Saturday, 16 January 2016

Vanilla Marshmallow with Strawberry Swirl (gluten, dairy and nut free)

We're half-way through January and I'm wondering how many of us are sticking to our healthy eating intentions and exercise boost?

Actually, I'm doing pretty well with sticking to an increased exercise regime............ Okay...... 'regime' may be a little strong...... but I am managing to do more than the recommended 10,000 steps most days (except when work ties me to my desk for an excess of hours due to report deadlines), have managed a fair few gym sessions and have stuck (almost) rigidly to the 5:2 for a good couple of weeks. I'm not seeing much of a difference on the scales, but am working on the theory that muscle weighs more than fat and that this increase compensates the flab that (must be) dropping off!!! No? Oh well...... I feel better and far more energised, so that's good enough for me!

I know I should be posting lots of healthy stuff at the start of the year, but I made this lovely marshmallow a little while before Christmas for a friend's birthday (as well as to put my new Thermapen food thermometer through its paces) and it has been sitting around in my drafts box, waiting for an appropriate moment ever since.

I considered not posting it at all on account of being less than happy with some of the photos, but then decided on balance, that since they are way better than the photos I took in my early days of blogging and the recipe is too good to keep to myself, I should go ahead anyway.

Besides...... Valentines is round the corner and it seems a good time to get it 'out there' ready for the lovey-dovey sweetie celebrations! If you are thinking ahead on the gift front, you can do a lot worse than home-made marshmallow (and you can prepare it way in advance of the big day......).

The last time I made marshmallow was when I was a child. It was a very different recipe to this and (if I remember rightly) didn't contain any egg white. The recipe that I have concocted here is way better than my childhood efforts....... It is light and airy and very very squidgy! It also has added yumminess (and prettiness) from the fruity swirl running through it, which you may choose to 'alcoholise' or not.

Marshmallow may not be your 'thing', but I have a serious weakness for the stuff and consider myself to be quite a conosieur........ If I see a mallow that I have not spotted before, it is more than I can do to avoid it leaping into my basket (once I have checked it is also gluten free)....... Often snaffled from secret supplies after hubbie has gone to bed (do I need to join 'Marshmallows Anonymous'??), I mostly eat it 'neat', but it also finds its way into cakes, biscuits, toasted on the barbie, or used as cake decoration. One of my favourite-decorated cakes used a whole load of them to make a surface of spring flowers!

I digress and distract........ This recipe makes darn good mallow and is really not that tricky either, providing you have a decent sugar/food thermometer. The Thermapen came good on this one!

Although you can eat it freshly-made, it tastes best when it has been coated in a cornflour-icing sugar mix and then left to dry for a couple of days so that it is less sticky to handle with a slightly firm outer-crust, yet still has a soft, fluffy, squashy, pillowy middle....... Just as it should be!

I am sharing a handful with the following linkies this month :

Tea Time Treats with Janie over at The Hedge Combers (and Karen at Lavender & Lovage)

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse

Cook Blog Share, this week with Sneaky Veg

Vanilla Marshmallow with Strawberry Swirl (makes about 20 marshmallows)


10 gelatine leaves (9 + 1 - see below)
100 ml cold water
1½ tablespoons berry liqueur or cordial
vegetable oil (for brushing the tin)
60g egg whites (approx 2 medium/1½ large egg whites)
200g granulated sugar
100g liquid glucose
60 ml water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60g runny strawberry jam (smooth/sieved)
freeze dried strawberry powder for sprinkling (optional)
40g cornflour
40g icing sugar

(you will also need a sugar/food thermometer)


