Look how FLUFFY and SOFT they look? And melting into the hot cocoa? YUM. I’ll be the first to say that the marshmallows you see all squished in the store don’t exactly evoke the same feeling.
And lets be honest – of all the holidays, Easter has always had the best candy. Mini Cadbury eggs anyone?! I feel compelled to mention I am not religious, but like most of these holidays – I celebrate the food that surrounds it!
I have this really vivid memory being REALLY young and devouring some Hershey’s chocolate covered marshmallow eggs and loving them. In recounting this memory with my mom recently, she shared they’ve always been her favorite too which explains why they were around so much!
Every year around this time I would buy way too many packages of them, justifying my purchase “because I only get them once a year.” Binge mentality.
How many of these ingredients do you NOT recognize? Invert Sugar? PGPR? And what exactly does “Natural and Artificial Flavor” really mean?
Invert Sugar – A liquid sugar product that has been split into equal parts glucose and fructose (the two components of sucrose). It is much sweeter than table sugar and is very similar to high fructose corn syrup. This product keeps moisture and inhibits sugar crystallization in packaged goods. So…adding more sugar to sugar so it stays fresher? As a producer of food, certainly this makes sense for shelf life. As a consumer, seems a tad unnecessary, yes?
PGPR – As the label states, it’s an emulsifier. Emulsifiers keep fats and water from separating. Short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate, it is derived from castor beans and utilized as a substitute of cocoa butter (which is more expensive and contains more fat). Basically it’s a way for chocolate manufacturers to save money and skimp out on the presence (and flavor) of natural fats.
Natural and Artificial Flavor
– So this is an interesting one. The FDA
defines both as follows:
“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
“The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is NOT derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.”
Currently there’s no regulation that food manufacturers need to list out specifically which chemicals or flavors are used, but can utilize this blanket “ingredient” on their ingredients list. From a competition standpoint, sounds good for the corporations making these foods but as someone eating it, it does make you wonder a little bit considering the CRAZY amounts of different flavors (or chemicals) that could be added to your food and we just don’t know what they are.
Here’s the thing, is this all safe to eat? Sure. That’s the only way it can make it to a store shelf here in the U.S.. Does that mean you SHOULD eat it? Not if you can avoid it.
So, avoid it we do!
How about we leave all the crazy chemicals in the lab and onto the gooey homemade marshmallowy magic in the kitchen?!
I had a lot of fun working on this recipe. It was the epitome of why I love doing this myself because I get to pick what I LIKE! I did different flavors of marshmallow. Different kinds of chocolate. Lots of messes made in the kitchen. Lots of marshmallow stuck…well, everywhere. But what I came down to was the easiest, cleanest, totally-rad way to make melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows. The recipe I landed on is inspired by this recipe over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
A few must-read notes before we get started…
1. If you have a stand mixer and a candy thermometer, this is an eassssssy recipe! I promise!
2. Yes, there is corn syrup this recipe and no it’s not the same as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that you hear so much about. Corn syrup is glucose and no fructose. HFCS, as it’s name states, has both glucose AND fructose (the fructose is converted from glucose through an enzymatic reaction and makes it much sweeter than regular corn syrup). Because it’s sweeter, HFCS gets used in most processed foods as it’s a “more-bang-for-your-buck” type of product. And because it’s in more processed foods and the crazy rate in which Americans inhale these kinds of “foods”, resulting in debilitating health conditions is why you hear more about it.
As with any form of processed sugar, should be consumed in happy moderation. Like for Easter marshmallows. Or in that pecan pie during the holidays. Yay for special occasion food!
I recommend an organic corn syrup for this for GMO reasons but make sure to READ the label before buying! Some companies will sneak in HFCS into “regular” corn syrup.
3. You don’t need to buy a mold for this. You can make your own! I will show you below.
Now that we’ve gotten that important business settled, lets get down to it!
I bought an egg shaped mold at Michael’s for all of 2 bucks which worked GREAT for this recipe. I just sprayed some coconut oil on it and it was ready to go.
If you don’t have a mold, you can do either of the following:
- Fill a flat pan (size choice is yours depending on how thick you want the marshmallow) with the marshmallow mix and then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. For easy clean up, prep the pan with plastic wrap and then spray with cooking spray.
- Create your own mold using a cookie sheet, flour, and an egg.
#2 worked surprisingly well. You pour a whole lot of flour into a lipped cookie sheet (don’t worry, you can still use the flour once you’re done!) and then use an egg (I used a real one, you could use a plastic Easter egg as well) to press into the flour to create “egg wells”.
Be careful when moving this as to not mess up your masterful mold-creating technique.
Onto the GOO!
First you’re going to bloom your gelatin in the bottom of your stand mixer. Gently mix the cold water and gelatin and let rest while you brew up the hot sugar mixture.
In a medium saucepan, combine your sugar, corn syrup, water and salt over low-medium heat until the sugar begins to dissolve.
Add your candy thermometer (make sure that the tip of the thermometer is not touching the pan itself but suspended in the sugar mixture – this will give you true temperature of the mixture and not the pan). Turn the heat up to medium to medium-high.
Here’s the part that’s probably a lot easier than you expect: Don’t stir it, don’t even touch it! Just watch the mixture start to boil and wait for it to reach 240 degrees F.
Once it’s ready, start the stand mixer on low and SLOWLY pour the hot mixture into the gelatin/water mixture.
When the hot mixture is completely incorporated, kick up the mixer to medium-high and let run for about 10-13 minutes.
Once it has cooled down and looks white and fluffy (like below), add the vanilla and gently mix on low to incorporate.
If you’re using a sheet pan to do flat marshmallow sheet, grease up a spatula and then pour into the prepared sheet pan. Set aside to set for a few hours.
If you’re using an egg mold, the best way to get it into the mold is to spray two spoons with cooking spray and spoon in the marshmallow into each egg well.
Let the marshmallow set in its mold for about 15-20 minutes and then you can flip so the marshmallow sets in a more 3D egg shape. Once flipped, let set for a few hours.
Once the marshmallows are set you can dip in chocolate! Put some parchment paper on a sheet pan. If you used the flour mold, make sure to just brush off the excess flour from the marshmallow with a clean hand before dipping. And don’t worry about getting it ALL off. The chocolate will mask any look or taste of flour remaining.
I like to use a double broiler method for melting chocolate but you can also do this in the microwave.
Dipping is quite easy. Use a fork to cover the marshmallow egg in chocolate, scoop the egg onto the fork, and then just tap the fork on the side of the bowl to get excess chocolate off. Use the butter knife to gently push the chocolate covered egg onto the parchment paper.
If you want to, you could add sprinkles or decorative edible baubles to the egg while the chocolate is still wet!
Once you’re done dipping, move the pan to the refrigerator to let the chocolate harden.
And voila! Chocolate covered marshmallow eggs from scratch. Happy Easter, everyone!