All-natural, corn-free marshmallows
Marshmallows are one of those foods you might not think about very often — maybe if you’re making s’mores or tossing some mini-mallows into hot cocoa.
(Unless you’re a real marshmallow freak.)
Now I can’t say we’re marshmallow freaks around here, but we have been known to enjoy roasting marshmallows when we go camping.
Here’s the thing, though: Those marshmallows you buy in bags at the store have artificial blue food dye in them to make them look more white. And we don’t do artificial ingredients. Food dyes are made with petroleum.
We don’t eat petroleum.
Those marshmallows are also made with corn syrup and corn starch, so if you have a corn allergy, then marshmallows are on your hit list. You might also put marshmallows on your hit list because the corn they’re made with is most likely genetically modified, and you might be as insulted by genetically modified food as I am and avoid most corn products for this reason.
You can make marshmallows without food dye or corn. And it’s easy.
Marshmallows are mostly sugar, and they are coated with even more sugar. So they’re not a health food. But if you want to avoid junk ingredients with your junk food, check out how I made these fluffy, sweet confections.
3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp. (usually 2 packets) of unflavored, unsweetened gelatin (there are vegan options for this)
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
2 tsp. vanilla
Bring 1/2 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 2 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve to make your syrup.
Sprinkle gelatin over a little cold water (a couple tablespoons) and stir to dissolve. Then add it to the syrup, and mix until the syrup looks clear.
While the syrup cools, make your own powdered sugar. (If you buy powdered sugar — also called confectioner’s sugar — in a store, it will probably have corn starch in it. Read the label.) Pour one cup of sugar into a blender and blend it on high until the sugar becomes powdery and fine. You might need to blend the sugar a little at a time to give you the chance to shake down sugar that has climbed up the side of the blender, and also to give your blender a rest.
When you start to see what looks like smoke inside your blender, that’s a good sign that the sugar has become so fine that it can float in the air (and it probably will when you remove the lid). Pour your powdered sugar into a bag with 2 Tbsp. of tapioca starch, and shake it up.
Spoon enough powdered sugar into a small pan to cover the bottom.
Now pour your syrup into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and a dash of salt, and beat it on high speed for about 15 minutes. Do your arms and hands a favor and use a stand mixer!
The syrup will turn white and creamy, like a batter. Pour this into your pan with the powdered sugar on the bottom.
Put the pan into the fridge to cool for about a half-hour. Play a game with your child, or check Facebook.
Then bring out the pan to cut the marshmallows into squares. Or heck, go crazy and use shapes if you like. You’ll notice the consistency of the marshmallows is kind of like gelatin. Pour out some of your powdered sugar into a separate bowl and coat each marshmallow cube in the powdered sugar. This is a sticky business. (You’ll have plenty of powdered sugar left over for a future recipe, like frosting.)
Then enjoy your soft, fluffy marshmallows! Easy but impressive.