat on medium high and cook the syrup much faster.
But if you don’t have a thermometer, you can still make marshmallows. Just cook the syrup at a medium to medium low temperature. Test the syrup by placing a small glass of water next to the stove. Drop a little bit of syrup in the water. Once the syrup reaches the “soft ball” stage, where you can reach in and pick up the syrup, and it’s malleable in your fingers, you’re at the right temperature.
How do I know when the marshmallow is done?
The marshmallow mixture will fluff up until it’s about tripled in volume and be opaque white.
Don’t under beat the mixture: It needs a full 8 to 10 minutes to reach its full volume. Otherwise it will be dense and overly chewy. But don’t over beat it either! You want it still warm enough that you can pour it into the pan as a liquid and add the food coloring. If you beat it too long, the marshmallow will solidify in the bowl and it’ll be tough to scrape out into the pan.
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin powder, about 3 packets
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 12 to 14 drops of food coloring
- To finish:
- 4 tablespoon confectionary sugar
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
Prepare the pan:
Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
Lightly spray or oil a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with cooking oil. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the pan, making sure the paper hangs over the edges by 1-inch. Lightly spray or oil the parchment paper, and dust with the sugar and cornstarch mixture.
Add gelatin to water
Place the water in a small microwave-safe bowl and add the gelatin powder to it. Stir and set aside for the powder to absorb the water.
Cook the sugar mixture
Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in large saucepan. Heat on high, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved.
Lower the heat to medium high and cook until the syrup is 240°F or the soft ball stage, about 5 minutes depending on how powerful your stove is.
Melt the gelatin
While the syrup is cooking, place the bowl with the gelatin in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds to melt the gelatin. The gelatin should be liquid. Pour the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Mix the gelatin and sugar
Once the syrup is at the right temperature, turn the mixer on medium low speed and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl, making sure the syrup is hitting the side of the bowl. Don’t pour the syrup into the middle of the bowl where it might hit the whisk attachment and potentially fly back out at you.
Once all the syrup is added, increase the speed of the mixer to medium speed for 5 minutes. Then increase the speed to medium high for an addition 4 minutes. Once the time is up, add the peppermint extract and beat on medium high for an additional minute, or until the marshmallow is pure opaque white and tripled in volume.
Pour into prepared pan
Once the marshmallow is ready, pour and scrape the marshmallow into the prepared pan.
Wet your hands and pat the marshmallow flat down so it has spread evenly throughout the pan.
Then drop the red food coloring all over top of the marshmallows. Use a toothpick and drag the food coloring decoratively around in swirls and figure eights.
Set the pan aside in a cool and dry place for 8 hours.
Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl.
Lift the marshmallows up from the pan by grabbing the parchment paper overhanging the sides and moving the entire sheet to a cutting board.
Cut into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch squares (a 6 x 6 grid). Dip and roll the cut marshmallows into the sugar and cornstarch mixture to coat all the sides and to prevent them from sticking to each other. Store in a cool dry airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.