Christmas Marshmallows Recipe for hot chocolate

Homemade Marshmallows Recipe For Festive Holiday Hot Chocolate

The holidays are coming and around here that means cold snowy days, tobogganing and hot chocolate! This year we made our hot cocoa extra festive with homemade marshmallows complete with decorative candy sprinkles for the ultimate festive touch! Check out the amazing homemade marshmallows recipe my mom used to create these delicious treats.

Festive Homemade Marshmallows for Hot Chocolate

Christmas Marshmallows Recipe for hot chocolate

Last Valentine’s Day my mom made the most delicious marshmallows for us. It lead to a fascinating study behind the science of marshmallows as well as some fun engineering challenges and even some cool marshmallow decorating fun. Even though we used store bought marshmallows for some of those challenges, the homemade marshmallows are by far the ones preferred by everyone to eat.

So with the cold winter days upon us, we’ve been drinking lots of hot cocoa to warm us up. For the holidays my mom wanted to make those hot cocoas extra special with some festive homemade marshmallows.

They were a massive hit! And man they taste so good. Once you have homemade marshmallows you never want to eat the other stuff. Plus the kids had a blast decorating their marshmallows to make their hot chocolate even more festive.

Make your hot chocolate extra special with our homemade Hot Chocolate Bombs!

First up, let’s recap a bit of the science behind marshmallows.

Fun festive homemade marshmallows

Marshmallow Science

Back when we first made marshmallows we explored the science behind how they get their fluffy soft yummy texture. In case you missed that article, you can check it out here.

Marshmallow is a foam that is created by air bubbles getting trapped in sugar which has been stabilized by protein.

When we are making marshmallows sugar is added to the recipe as a syrup. From our Candy Science studies we learned that candy syrup is made from pure sucrose (granulated sugar) and water and that the sugar syrup will recrystallize into random structures as the water cools. This gives the candy a gritty feel. No one wants a gritty marshmallow, so to prevent large crystals from forming, we add corn syrup which results in a smoother texture.

The next thing we have to consider is the concentration of the syrup. The concentration refers to how much sucrose is in the syrup. In our Candy Science studies we discovered that we could judge the concentration of our syrup by the temperature (hence the importance of a good candy thermometer).  At 121c the water has evaporated until the syrup is a 92 percent concentration. This will give us the correct sugar content to make our marshmallow.

The egg whites are a protein that, when whipped, will incorporate air into its mass. This forms the airy, fluffy base for the marshmallow. The cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites to encourage the air bubbles to form. However, the egg white isn’t strong enough to hold up against the syrup, and the egg whites will lose the air if you put the syrup directly into the meringue. You can counteract this by adding gelatin which will strengthen the protein structure allowing the air bubbles to remain suspended in the egg white.

The result: fluffy, soft, yummy marshmallows!

Homemade marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows Recipe Ingredients

¼ cup icing sugar and ¼ cup cornstarch combined in a small bowl for dusting the pan and butter to oil the pan

For the syrup:
1 ¾ cups of granulated sugar
½ cup of water
2 tbsp of corn syrup

For the gelatin
2 packets of gelatin
½ cup water

For the egg meringue:
2 large egg whites (¼ cup)
1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
3 tbsps. of icing sugar
Icing colour and flavoring if desired

Candy sprinkles for decoration

Marshmallow Recipe Tools

9 inch (23x23cm) square pan or a 9x 13-inch pan for thinner marshmallow (better for cutting with a cookie cutter)
A fine mesh sieve
Saucepan
Candy thermometer
Electric mixer
Small bowls, metal spoons
a large knife to cut the marshmallow or cookie cutters if you want to make fancy shaped marshmallow. I found the cheaper plastic cutters work better than the metal ones.

Homemade marshmallows with hot chocolate recipe

Homemade Marshmallows Recipe Directions

Making the Syrup

Put the sugar, water and corn syrup into the clean saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until the syrup starts to boil.

Turn the heat down to create a medium/slow bubble. Leave it alone – no stirring – and let it heat until it reaches a 121c, 250f or firm ball stage in ‘candy speak’. Make sure your candy thermometer is working properly.

While it is heating, butter and liberally dust the pan with the icing sugar/corn flour mix.

Making the Gelatin

Put the gelatin into a small bowl and add ½ cup of hot water. Let it stand while you prepare the meringue

Making the Egg Meringue

Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into an electric mixer and beat on high until the egg whites form peaks.

Turn down the speed and gradually add the sugar. Resume speed and keep beating until you get firm peaks in the meringue.

delicious homemade marshmallows with hot chocolate

Putting It All Together To Create Homemade Marshmallows

When the syrup has reached 121c remove it from the heat and carefully pour the gelatin mixture into the syrup. Be warned it will bubble so be careful. Stir until the gelatin in incorporated into the syrup.

