I was scrolling through my Instagram explore page when I came across these adorable limited edition pumpkin shaped marshmallows and I had to have them. I love making fun themed snacks for Lilly and thought that they would be the perfect addition to a snack tray, hot chocolate or spooky s’mores. The possibilities are pretty endless.
I quickly opened up my Target app and searched for the Halloween marshmallows. Imagine my disappointment when I opened up the ingredients to find “Caramel Coloring, Artificial Flavors, Yellow, Blue and Red dyes.” No matter how excited I am about a cute snack, I could never feed those ingredients to my child.
Then I remembered the summer my grandfather made marshmallows from scratch for my friends and I to take on our camping trip and decided that I would simply make my own! I had no idea how much of an adventure that would be. Here is how it went.
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Step One Research
First, I looked up a bunch of recipes online and decided to print out a few that had the best ingredients. I ended up making a few different batches so I will explain how each one went. I have a favorite of the three methods that I tried, but I still have some kinks to work out. When I try again I will update this post.
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Mistakes were made
My first mistake was not reading the instructions fully before starting to prepare the sugar. Spoiler alert: messes were made and smoke detectors were set off. The first step is to mix the sugar, agave or corn syrup, and water in a hot pan and boil it until it reaches the firm ball stage. I kept boiling it thinking it was going to turn into a ball which is actually not what that means. *face palm*
This resulted in the house filling with smoke as I inevitably burnt it, badly. After I cleaned that mess up I took to google to find out that the firm ball stage is when the mixture heats up to 245 degrees and forms a ball when dropped in a glass of water.
So back to the stove I went only this time when I added the lid, I looked away for one second too long and the sugar boiled over, fusing to the stove top. (We are still scraping the burnt sugar off my mom’s glass top. OOPS, sorry mom!)
It turns out the third time really was the charm. This batch ended up being my favorite batch of the 3 that I made that actually resulted in marshmallows rather than messes. This first batch was made with agave syrup instead of corn syrup. I really liked the consistency that this batch had and the flavor was just like vanilla ice cream. The third batch was made using the same recipe only instead of agave syrup it had corn syrup. I found that the corn syrup made the marshmallows too firm and I didn’t enjoy the flavor as much.
The corn syrup batch held up better to roasting though. Both the first and third batch used the same recipe with only the agave syrup vs. corn syrup being different. This recipe also called for egg whites which helped with the fluffy consistency that these two shared.
The second batch did not have egg whites. I will not be sharing the recipe or link to this batch because it really did not work out. I could not contain my laughter with this batch. It looked and felt exactly like the padding under carpet. The knife wouldn’t even cut through them so I had to rip pieces off and they looked like the little bits of padding left behind when tearing out carpet. I joked that you could stuff it in a balloon and use it as a stress ball.
More Mistakes Were Made..
My third mistake in all of this was not realizing that it took 6 hours to set up. What was supposed to be a one day project ended up being a two day event. It worked out in the end though and Lilly got to spend two days at her grandparents house. She washed her toy cars and got muddy with pappy in the garden. We ate s’mores at the end of all of this and that was definitely worth the effort!
The second day I showed up, Starbucks coffee in hand, eager to see how each batch turned out. I was crossing my fingers that all of the time and effort did not go to waste entirely. I grabbed batch number one and carefully removed the entire square of marshmallow wrapped in its parchment paper lining and sat it on the counter. Before cutting, I made sure to add a thick layer of the cornstarch/powder sugar mixture.
Final Step: Cutting the marshmallows into shapes
When cutting them into the shapes I had trouble with the marshmallow squishing down as the cookie cutter went through them, which caused the middle of the marshmallow shapes to be thinner. I will be playing around with future recipes and methods to figure out how to avoid this. When I find a solution I will make sure to update this post. The best method I found so far was to cut the marshmallows was to make sure that the cookie cutters were free of build up and coated in a powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture so that they didn’t have much resistance.
Overall, the project was a success. Here is the recipe I used if you want to try them yourselves.
Check out the S’mores we made with them here!
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