Preserving Know-how/ Winter

Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

t’s Spring break and the snow has returned to remind us winter is not yet over. If you are out enjoying winter activities, there’s nothing like coming home to a cup of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. Making your own marshmallows is not difficult, and it’s fun and yummy. Also, you can make them without additives found in the commercial variety.

It is fascinating that both marshmallows and hot cocoa drinks have their origins 2000 years ago but in different parts of the world. Drinking chocolate was an important part of Mayan culture where it was generally served cold. On the other side of the world, in Egypt, marshmallows were created by extracting sap from the mallow plants which grew in marshes. The mallow sap was used for medicinal purposes during the 15th and 16th centuries before it found its way into the fluffy form in the candy shops of France during the 18th century. It wasn’t until the mid 1900s when commercial marshmallows were created thanks to the invention of the extrusion apparatus. It seems that cultures around the world have enjoyed cocoa and marshmallows for millennia.

Making marshmallows at home requires a little equipment and a touch of patience but it is worth the effort!

Join the centuries long tradition of hot cocoa and marshmallows. Top a mug of hot chocolate with a homemade marshmallow or stoke the bonfire and have a s’mores party to celebrate the holiday.

Warning: I gave a bag of marshmallows to a friend to take home to her family. She ate the whole lot before getting home! Really, they are that good!


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  • 1 cup cold water divided                               
  • 3 packages gelatin
  • 1.5 cups sugar                                                
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt                                                        
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup icing sugar                                           
  • vegetable spray



1. Pour ½ cup cold water in bottom of a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin on top and allow it to soften for 15 minutes.


2. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan: Lightly spray with vegetable spray. Mix icing sugar and corn starch and dust the pan heavily with half of the mixture.


3. In a pot, place sugar, remaining ½ cup water, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. This syrup needs to reach exactly 240 degrees.


4. On low speed, mix the gelatin mixture and gradually add in the hot syrup.


5. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 13 minutes. Add vanilla.


6. Spray a spatula with vegetable oil and quickly dump the marshmallow mix into the pan. Smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with the remaining icing sugar-cornstarch mix. Cover with a tea towel and let rest to dry for 24 hours.


7. Turn the marshmallows onto a large cutting board and cut large or small cubes using either a chef’s knife or pizza cutter sprayed with vegetable oil. Make sure the cubes are well covered with the icing sugar-cornstarch mixture to prevent sticking. The marshmallows will last 2-3 weeks but they won’t because they are just too darn good!


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