OK, so I know that marshmallows are not necessarily a healthy snack. But with Easter right around the corner I figured I would take a treat that is chalked full of preservatives and processed sugar and try to make it a little healthier, and use natural ingredients in the process. It turns out that making your own marshmallows is totally worth the work- they are tons of fun and taste pretty darn good. To be honest I've never been a marshmallow person, they're alright for camping but I've never felt a draw towards them in general. But these were great, and I liked them way more than the store bought types.
For the cut outs I made my own little chick cookie cutter. I didn't have anything that was Easter-like, basically my cutters are limited to Olivia the Pig, a star and a heart. So I fashioned my chick using an aluminum soda can. With gardening sheers I cut a ring out of the can, then shaped it into a chick. I was super proud of myself after that- I am not the artistic type.
After getting over my euphoria of building a cookie cutter, I made the marshmallows. You are supposed to use a candy thermometer to heat your honey, so that you can insure that it reaches 240F. Obviously if I don't have appropriate cookie cutters, I definitely don't have a candy thermometer. What can I say, they're not part of my healthy snack arsenal. So I heated everything for 7 minutes, until it formed soft balls when dropped into cool water.
The marshmallows needs to sit for ~4 hours prior to cutting. After cutting, store them in a tupperware until you are almost ready to dish them out. At that point coat them in sugar, if desired. The reason I recommend waiting is that the sugar can pull out any residual moisture from the marshmallows, making them a little damp. I colored my sugar with a pinch of turmeric, but you can leave them white if you prefer. Then I used a skewer and dipped it in cocoa powder for the eye.
Aren't they cute? Happy Easter- enjoy!
Home made marshmallow chicks
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cool time: at least 4 hours
Makes: ~20 chicks, depending on how savy you are at cutting them out
1/2 cup water
3 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup water with three packets of gelatin. Set aside so that the gelatin can bloom.
In a small sauce pan heat 1/2 cup water, honey and salt over medium heat. The mix will start to boil, just stir regularly so that it doesn't boil over.
Using a counter top mixer (or a hand mixer with some creativity) slowly add syrup to gelatin while mixing on low.
Turn speed up and continue to mix for 10-15 minutes, until marshmallow fluff forms. It will hold its shape after you pull out the beater when it's ready. Then pour into a parchment paper lined, then greased, 9x13 inch baking pan. Let sit for 4 hours, then cut.
Prior to serving, mix the following in a clean coffee grinder:
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Coat cut outs evenly with colored sugar. Add a little water to the end of a skewer, then dip in cocoa powder. Make an eye on your chick, then put in plastic baggies and pop them in your kids' Easter baskets.