A light and fluffy recipe for Vanilla Marshmallows with a fruity twist. Deliciously squidgy squares that can be popped in a box for a perfect food gift. (Gluten free, dairy free, nut free)
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DON’T LOSE THIS RECIPE… PIN IT FOR LATER…
Making Vanilla Marshmallows with Strawberry…
I rarely make sweets, but these Vanilla Marshmallows with Strawberry Swirl are rather yummy. Actually, the last time I made marshmallows was when I was a child. As I recall, it was a very different recipe to this one. Specifically, because it didn’t contain any egg white.
To be honest, the recipe concocted here is way better than my childhood efforts. It is light and airy and very very squidgy. But it also has extra yumminess (and prettiness) from the fruity swirl running through. A swirl which, if you so choose, can have a little boozy hint included.
What is Marshmallow?
At its most basic recipe level, marshmallow is a sweet (confectionary) made from sugar, water and gelatine. The crucial process (once these ingredients have been dissolved and combined through heating), is to whip the mixture hard, so that air pockets find their way deep into the sugar solution… Puffing up into pillowy, sticky clouds, supported and set within the gelatine structure that connects them.
Some recipes however (like the Vanilla Marshmallows with Strawberry shared here), have added egg white, for an altogether lighter and less chewy mallow-eating experience.
Once the basic mix is conjured, adding flavourings is a versatile feast… Vanilla Marshmallows are just the start… Think extracts such as orange, lemon and almond… To spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger… To textural add-ins like desiccated coconut, chopped nuts and dried fruit.
The History of Marshmallows
According to the American National Confectioners Association, marshmallow was first enjoyed as early as 2000 BC by the ancient Egyptians. Let’s be clear though… Not by all Egyptians. This treat was SO special that it was reserved only for royalty and the gods.
At that time, marshmallow was made from the wild mallow plant (Athaea Officinalis). The plant in question grew specifically on marshes and hence the treat (which was made by squeezing the mallow sap and mixing with honey and nuts) came to be known as ‘marshmallow’.
By the 1800’s, the French set to work with the mallow sap, hand-whipping it with sugar and egg whites into a fluffy confection. And while the process was time-consuming and tricky, demand was high… This in turn led to a search for easier marshmallow production and by the late 19th Century, French confectioners discovered they could use a combination of sugar and gelatine in place of mallow root to create an alternative and more stable treat.
You could say the rest is history… although there was one further step to full commercialisation… Extrusion! In 1948 a man called Alex Doumak discovered and patented the process of forcing marshmallow ingredients through tubes. This enabled easy shaping and cutting… which resulted in the typical marshmallow shape we buy today.
Are homemade Vanilla Marshmallows any different to shop-bought marshmallows?
Without a doubt yes! If you have never made marshmallows, you are in for a treat. These Vanilla Marshmallows with Strawberry are softer, lighter and definitely squidgier than shop-bought ones. They are less ‘powdery’ and more subtle. Because of the freshness of the flavour add-ins, they taste less sweet and way more sophisticated.
Okay… Marshmallows may not be your thing. But I have a serious weakness for them. If I spot a new variety or make, it is more than I can do to avoid it leaping into my basket… Once I have checked they’re gluten free of course…
Mostly snaffled from secret supplies, I love to eat them as they come. But they are also delicious in cakes, biscuits, toasted on the barbecue or as cake decorations. They can be found as one of my all-time favourite cake decorations… Cut, squeezed and arranged to create a coating of Spring flowers on a birthday cake.
Do I need any special equipment to make Vanilla Marshmallows?
But I digress… This particular recipe for Vanilla Marshmallows with Strawberry Swirl makes a darn good mallow. And it really is not that tricky either… As long as you have a couple of key pieces of equipment. Don’t skimp here… They are essential! You’ll need:
- A good food/candy thermometer. When I make sweets and jams, I use one of two options… Either my Thermapen 4 Digital Thermometer or a jam/candy thermometer.
- Robust and powerful mixer (a stand mixer for preference). The KitchenAid is fabulous for its versatility and robustness.
- A sturdy set of saucepans.
- 9 inch square baking tin.
- Good quality non-stick Baking Parchment.
How do I coat Vanilla Marshmallow so that it is not sticky to hold?
