It’s sadly been another long period since I posted here, but I am back with a great recipe! The reason for my long absence this time was partially technical difficulties with WordPress, but mainly technical difficulties with my life.
As I write this, I am 34 weeks pregnant with my first child. My husband and I are thrilled (and nervous, and scared) to be becoming parents, but there has been a lot to do to get ready. Just being pregnant in general is hard on the body, so its been difficult to find the energy to bake, take pictures, and write blog posts. When I have been in the kitchen, it has mostly been to make things I’ve made before for this blog, because they are easy for me to do. Experimenting with new recipes is much easier when you can sleep through the night comfortably. (I suppose that means I’ll be posting here less frequently when our bundle of joy arrives too…)
I was determined to share my peppermint marshmallow recipe here before Christmas though, so I decided to power through. I was inspired by the lovely Instagram feed from Bravetart to take them to the next level with a decorative red swirl, which made the Christmas deadline even more critical. Red swirl peppermint marshmallows are delicious anytime, but they really shine at this time of year. So here I am, posting this on Christmas Eve. I’m cutting it close, but in my defense these DO make great last-minute homemade gift! They are way easier to make than they might seem and therefore extremely impressive. You can take it up a notch with a nice hot cocoa mix (homemade or store-bought) and have a lovely gift that anyone will enjoy.
Those of you who have kids or know someone who does are probably familiar with the term pregnancy brain, or the forgetfulness and general fog many women experience when expecting. (Apparently our brains haven’t actually changed, we’re just stressed and exhausted. I maintain that it is real and science just hasn’t searched hard enough yet.) A recent bout of pregnancy brain actually led me to make a mistake while making these, that in the end, was actually a genius discovery!
In the past, I’ve always made these marshmallows in a 9 by 9 inch square baking pan. Then I’ve tried cutting cute shaped marshmallows with cookie cutters and found it near impossible to get even the simplest shapes to look right. When making these recently, I instead mistakenly grabbed the 9 by 13 inch rectangle pan. I didn’t even realize my error until I saw how thin the final marshmallows were. Whops!
However, after thinking about it, I wondered if the reason I couldn’t cut shapes with a cookie cutter before was that the marshmallows were too thick. Sure enough, my Star of David cookie cutter worked beautifully this time, making many lovely star marshmallows the perfect size to fit in my favorite Christmas mugs. (I’d still tread carefully when considering any intricate cookie cutters though. Remember this is very sticky stuff, and fine details are likely to get lost).
So, if you’d like to make marshmallows that are perfect for floating on a mug of cocoa, I suggest using the large pan to get thinner marshmallows that you can cut into fun shapes. If you prefer to have thick cubes or rectangles for making s’mores or snacking, go with a smaller pan. Either way, you’ll have light and flavorful marshmallows way better than anything you can buy at the grocery store, all with very little effort.
Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Makes 20-40 marshmallows, depending on size
- 3 packages of unflavored gelatin
- cold water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp peppermint oil
- red gel food coloring
- confectioners sugar
Lightly grease a square edged pan with cooking spray. For thinner marshmallows to top hot cocoa, use a 9 by 13 inch pan. For thicker marshmallow cubes, use a 9 by 9 inch pan. Have a small bowl of water nearby.
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water in a medium sauce pan and whisk to combine. Cook over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees, remove from the heat.
Put the stand mixer on lower speed and slowly pour the (very hot!) sryup into the gelatin in the bowl. Then crank the mixer up to high and whisk until the mixture becomes very thick, about 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your mixture. Add the peppermint oil and 1 drop of red gel food coloring and mix to combine.
Working quickly, pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Dampen your finger tips in the water to smooth the top. Drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick or metal cake tester, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marble effect. Tap the pan on the counter a few time to get rid of air bubbles. Sift powdered sugar evenly and generously over the top. Allow to stand uncovered for several hours (or overnight) until the marshmallows dry out.
Lift the marshmallows out of the pan (clean hands are best here) and onto a cutting board dusted with powdered sugar. For shapes, spray a cookie cutter with cooking spray and cut out as desired. Keep respraying the cookie cutter (or cleaning it) for the best edges. For squares, use a sharp knife to cut stripes, then cubes, cleaning the knife as you go. Dust the final marshmallows in powdered sugar, or dip in melted chocolate.
The marshmallows can be stored in airtight containers for up to a week at room temperature.