Next on the edible Christmas gifts series is peppermint marshmallows. I will be the first to admit that the idea of marshmallows you get from the store does not attract me. I find them bland, gummy, and generally unappetizing. Now, homemade marshmallows are a whole other story. I first made them because my son loves marshmallows and I had heard so many good things about the homemade ones. I made plain ones (vanilla) and they were lovely. When I was planning these peppermint ones, I wasn’t sure they would work, but they turned out to be even better than the vanilla ones. Even my son, who does not like mint, gobbles these up. They are not hard to make provided you have a stand mixer. Sadly, marshmallows are pretty much impossible to make without a stand mixer.
In addition to the marshmallows, you will need plastic goodie bags, a length of ribbon, a candy cane and/or a Christmas-themed Chinese take-out style box, which can be found at craft stores like Michaels and Joann’s.
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powder (confectioner’s) sugar
1/4 cup water
2 envelopes (1 1/2 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp peppermint extract/emulsion
red paste food coloring (optional)
Using cooking spray, spray the inside of a loaf pan. Sift the cornstarch and powder sugar together, and using some of the mixture, coat the sprayed loaf pan. Save the remaining mixture to coat the marshmallows in the last step.
Pour the water into the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle the gelatine over the water, and let it stand for 5 minutes to soften. Place the mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, light corn syrup, water, and salt; place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 244 ºF to 246 ºF, the firm-ball stage. Remove from the heat.
Attach the mixer bowl with the gelatine to the mixer. With the whisk attachment, and the mixer on low, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatine in a steady stream. Try to avoid the whisk. DO NOT SCRAPE THE PAN OR THE MIXER BOWL.
Beat until the mixture is thick and fluffy but still warm enough to be pourable, this can take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract and mix for a few seconds until combined.
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared loaf pan. If desired, streak the top of the marshmallow mixture with the red food coloring. Cover the pan loosely with foil and let it dry for 4 to 6 hours, or until it’s firm enough to cut.
Using a pair of kitchen shears, or a pizza cutter, coated in cornstarch, cut the marshmallow slab into small squares. Larger ones can be cut for eating as they are, smaller ones can be cut to float in hot chocolate.
Place the reserved cornstarch and powder sugar mixture in a container with a lid. Add the marshmallows, close the lid, and shake to fully coat the marshmallows.
Makes approximately 10 oz.
This recipe is adapted and modified from the one found in Joy of Cooking.
Marshmallows are not super easy to make, but they are not terribly hard either, and the results are worth it. A note on unflavored gelatin, in case you have never used it before. It smells absolutely horrible while its hot; so horrible, in fact, that you’ll wonder whether you should dump the lot. The smell goes away when it’s cool, and there is no flavor associated with the smell.
To package the marshmallows for gift-giving, place them in the goodie bag, tie with a ribbon, and add a candy cane for decoration. Alternatively, for better presentation, place the tied goodie bag into the Chinese take-out style box.
The marshmallows will keep at room temperature, if sealed, for quite some time, which is why they are ideal edible Christmas presents.