There are some things in this world that just go together. Hot cocoa and marshmallows. Raspberries and chocolate. Raspberry marshmallows and hot chocolate. You see where I’m going with this?
I’m not usually a big proponent of hallmark holidays, but the romantic in me just couldn’t resist using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to cut swirling pink marshmallows into hearts, drizzle them with chocolate, and plop them into hot cocoa.
You see, one of The Husband’s favorite treats is hot chocolate. He’s had one almost every evening recently, and lately he’s been topping them with whipped cream… a sweet, creamy reminder of how long it’s been since I’ve made marshmallows.
Clearly, something had to be done.
I’m always a little surprised by how much I like fresh, homemade marshmallows. They aren’t the sort of thing I ever would have thought could win me over, but win me over they did. In fact, this is the fourth time (yes, really, the fourth time) I’ve written about them here on the blog, and every single time I say the same thing: I can’t believe how good they are.
When I first started poking around for ideas on how to incorporate raspberries into my ‘mallow, I found a lot of recipes which simply called for raspberry flavored gelatin. I don’t know about you, but the thought of red dye and artificial flavors did not whet my appetite (yes, I really do find the “raspberry flavored” part to be worse than the “gelatin” part — regular marshmallows require gelatin and it doesn’t bother me a bit. Feel free to point out how weird I am.)
The thing is, even when we’re talking about marshmallows (basically pure sugar), I don’t want to skimp on ingredients. So instead, I went with fresh raspberries, and I am so glad I did. Out of season, yes, but well worth the splurge. Raspberry jello doesn’t even begin to compare to the bright, fresh flavor these marshmallows have. Dunked in hot cocoa and allowed a few minutes to melt, they begin to flavor the entire mug. It’s like getting raspberry kisses with every sip.
My plan with these was to surprise The Husband with them. To have him walk in the door, and be greeted by a big mug of cocoa with a heart on top. Instead, my plans got foiled and he ended up being home when I made them. And photographed them. And complained about getting marshmallow goo in my hair. And chocolate all over my face. (True story.)
It wasn’t the picture-perfect ending I had hoped for, but in a way, it was still perfect. Because some things just go together. Like chocolate and my face. Marshmallows and my hair. And The Husband and my crazy self.
- Raspberry syrup:
- 9 oz. fresh raspberries (about 1½ half-pint containers, or 2 heaping cups)
- 2-3 TBSP granulated sugar, depending on how sweet the berries are
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 packets unflavored gelatin (1/4oz each, or approx. 2½ TBSP)
- ½ cup raspberry syrup, plus 2 TBSP for swirling in at the end
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- For dusting:
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar + ½ cup corn starch, sifted together
- non-stick cooking spray
- For the raspberry syrup:
- In a small saucepan, mash together the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, to dissolve the sugar and thicken the syrup slightly. Pass the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and refrigerate until completely cooled. You should have about about ½ cup plus 2-3 TBSP syrup. If you don't have enough, you can add a small amount of water. If you have more than that, reserve the rest for spooning over ice cream.
- For the marshmallows:
- Begin by sifting together the confectioner's sugar and corn starch. I call this "marshmallow dust" and it will keep the marshmallows from sticking to everything. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray (this will make fairly thick marshmallows, for thinner ones I suggest using a rimmed baking sheet), then sift the dusting mixture thoroughly over the entire bottom and sides of the pan. It should look like a fresh blanket of snow, with no gaps showing. Also, grease a flexible rubber spatula. Set the pan and spatula aside for later.
- In the bowl of your mixer, combine ½ cup raspberry sauce with the gelatin, and let sit for a minimum of 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. Have your mixer plugged in and ready to go. Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup.
- In a hi-sided sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cover, and place over medium-high heat. Let cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove the lid and clip on a candy thermometer. Let the mixture cook until it reaches 240 degrees F. -- do not stir, swirl, or shake the pan while the syrup is cooking.
- Once the sugar reaches 240 degrees F., turn the mixer on to low speed, and remove the pan from the heat. Carefully(!) pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl with the gelatin, while mixing. If you're using a stand mixer, be sure to have the spatter-guard in place. If you're using a hand mixer, try to pour the syrup near one side of the bowl, while keeping the beaters on the other side of the bowl, so they don't fling hot syrup all over the place. A second set of hands can be a big help.
- Once all of the sugar syrup is poured in, increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for 7-10 minutes (with a stand mixer) or 10-12 minutes (with a handheld mixer). At first it will look thin and frothy, then it will begin to thicken. After several minutes, it will look like marshmallow fluff — keep beating for the full time. In the last minute or two, add the vanilla extract.
- Remove the beaters, and add an additional 1-2 TBSP raspberry syrup. Using the spatula you greased earlier, stir the mixture 1-2 times to just barely incorporate the raspberry syrup, while leaving a swirled, streaky look.
- Pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan, and use the spatula to spread the mixture to the edges. If you find the swirls have gotten too mixed in, you can dot the top of the marshmallow with a few more drops of raspberry syrup, and use just the edge of the spatula to swirl them around. You want to be sure there are no puddles of syrup sitting on top of the marshmallow when you're done, but also be careful not to over mix, or the swirled effect will be lost.
- Let the marshmallow rest for 40-50 minutes, then sift more of the dusting powder on top. Let the marshmallows finish setting up for a minimum of 4-5 hours, or overnight. Once the marshmallows have fully set, you can cut them into shapes using cookie cutters (I used a small heart-shaped cutter for mine), or invert the pan over a cutting board and cut them into squares (I find a pizza cutter makes easy work of this). I like to dust whatever cutter I use in the dusting powder to keep it from getting sticky.
- Toss the cut marshmallows in more of the dusting powder to coat all sides thoroughly, then shake off any excess (I like to add a handful of marshmallows to a mesh strainer and shake it back and forth to get extra dust off), then seal them in a zip-top baggie. Finished marshmallows can be dunked or drizzled with chocolate, or stored just as they are. Can be kept in a cool dry place for about 1-2 weeks.
One of my favorite parts of homemade marshmallows is that they can be made in nearly any flavor you can imagine. You can find my recipe for orange zest marshmallows here, along with tips on how to change up the flavor even more: https://www.willcookforfriends.com/2013/12/chocolate-dipped-orange-zest-marshmallows-fak-friday.html