  1. Using a flat bottomed dish, soak 9 of the gelatine leaves in 100ml cold water to soften (adding them one at a time to the liquid and ensuring all are fully immersed). Soak for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate dish, soak the 10th gelatine leaf in the liqueur/cordial (you can break up the leaf if easier to ensure immersed) - set aside and leave soaking.
  3. Fully line a 23 cm/9 inch square (3 cm deep) baking tin with baking parchment and brush with oil.
  4. Using a stand mixer (for preference), whisk the egg white in a large bowl until very stiff, then turn off the mixer and set aside.
  5. Pour the water-soaked gelatine and its water into a small saucepan and warm gently over a low heat, stirring continuously until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
  6. In a separate (heavy-based) medium saucepan, measure out the sugar, liquid glucose, and a further 60ml cold water. 
  7. Gradually bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the mixture reaches 118 C/244 F on a sugar thermometer (this will take about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat immediately the temperature is reached.
  8. Turn the mixer on again with the egg whites to a low speed and carefully pour in the sugar mixture in a slow and steady stream, as the mixture continues to whisk.
  9. Gradually add the liquified gelatine, still continuing to whisk.
  10. Finally add the vanilla extract and turn the whisk speed up to medium, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens.
  11. Increase the whisk speed still further to high and whisk for about a further 10 minutes until the mixture has quadrupled in size and reached a thick, glossy, liquid-marshmallow consistency.
  12. Whilst the whisking at point 11 is taking place, heat the jam in a small pan (do not boil) until very warm and runny. Remove from the heat and add the remaining gelatine and liquid (liqueur/cordial) that it has been soaking in. Stir to dissolve completely (if you need to heat it a little more to ensure the gelatine liquifies, then do so over a low heat).
  13. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. 
  14. Drizzle the jam-jelly mixture over the top and swirl through with a knife.
  15. Sprinkle with a little freeze-dried strawberry powder (optional).
  16. Cover the tin with cling film and leave to set for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight) in a cool, dry place (not the fridge).
  17. When completely set, tip the marshmallow block onto a large piece of baking parchment and peel off the paper from the base.
  18. Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl and mix thoroughly together.
  19. Use a hot knife (dip in very hot water and then dry) to cut the mallow into cubes. 
  20. Toss each piece of mallow (one at a time) in the cornflour mixture until coated completely. 
  21. Set aside on a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to dry out (this will take several hours up to a couple of days depending on how you like your mallow).
 Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. I am not a huge marshmallow fan but I lived with some candidates for Marshmallows Anonymous - and I am flummoxed by how to make it vegetarian (which is a little easier these days so I should try). I would love a strawberry swirl through a marshmallow - looks so pretty and would be a lovely present. And i am glad your unhappiness with the photos didn't stop you posting it - I love your photos - and if unhappiness with photos was a reason not to post, I would have a lot less to post :-)

    1. Thanks Johanna. I can be a bit of a perfectionist (not that any of my photos reach that criteria) and I get easily put off sending them out to the world if I am not 100% happy.
      As for marshmallows, I think they are a bit like Marmite.... you either love or hate them.....

  2. These look ace
    BTW, I've learned not to embark on a healthy eating plan in January...that way you avoid any disappointment!

    1. Thanks CC. Good advice..... January and healthy eating is way too difficult with the cold weather...... just makes me ravenous and then miserable, because I have failed..... again!

  3. oooh, love marshmallow and love the strawberry swirl! I'm so over January though!

  4. Loooove these marshmallows! I have never been able to resist marshmallows, there is something unique about them. Love your recipe, I have never tried making my own they must be so good. Fab presentation, this will make a yummy Valentine present!

    1. Thanks Alida. Me neither! You should absolutely try making some..... they are so easy and so much nicer home made x

  5. Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare - I think the photos are gorgeous and what a lovely Valentines gift these would make. Would love to know how to make a veggie version of marshmallows. Something to investigate one day.

    1. Thanks Mandy. You're welcome. With so many veggie marshmallows 'out there' these days, they can't be that difficult! Would be worth researching for sure.

  6. Wow the marshmallow looks stunning! I love the swirl going through it, what a fabulous gift to receive!

    1. Thanks Kat. The swirl does make them extra special x

  7. These are just so pretty. Using gelatine always scares me for some reason but these would make such a lovely gift. #freefromfridays

    1. Thanks Emma. I didn't use gelatine for some time after the 'mad cow' scare...... but I'm over it now!


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