There are generally only two times of the year that I really care about marshmallows. The first is the holiday season - not only do I love making festive, seasonal marshmallows to gift to others, but it's really fun to throw a ton of them in a big mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter night. I'm also a huge fan of marshmallows in the summer months, mainly because they're an important component in one of my favorite desserts - s'mores! We've already made s'mores a few times this year, using either our grill or one of the burners on our gas stove to toast the marshmallows. I usually just use store-bought marshmallows for our s'mores, but occasionally it's fun to make them from scratch. They're definitely one of those things I would never have guessed you could make at home, but they really are very doable.
A few weeks ago I was browsing the cookbooks at my library and came across one devoted solely to marshmallows, aptly titled Marshmallow Madness. I couldn't help but bring it home after quickly flipping through and seeing recipes for, among others, key lime pie marshmallows, margarita marshmallows, and even maple-bacon marshmallows. There are going to be some gourmet s'mores happening here before long :)
I seriously fretted over what to try first, but I kept coming back to these red velvet marshmallows (there's also a yellow birthday cake version in the book!). I adore all things cake batter flavored so I couldn't resist. They're easy to make too! You start with the classic plain marshmallow recipe and simply fold red velvet cake mix and some sprinkles in at the very end. I loved the vibrant pinkish-red color of the marshmallows after they'd set up, and though I wish the red velvet flavor had been more prominent, these were still a hit, especially among the kids I shared them with!
Red Velvet Marshmallows
from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (optional)
1/2 cup coating
To make the coating, sift the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch into a large bowl. This recipe makes more than you'll need for 1 batch of marshmallows - you can either scale back (you only need about 1/2 cup total for this recipe) or make a full batch and store the leftovers in an airtight container for the next time you make marshmallows.
Spray an 8x8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the marshmallows: In a small bowl, whisk together the gelatin and cold water. Set aside to soften for at least 5 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, the water and salt. Set the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 240 F on an instant-read thermometer. Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave the softened gelatin for about 30 seconds, or until it is completely melted, then add to the mixer bowl with the corn syrup. Turn the mixer on low and let it run until the sugar syrup comes to temperature.
When the syrup reaches 240 F, slowly pour it down the side of the mixer bowl (the mixer should still be on low). Increase the mixer to medium speed and continue beating for 5 minutes, then increase again - this time to medium-high - and beat for about 5 more minutes. Add the vanilla and beat on high for 1 more minute. You'll know the marshmallow is ready when it's opaque and fluffy. Do not overbeat the marshmallow or it will be nearly impossible to fold in the cake mix.
(You want to work quickly on these next few steps, or the marshmallow will start to set before you can incorporate the cake mix and get it in the pan.) Sift half of the cake mix over the marshmallow and gently fold to incorporate with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the second half of the cake mix. Fold in the sprinkles. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer the best you can.
Sift the coating evenly over the top (I didn't use it all) and set the marshmallows aside in a cool, dry place for at least 6 hours so they can set.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a work surface that's been dusted with some of the coating mixture. Cut the marshmallows into pieces using a knife or cookie cutter. Dip the sticky edges in the coating mixture.
Makes about 2 dozen marshmallows