Goodness (Recipe: Marshmallows)

It can be messy and sure is sweet, but making your own marshmallows is one of the most rewarding activities. For very little effort you get something that tastes infinitely better than anything you can buy. And the bonus? It makes any hot cocoa better. It is still winter, after all.

Making marshmallows at home is intimidating. This was the consensus at a sledding party we attended in December. I brought marshmallows for the gang, a perfect accompaniment to the planned hot cocoa afterwards. The other parents all thought it would be messy, involve lots of egg whites, and take forever.

In all honesty, it is messy when you do it with a 3 and 5 year old by your side. There are no egg whites, no dairy. There is gelatin, so these are not vegetarian. And the longest part of the process is waiting for them to firm up.

I'm posting the recipe today for parents everywhere. Head into the kitchen with these simple ingredients and you'll have marshmallows in time for hot cocoa after school.

For the best hot cocoa, I use this recipe. For an extra kick add some garam masala. Pair that with marshmallows made with a teaspoon of the chai spice mix added to the corn syrup mixture. You can also swap out the vanilla extract with peppermint or almond to vary the flavour. My girls also like them rolled in toasted coconut instead of icing sugar.

Basic Marshmallows
Adapted from Under the High Chair (Mine are a bit more firm and don't melt so quickly into the cocoa)

3 envelopes gelatin
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
icing sugar

Prepare a 9'' by 13'' pan by lining it with plastic wrap and oiling the bottoms and sides with canola oil or vegetable oil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Pour boiling syrup over the gelatin. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes with the electric mixer. It will become glossy and stiff, like egg whites. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more.

Scrape into the prepared pan and spread evenly. It helps if your hands and/or the spatula are also lightly oiled. This is what keeps the mess under control. Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Sprinkle a clean cutting board with icing sugar. Turn out the marshmallows and sprinkle more icing sugar on top. Cut into 1-1 1/2'' squares. Lightly roll in more icing sugar. These will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container - if they last that long!

(If you still don't feel up to tackling marshmallows at home I strongly recommend an order from The Marshmallows Company. They make some fine marshmallows and the company is run by a very cool kid!)