Homemade Marshmallows With Vanilla & Maple Syrup
* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.
* This recipe for homemade marshmallows is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors.
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Corn syrup, sugar, modified cornstarch, dextrose, water, gelatine, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, natural and artificial flavour, Blue 1…
Those are the ingredients in Kraft marshmallows.
I have no words.
Ok, I actually have a few choice words, but I’ll bite my tongue lest there be young, impressionable minds reading this right now. If there are, however, young impressionable minds, please, PLEASE stop putting ingredients that are simply listed as “a colour” + “a number” in your body!
All of the other garbage ingredients aside, “Blue 1” is one of a number of artificial dyes that are used in many modern-day processed foods and confections (ie. candy, frozen treats, marshmallows, etc.) that have been linked to behavioural problems in children, allergies and even cancer.
According to this article by healthfully.com, “Blue 1 is a petroleum-derived triphenylmethane” that’s been linked to all sorts of health issues, including:
- puffy eyelids
- dry skin
- recurring ear infections
- abdominal discomfort
- crying (crying???)
- hyperactivity and behavior problems in children
Oh, and it also says that “evidence suggests, though does not prove, that Blue 1 … causes cancer in animals.”
PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who sees a problem with this!
When did it become acceptable to call this FOOD??
But, there is a better way…
Did you know that marshmallows actually used to be made from the root of the Marsh mallow plant? Yes, it’s true. Marshmallows, like just about every other food item invented before the age of industrialization, monoculture corn and petroleum by-products, was once made from actual edible, natural ingredients.
In fact, the earliest known marshmallows were enjoyed by the Ancient Egyptians who boiled pieces of the mucilaginous roots of the Marsh mallow plant (which is also highly medicinal, btw) with honey (also medicinal) to make an herbal confection that was reserved for the enjoyment of royalty and deities only.
Fast forward to early 19th century France and the modern day marshmallow began to take shape as French confectioners began to whip the sap from the marsh mallow root into a fluffy, spongy, soft candy reminiscent of today’s marshmallows.
Of course, like most everything else, over the course of the past two centuries marshmallows have become hyper-processed and hardly resemble real food at all. (And they definitely aren’t made with medicinal herbs anymore).
Luckily you can avoid all of the garbage ingredients that are often found in store-bought marshmallows by making your own marshmallows at home.
Even luckier, homemade marshmallows are stupidly easy to make.
The homemade marshmallow recipe I’m about to share with you takes just a few minutes to throw together and is made with just a handful of natural ingredients: water, gelatine, vanilla, pure maple syrup, sea salt and a little non-GMO cornstarch mixed with some powdered vanilla to coat the outside.
You could make try making these marshmallows with liquid honey or simple syrup instead of maple syrup if you wanted. I just so happened to have some pure maple syrup on hand, and since summer is just wrapping up now and we’re heading into fall, there’s something about the maple flavour that just feels right this time of year!
I won’t get into the actual health benefits of some of these ingredients, and I do want to make it clear that the sugar content (although derived from pure maple syrup) is still high even in homemade marshmallows. But I will say that the ingredients in these homemade marshmallows are exponentially better for you than the modified cornstarch, tetrasodium pyrophosphate and Blue 1 food additives in commercially-processed marshmallows.
Oh, and they taste better too.
But don’t take my word for it. Try them yourself!
Seriously, they’re so easy to make that you’ll (hopefully) never buy store-bought marshmallows again. But if you do, and you happen to experience any of the side effects listed above (a little spontaneous crying perhaps??), well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Grease a 9x13-inch pan with butter to prevent marshmallows from sticking. Set aside.
- Mix the water and the gelatine together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once gelatine has dissolved and the mixture has come to a simmer, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl if using a hand beater). Whisk together on low to combine.
- Slowly pour the gelatine/water mixture into the maple syrup/vanilla mixture and continue to whisk on low. Slowly increase the speed of the stand mixer (or hand beater) higher and higher until the marshmallow mixture begins to thicken up and form stiff peaks.
- Working quickly, pour the marshmallow fluff into the greased pan. Use a spatula to help transfer it from your mixing bowl and smooth it out the top as best you can. (The gelatine in these homemade marshmallows sets pretty quickly so try to get your marshmallow mixture into your pan as quickly as possible once you’ve finished whipping it).
- Refrigerate the pan of marshmallow mixture for at least one hour and up to 12 hours or overnight.
- Cut marshmallows into squares and toss in a mixture of cornstarch and vanilla powder to coat the outside and prevent them from sticking together. (The vanilla powder is optional but adds extra vanilla flavour to the coating!)
- Enjoy marshmallows fresh or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
* If you want to store these marshmallows for longer than a few days, you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. They freeze nicely but still maintain their spongy texture. Don't store them at room temperature though as they will likely mold from the water content.
Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂
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