We’re not sweet tooths. In fact, we’re kind of the opposite. My kids would rather have nothing than a piece of candy any day. However, marshmallows are fun! They are perfect for roasting over a fire. Necessary for making s’mores. Delicious on top of a cup of homemade hot chocolate.
So we decided to experiment to see how little sugar we could put into a homemade marshmallow.
As it turns out, sugar is pretty necessary for the structure of a marshmallow. Otherwise, it’s just water and gelatin. However, we were able to use a whole lot LESS sugar and still end up with a fluffy, foamy marshmallow.
So while healthy marshmallows may be a misnomer, here’s why these marshmallows are worth taking on your next camping trip:
- Gelatin is high in protein and generally thought to be good for your health.
- Honey replaces corn syrup in this recipe, for a more wholesome and natural liquid sweetener.
- This recipe uses only 1 cup of sweeteners versus 2-3 cups found in traditional recipes.
- Infuse your marshmallows with herbs or other flavors!
Marshmallows started out as a cough remedy made with marsh mallow root. However, most (all?) commercial marshmallows don’t contain any mallow root. Even if they did, marshmallows aren’t really medicinally useful.
Regardless, it’s easy to infuse flavour into these healthy marshmallows. Here are a few options:
- Replace the vanilla extract with mint, orange or other extracts.
- Use rose water instead of vanilla extract.
- Instead of using a cup of water, use a cup of tea. I recommend Earl Grey, jasmine green tea, or chai. Yum!
- Add the zest from one lemon, orange, or lime.
- Replace the water with 1 cup of clear juice (like apple, blueberry, or pomegranate). Since the juice is sweet, you can reduce the amount of honey to 1/4 cup, but don’t adjust the sugar. It’s structurally important for fluff! (The pink mallows were made with berry juice).
- 1 cup of water, divided
- 3 Tbsp of grass-fed gelatin powder
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of corn starch or cocoa powder
- Line a 9x9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Or grease the pan and coat it with corn starch to prevent sticking.
- Mix 1/2 cup of water with the gelatin in a large bowl. Leave the gelatin to bloom for at least 10 minutes. If you have a stand mixer, it makes whipping easier. So bloom the gelatin in your stand mixer instead.
- Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the honey, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Stick in a candy thermometer.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Heat the sugar water until it reaches 250 F. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Slowly beat the gelatin to break up the clumps, then continue beating as you pour in the hot sugar mixture.
- Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has tripled in size. This will take about 8 minutes.
- When the marshmallow fluff has tripled in size, beat in the vanilla extract. Pour it into the prepared pan and use a spatula to flatten it.
- Allow the marshmallow to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours. When firmly set, invert the marshmallow onto the cutting board and cut it into squares with a sharp knife or scissors. Coat the marshmallows in corn starch or cocoa powder and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
- Marshmallows will last for at least 2 weeks, often longer when stored in the fridge.
- Make your marshmallows more flavourful by replacing the water with brewed tea or switching the vanilla for rosewater. See the section above for details!