Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Safer Marshmallows

My family and I are going camping this 4th of July weekend and no camping trip would be complete without s'mores paraphernalia. Swapping out the artificially-flavored, BHT preservative and cancer-inducing graham squares is easy enough, as is the GMO Hershey's chocolate, with affordable organic options. It is the marshmallows, however, that are a little more tricky.

How innocent these little white fluffy pillows of confection look- until you look at the ingredient list. From Kraft's website:


Isn't it amazing that even in a purely white product, Kraft still manages to throw an artificial color in the mix. So unnecessary. I'm the nut in the grocery store aisle, stomping my foot, saying "what the %&#@, Kraft!" Then having to quickly explain to my kids that mommy said "LUCK," as in we are so lucky we are going to get to make these ourselves at home! Homemade really being the only option if you are on a tighter budget as natural marshmallows in the store will cost you upwards of $4 a bag. (Yeah, I really wish that was an actual exaggeration.)

If you have a stand mixer and a candy thermometer, making marshmallows at home is really no more complicated than making chocolate chip cookies.


Stand mixer
Heavy sauce pan
Candy thermometer
Measuring cup
13 x 9 glass baking dish


2 packets gelatin*
2 cups organic sugar**
1 1/4 cups water, divided
Coconut oil, for greasing the baking dish

*Grass-fed gelatin would be the best to use for its health benefits but it is pricey. I'm still working up the nerve and money to purchase it. And health benefits aside, the end product here is still loaded with sugar and should be consumed sparingly.

**My preferred sweetener of choice is coconut palm sugar and I have used it in this recipe with yummy results that ended with mocha colored marshmallows. However, using 2 cups at a time can also get quite pricey. Use whatever is in your budget.


Mix 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water with the gelatin in the mixer bowl. Set aside.

 In the saucepan mix the additional 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water with the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Once the mixture starts boiling, stop stirring and continue to cook until the temperature reaches 270 degrees, aka hard ball stage. This will take about 10 minutes so check your emails, Twitter or Facebook accounts (Living Life Granola is now on Twitter) but do it close by to make sure your pot doesn't boil over. After the hard ball stage has been reached remove from heat.

A neat trick my mom taught me if you don't have a candy thermometer is to drop a small amount of the boiling mixture into a cold glass of water. If the drop turns hard and falls to the bottom of the glass, it has reached the hard ball stage.

Place the gelatin mixture in the stand mixer and turn on slow. While the mixer is on, slowly add the sugar mixture to the gelatin. 

Once it is all in, turn the mixer to high and beat for 10- 15 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

Spread the marshmallow cream into the greased baking dish. You can grease the spatula as well to get an even and smooth top for the marshmallows. As you can see from the picture, I just slap it in and call it a day. Let it set over night or for 8 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy your three ingredient marshmallows without all the artificials!

Some different variations of the same theme: 

-After spreading the cream into the baking dish top with toasted coconut and gently press to adhere to the marshmallows. Cut as normal in 8 hours.

-Add 1/2 tsp of juice during the whipping stage to naturally color the marshmallows. 

-Instead of spreading the cream in the baking dish, mix with an organic puff rice cereal. Then spread in the baking dish for organic rice crispy treats.  Let cool and harden for a few hours before cutting. 

-To make popcorn balls mix with  popped popcorn instead of puff rice. Grease up your hands well to shape.

-Cut the marshmallows into fun shapes and dip in chocolate.

How do you marshmallow? Let me know in the comments below.

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