These chocolate marshmallows are the coolest things. Float them in a big mug of steaming milk and they make instant thick rich hot cocoa as they melt. Set them out on a dessert tray, package them up in cellophane bags as gifts, or eat them just like candy.
This year I’ve got the candy making bug, and marshmallows are some of the easiest to do. They were originally made by whipping up the sap from the marshmallow plant, and they’re one of the earliest examples of candy making, dating back to the Egyptians. In 1948 somebody came up with a machine that extruded the confection into the cylinder form we know now. I think marshmallows are so much more luscious when you hand cut them from a giant slab of the stuff, like I did.
The basic marshmallow confection is created when you whip a boiled sugar and corn syrup mixture with gelatin. The process is easy but takes over 10 minutes of whipping, so a stand mixer comes in very handy. You can do it with a hand held mixer, but it takes more effort. The second half of the project, which is fun for kids to help with, is the slicing and dicing of the bouncy, plushy marshmallow slab. The cubes get dusted in cocoa/sugar so they don’t stick to each other, and then they’re ready to eat. All I did was add dark cocoa powder to the basic marshmallow formula to came up with this fun variation.
- 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa for dusting
- Line a 9×13 baking pan with plastic wrap leaving overhanging ends so you can easily lift out the marshmallows after they’ve firmed up. Brush or spray the wrap with oil so the marshmallows won’t stick.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, put 3/4 cup of water. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and let it sit. .
- In a medium saucepan, put the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Begin heating it, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then stop stirring and let the sugar syrup come up to 238 degrees. It will boil for a while before it gets there. Take off the heat and add the cocoa powder. Mix to combine well.
- Then, with the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin. Gradually increase the speed until it is on high. Beat on high for about 12 minutes until the mixture is stiff. Beat in the vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, smoothing it out evenly.
- Let sit, uncovered, for 3 hours (or overnight)
- Mix the remaining cup of confectioner's sugar with the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder for dusting. Sift to combine well. Turn out the marshmallow block onto a surface covered with the sugar/cocoa mixture. Peel off the paper and dust the whole top surface with the sugar/cocoa as well.
- Slice the marshmallows into squares using a sharp, oiled knife or pizza cutter. They will resist a bit, but keep at it. As you cut each strip, turn it to coat the cut ends with sugar/cocoa, and as you cut each individual marshmallow, do the same. All the sides should be well coated and not sticky.
- Store in an airtight container.
I think the most compelling argument for making these Chocolate Marshmallows is that they make fabulous hot cocoa, and all you have to do is microwave a mug of milk.
For vegan and vegetarian alternatives to gelatin, check out this article, HERE.