Updated: Oct 5, 2019
I don't want for my kids to feel like they were deprived of some key fun things when they grow up and look back. When the weather starts to turn cooler, there is a big woodpile, or maybe Kallo just feels like being a firebug, I want to have marshmallows around for the kids to roast a few. We don't go bonkers on them, since even healthier sugar options are still sugar, but the fun of catching them on fire and eating the burnt, crispy exterior and getting all sticky and dirty (like kids should do) is worth a few extra teaspoons of sugar on occasion.
The first recipe I tried was all honey for the sugar portion of the recipe and left too strong of a honey taste. Kallo doesn't care for the taste of honey and I'm not overly fond of it (although I have come to enjoy it more than I used to). I had to balance out what to use to keep the flavor slightly more neutral. Half honey and half maple syrup seemed to mute the
honey-ness while not overdoing the maple flavor. If you aren't strictly paleo, you could replace the honey and maple with organic cane sugar and still avoid the HFCS from GMO corn.
We did take the honey marshmallows camping with us, and they worked perfectly with homemade graham crackers and some delicious chocolate bars to make s'mores. They did better for roasting when they'd been aged a bit, first, though. To do that I'd simply left them in a bowl with a tea towel rubber banded over the top so they could dry a bit. I gave them a toss once or twice a day, to encourage even drying.
3/4 cup water, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons grass-fed beef gelatin
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Coconut oil to grease the parchment paper
Arrowroot starch OR tapioca starch OR cacao powder for coating finished marshmallows
Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper in both directions, leaving an overlay on 2 sides to use as handles to removed the set marshmallows.
Lightly grease the parchment paper and sprinkle some starch or cacao powder and toss around to leave a light coating of the starch or powder in the coconut oil.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or, if doing by hand, a large bowl, add the gelatin with 1/2 cup of water and let it soften.
While the gelatin is softening, pour the other 1/4 cup of water into a sauce pan along with the honey, maple and salt.
Turn the burner on medium heat and slowly bring the mixture to a boil.
Place a candy thermometer on the pan and continue to boil the mixture until it reaches 242 degrees (aka the soft ball stage). Don't go over 245!
When it reaches 240-242 F or soft ball stage, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
If using a stand mixer: turn it on low/medium (I put my kitchen aid at 4).
Pour the mixture into the bowl in a slow steady stream, down the side of the bowl. You want to pour very slowly to combine it with the softened gelatin.
Once this is well combined, meaning no undissolved gelatin sticking to the bottom, turn the mixer to high and continue beating air into it until it becomes thick like marshmallow creme. This takes approx. 7-10 minutes. The marshmallow creme should be cooled down by the time it's done.
Add the vanilla around the 5 minute mark.
Once it's done spread it into the prepared pan with a well greased spatula.
Put a piece of greased parchment paper on top and press into the corners with your hands. This keeps your hands clean and keeps anything from falling onto the top of the marshmallows while they set.
Leave the marshmallows to set up for 4-6 hours (or overnight).
When set, remove the marshmallows by lifting the parchment paper handles that you left in step one.
Cut to desired size with a greased pizza cutter.
Toss in starch or powder to prevent them sticking together.
Some additional tips:
If you don't have a candy thermometer, don't despair! Once you've been cooking the maple/honey down for about ten minutes - start testing it in cold water. Use your spoon and take out a small glob of the syrup. Drop it into a bowl of very cold water and see what it looks like. If it dissolves into nothing, it's not ready. You want to see it turn into a sort of taffy consistency: sticky, gooey and can be squished around a bit. If it turns into a hard piece of sugar, its at hard ball stage. Don't cry if you get there, tho. Drop it in globs onto your greased parchment paper and you'll have fun little hard candies to snack on while you try again. There are lots of videos on YouTube to show you how to check the candy stage. I'll add one in a future post!
Don't spill the syrup. It's a sticky mess! You can see some of my spills in my pictures.
When pouring the syrup into the gelatin, you want to pour it from high enough and down the side of the bowl so that it cools ever so slightly.