Look, I know this isn’t technically a cookie, and I know that technically the workweek is over, but I just freaking love marshmallows*, ok.
Before you panic about the idea of making marshmallows, let me reassure you that if you can boil water and make whipped cream, you can make marshmallows. The whole process has like three steps, and one of them is scraping all that beautiful sticky fluff into a pan. I promise you, the extra effort is worth it.
Homemade marshmallows are pillowy and lush, with a fun springy snap that storebought can’t match. Plus, they actually have flavor! And some texture from the peppermint pieces! Imagine that!
If you don’t want to deal with tempering chocolate, these are perfectly delicious (and beautiful) all on their own. I’m planning on making an uncoated batch next week for hot chocolate on Christmas morning. Because I think this year especially, we all need a little bit of extra happy on Christmas.
These marshmallows? They’re pretty darn happy.
* importantly, here, homemade marshmallows. Do not come at me with that spongy storebought garbage** that tastes like sweet styrofoam, cornstarch, and sadness. Those are only good for s’mores and Rice Krispies treats.
**I have a lot of strong feelings about marshmallows, apparently.
Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Marshmallows
Yield: roughly 2 dozen 2″ squares Time: about 30 minutes Source: Adapted from King Arthur Baking Co.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that you thoroughly grease your pan. If you don’t, getting these out will be a nightmare. Also, when you start cutting these, grease your knife as well. Basically, when it comes to handling these, if you’re not sure, add more pan spray.
- 22 grams (3 packets) unflavored powdered gelatin
- 227 grams water, divided
- 298 grams granulated sugar
- 312 grams light corn syrup
- a two-finger pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 80 grams hard peppermint candy, crushed into sprinkle sized chunks, plus extra for chocolate
- a few drops liquid red food coloring (optional)
- 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar, for coating
- 8 oz semisweet (50-60%) chocolate, chopped as finely as you can manage.
Place 113 grams of water into the bowl of your stand mixer. Slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water, allowing each bit of gelatin to turn clear before adding more. Take your time – if you dump everything in at once and stir, you might get lumps of dry gelatin that will persist into your final marshmallows. Set aside.
Now, in a small, deep saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. This should happen just before everything comes to a boil – but if your syrup starts boiling and you’re not sure all the sugar crystals are gone, stop stirring anyway.
Continue to boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 238-240°F (114-116°C) on a candy thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I just start checking obsessively every minute or so once things are getting close).
Take the mixture off the heat. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment and start stirring the gelatin on low. Slowly stream the sugar syrup into the gelatin, trying to avoid the tines of the whisk – there should be a sweet spot about 1/4 inch from the side of the bowl. Once all the syrup is in, increase the speed to medium-high and whip the gelatin mixture until it is thick, fluffy, opaque, and has cooled to lukewarm – you should be able to stick your finger into the center of the marshmallow comfortably. If it helps, this will be about 95°F(35°C). Do not let the mixture get thick enough that it starts to ball up in the center of the whisk – it’s better to stop too early than too late.
Add the peppermint extract and the crunched up peppermint and whip until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
Stop the mixer and take out the whisk. Tap off the marshmallow as best as you can, then, using a greased spatula, scrape the marshmallow into a heavily greased 9×13 inch pan. Working quickly, spread the marshmallow into an even layer into the corners of the pan.
If you want to add a decorative swirl, sprinkle a few drops of red food coloring across the surface of the marshmallows and marble it through with a butter knife.
Sprinkle the entire top surface with your powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture and let sit overnight before cutting.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board. If things seem to be stuck, while the pan is upside down, use a knife to gently lift one corner of the marshmallows away from the pan. This should break the suction and your marshmallows will fall out cleanly (if a bit slowly). Using a greased knife, cut the marshmallows into squares. It is important that you grease your knife between each cut, or things will get really sticky really fast.
Take each marshmallow square and toss into the powdered sugar/cornstarch blend. You want every surface covered. Shake off any excess well – I put them in a mesh sieve and toss them around.
If you don’t want to deal with chocolate coating, stop here and pop your marshmallows into an airtight container, separating each layer with a piece of waxed paper.
If you want to deal with the chocolate, the first thing you’re going to need to do is temper it. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to put 3/4 of your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave it at 50 percent power for 15 seconds, then take it out and stir thoroughly for at least 30 seconds. Repeat this process until your chocolate is just barely completely melted. Now, dump in your remaining chocolate, and stir vigorously until all of that chocolate is completely dissolved. If you have any stubborn bits remaining, you can put it back in the microwave at 50 percent power for NO MORE than 5 seconds.
Boom. Tempered chocolate.
To coat, brush off any excess powdered sugar with a pastry brush. If you want to be real #aesthetic, make sure you really brush off your red swirls so they show up cleanly. Dip about 1/3 of your marshmallow into the melted chocolate and gently shake off the excess.
Place your coated marshmallow on a piece of waxed paper to set. If you want, you can sprinkle the top with some extra peppermint. Repeat with the remaining marshmallows.
DO NOT put your chocolate in the refrigerator to harden – it will cause the chocolate to bloom and look ashy. I promise it will set completely at room temperature – for me, it took an hour or so. Be patient.
Store your chocolate-coated marshmallows in an airtight container, separating each layer with a piece of wax paper. They will keep for several days at room temperature. If you don’t eat them first.