Now turn down the electric mixer to slow speed and slowly add the syrup to the egg whites. The heat from the sugar will cook the egg whites and stabilize them. When they are combined, turn up the speed and allow the mixture to cool down while it continues to beat. Add the flavoring and colour at this time. I used one drop of blue icing colour and one drop of lemon flavor.

Don’t beat until the mix is completely cold. Wait until it just starts to thicken and form ribbon patterns. This will take about 8 minutes.

When your mixture reaches the ribbon stage pour it into the prepared pan and leave it to set for 2 hours.

Sometimes you will achieve a very sticky mixture. This is to do with the amount of water retained in the mixture due to atmospheric conditions – rainy day, humidity etc. If this happens to you simply dredge more of the cornstarch sugar mix over the tray and pop it into the freezer for an hour to firm it up.

Once it is firm, cut with a large knife or a cookie cutter to create festive shapes. Liberally dust the knife and the cutter as you work to prevent sticking.

Finally dust the final marshmallows so they don’t get too sticky. But don’t go too crazy. The kids love this next step and you need a little bit of stickiness left for it to work!

Homemade marshmallows

Using Homemade Marshmallows with Hot Chocolate

The kids favourite part of these marshmallows was decorating them. The best thing to do is place your cut marshmallows in a bowl and let the kids decorate them however they wish with the candy sprinkles. The bowl helps prevent sprinkles going everywhere.

Decorating the homemade marshmallows with candy sprinkles

Once they are finished it is time to make the hot cocoa! We love peppermint hot cocoa, but you can make your favourite one.

You can add your marshmallow directly to the hot cocoa or (if you have a whip cream addict like my kid) add whip cream and then the marshmallow. Feel free to add a few extra candy sprinkles!

The marshmallow will melt deliciously into your hot chocolate making it taste even better.

We feel these are best served with homemade cookies, like our favourite spiced oatmeal raisin cookies. Yum!!

Christmas Marshamallows Recipe with cookies

MORE CHRISTMAS FUN

Christmas Bath Bomb Recipes for the Kids
The science of fudge activity for kids at Christmas
24 Days of Christmas STEM Activities - Secular Holiday STEM Projects

Festive Christmas Marshmallows

A festive Christmas marshmallow recipe to make your hot chocolates merry!

Supplies

  • Candy sprinkles

Dusting Mix

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch for dusting mix
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting mix

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup water for syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar for syrup
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup for syrup

Gelatin Mix

  • 2 packets gelatin for gelatin mix
  • 1/2 cup water for gelatin mix

Egg Meringue

  • 1/4 cup egg whites for egg meringue
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar for egg meringue
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar for egg meringue
  • icing colouring if desired for egg meringue
  • flavouring if desired for egg meringue

Instructions

Dusting Mix

  1. Combine icing sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set to the side. 

Making the syrup

  1. Put the sugar, water and corn syrup into the clean saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until the syrup starts to boil.

  2. Turn the heat down to create a medium/slow bubble. Leave it alone – no stirring – and let it heat until it reaches a 121c, 250f or firm ball stage in ‘candy speak’. Make sure your candy thermometer is working properly.

  3. While it is heating, butter and liberally dust the pan with the icing sugar/corn flour mix.

Making the Gelatin

  1. Put the gelatin into a small bowl and add ½ cup of hot water. Let it stand while you prepare the meringue.

Making the Egg Meringue

  1. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into an electric mixer and beat on high until the egg whites form peaks.

  2. Turn down the speed and gradually add the sugar. Resume speed and keep beating until you get firm peaks in the meringue.

Putting it all together to make the Marshmallows

  1. When the syrup has reached 121c remove it from the heat and carefully pour the gelatin mixture into the syrup. Be warned it will bubble so be careful. Stir until the gelatin in incorporated into the syrup.

  2. Now turn down the electric mixer to slow speed and slowly add the syrup to the egg whites. The heat from the sugar will cook the egg whites and stabilize them. When they are combined, turn up the speed and allow the mixture to cool down while it continues to beat. Add the flavoring and colour at this time. I used one drop of blue icing colour and one drop of lemon flavor.

  3. Don’t beat until the mix is completely cold. Wait until it just starts to thicken and form ribbon patterns. This will take about 8 minutes.

  4. When your mixture reaches the ribbon stage pour it into the prepared pan and leave it to set for 2 hours.

  5. Sometimes you will achieve a very sticky mixture. This is to do with the amount of water retained in the mixture due to atmospheric conditions – rainy day, humidity etc. If this happens to you simply dredge more of the cornstarch sugar mix over the tray and pop it into the freezer for an hour to firm it up.

  6. Once it is firm, cut with a large knife or a cookie cutter to create festive shapes. Liberally dust the knife and the cutter as you work to prevent sticking.

  7. Finally dust the final marshmallows so they don’t get too sticky. But don’t go too crazy. The kids love this next step and you need a little bit of stickiness left for it to work!

  8. Have the kids decorate their marshmallows with candy sprinkles before adding to your favourite hot chocolate.

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