living the sweet life

Desserts for the Deserving: Peppermint Marshmallows

Before I talk about the wonderful peppermint marshmallows I made, I first need to talk about why I made them in the first place.

I am so lucky to have been apart of Desserts for the Deserving hosted by i am baker for the past two years. It’s this incredible organization that was started in 2011 with the intention to spread happiness. Someone deserving gets nominated by a family member or friend, and then a volunteer signs up to send some sort of sweet treat their way. It’s a nice way to pay it forward, and as a baker, I know (and love) how much simple joy a package with some cookies can bring. My match this year was a woman who lives in Missouri and has been an incredible friend, despite dealing with personal loss. You can actually read a bunch of the amazing nominations here.

When thinking of what I could possibly make that would ship well and also last past the receiving date, I realized that peppermint marshmallows would work. They travel well, keep for weeks, and given that she lives in MO – I’m sure they’d be a welcome treat to go along with any hot chocolate consumed during all of this cold weather. She also loves all things Irish according to her friend, so I made sure to swirl some green in some of the marshmallows!

On to the marshmallows. Marshmallows are the perfect year-round treat. You can eat them on their own, use them to make melty s’mores in the summer, and add them to hot chocolate in the colder months. Now, as much as I love s’mores, there’s something special about marshmallows and hot chocolate during the winter months. It’s so comforting and heartwarming (literally) and the way marshmallows slowly melt into the hot chocolate is the best.

What’s even better than regular marshmallows are delicious, fluffy, bouncy, flavorful homemade marshmallows. None of that store-bought processed barely flavorful stuff. These are the marshmallows of dreams. Fluffy delicious dreams. And the peppermint? Not overwhelming like a mint but enough to give that refreshing peppermint flavor that I love around the holidays and during the winter months. And when they melt into the hot chocolate? Mint chocolate heaven.

Peppermint Marshmallows

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint
3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, empty gelatin packets and add 1/2 cup ice water. Stir gently to combine. Set aside.

Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a small saucepan. Add remaining 1/2 cup ice water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, salt, and stir together.  Over high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce to a simmer/medium low heat. Stir mixture every so often until it comes to 245 degrees F.

Remove pan from heat. Turn the stand mixer on low, and slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl. Once it’s all added, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Let the mixture whip for 10 minutes. Turn off, then add in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Turn mixer back up and let it beat for another 2-5 minutes. It’ll be lukewarm (both the fluff and the mixing bowl), thick, white and fluffy and that’s when you’re done.

Take a 9×13 pan and spray it with non-stick spray. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and powdered sugar. Sprinkle a few tablespoons into the pan and shake around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Tap out excess and save for later.

Spray a spatula with non-stick spray or run it under hot water, and use it to scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Try and spread the mixture so it’s as uniform in thickness as possible. If the marshmallow starts sticking to your hands or the spatula, just spray or run under hot water and keep going.

Let pan sit at room temperature for about an hour to form a ‘shell’ so the top is semi-dry. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the cornstarch and sugar mixture over the top and spread it around with your hands. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let sit overnight, or at least 6-8 hours.

Run a knife along the edges of the marshmallows, flip the pan over, and gently pull the marshmallow out of the pan. Cut the marshmallows with a sharp pizza cutter or knife that has been coated with the cornstarch sugar mixture. Toss the cut marshmallows in the sugar mixture so the edges aren’t sticky anymore. Store in an air tight container, and they should last about 2-3 weeks.

[source: adapted from my homemade marshmallows]

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