Although you can eat Vanilla Marshmallows freshly-made, it tastes best when it has been coated in a cornflour-icing sugar mix and left for a couple of days to ‘dry’. This will ensure that it is less sticky to handle. And helps to develop a slightly firm outer-crust, which surrounds the soft, fluffy, squashy, pillowy middle… Just as it should be!
Simply cut the cooled, set marshmallow with a hot, sharp knife, before tossing in a bowl filled with an equal ratio of corn starch and icing sugar.
The perfect food gift…
Vanilla Marshmallow makes the perfect food gift… whether for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s or Father’s Day, at Valentines, or just because you care. It can be prepared ahead of time and boxed or bagged in something pretty… And because the lucky recipient will know you took time to make it for them, it will mean so much more…
Have you made this Vanilla Marshmallows recipe?
If you make Vanilla Marshmallows, I’d love to hear how you got on… Leave a comment, or tag me on social media… And share your marshmallow experience. (You’ll find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter). Did you flavour it differently? Or make it special with any alternative add-ins?
And did you know, that at Gluten Free Alchemist, we also have a huge catalogue of over 400 gluten free recipes? So, grab yourself a cuppa and head over to our ‘Recipe Book’ Index to get inspired….
Other confectionary Food Gifts at Gluten Free Alchemist…
Vanilla Marshmallow with Strawberry Swirl
- 9 inch (23 cm) square non-stick baking tin
- baking parchment/paper
- flat-bottomed dishes
- stand mixer
- cooking/jam thermometer
- large sharp knife
- flat-bottomed bowl
- vegetable/sunflower oil for brushing the tin
- 10 Platinum Grade gelatine leaves 9 + 1 – see method
- 100 ml/g cold water
- 1½ tbsp berry liqueur or cordial
- 60 g egg whites from approx 2 medium/1½ large eggs
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 100 g liquid glucose
- 60 ml/g water (additional to above)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60 g runny strawberry jam smooth/sieved
- freeze dried strawberry powder optional (for sprinkling)
- 40 g cornflour
- 40 g icing sugar
- Fully line a 23 cm/9 inch square (min 3 cm deep) baking tin with baking parchment and brush the parchment with oil.
- Using a flat bottomed dish, soak 9 of the gelatine leaves in 100ml/g cold water to soften (adding them one at a time to the liquid and ensuring all are fully immersed). Soak for 10 minutes.
- 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.
- Using a stand mixer (for preference), whisk the egg white in a large, very clean bowl until very stiff. Then turn off the mixer and set aside.
- 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.
- In a separate (heavy-based) medium saucepan, measure out the sugar, liquid glucose, and a further 60ml/g cold water.
- Gradually bring to the boil, stirring occasionally and then place a sugar/food thermometer into the liquid.
- Continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the mixture reaches 118 C/244 F on the thermometer (this will take about 5 minutes).
- As soon as the correct temperature is reached, remove from the heat immediately.
- Turn the mixer with the whipped egg whites back on at a low speed and carefully add the sugar mixture to the whisking bowl, in a slow and steady stream, as the mixture continues to whisk.
- Next… gradually add the liquified gelatine, still continuing to whisk.
- Finally add the vanilla extract and turn the whisk speed up to medium, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens.
- As the mixture thickens, increase the whisk speed still further to high. Whisk for a further 10 minutes or until the mixture has quadrupled in size and reached a thick, glossy, liquid-marshmallow consistency.
- While the mallow is whisking, heat the jam in a small saucepan (do not boil) until warm and runny.
- Remove the jam pan from the heat and add the remaining gelatine and its soaking liquid (liqueur/cordial).
- 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).
- When fully whipped, pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
- Drizzle the jam-jelly mixture over the top and swirl through with a knife.
- Sprinkle with a little freeze-dried strawberry powder (optional).
- Cover the tin with cling film and leave to set for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight) in a cool, dry place (but not the fridge).
Cutting and coating
- When completely set, tip the marshmallow block onto a large piece of baking parchment and peel off the paper from the base.
- Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl and mix thoroughly together.
- Using a hot knife (dip in very hot water and then dry), cut the mallow into cubes.
- Toss each mallow cube (one at a time) in the cornflour-sugar mixture until completely coated.
- 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).
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