I was enjoying a hot chocolate the other night, and felt it was missing something. Sure, it was delicious and rich, but still, it needed a little more. Seeing as how it’s December and time for all things candy cane, I decided I would whip up some marshmallows. Candy cane marshmallows, that is.
These are easy to make. If you’ve never made or eaten homemade marshmallows, you’re in for a real treat. They’re naturally gluten and dairy-free. But unlike the bags of uniformly cylindrical Stay-Puf variety at the store, these aren’t stale and lacking in flavor. Homemade marshmallows are a real treat. A candy you would genuinely eat by itself without a second thought.
Of course, I enjoy them best on top of cocoa, coffee, or dipped in chocolate fondue (something we often do for New Year’s Eve). Typically I just make vanilla marshmallows, or if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll throw a tiny bit of almond extract in them as well. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
But crushed candy canes take them to a whole extra level of holiday cheer. They’re light, fluffy, and have a delightful peppermint essence that welcomes winter with a smile.
Toss a few in your hot chocolate, or simply munch away. I won’t tell if you just sneak a few. It’s the holidays, after all.
Candy Cane Marshmallows (gluten-free, dairy-free)
About 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 T unflavored gelatin (I like Great Lakes)
1/2 c cold water, divided
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
1/8 t kosher salt
1 large egg white
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t peppermint extract
3 candy canes, crushed (I like Surf Sweets)
Oil the sides and bottom of an 8X8 inch metal baking pan and dust with powdered sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer pour 1/4 cup of the water and sprinkle the gelatin over.
In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, maple syrup, remaining water, and salt over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Heat over medium-high heat, boiling (don’t stir) until temperature of sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Remove pan from heat and carefully pour hot sugar mixture into the bowl of the standing mixer. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
Beat mixture on high speed until white and thick and until it’s nearly triple in size, about 5-6 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat the egg white in a medium bowl until just stiff. Pour the egg white and extracts into the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Add a third of the crushed candy canes into the mix and stir to combine.
Scrape the mixture out into the prepared baking pan, trying to spread out as evenly as possible. (Don’t worry if you can’t scrape all of it out – marshmallow gets quite sticky!) Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy cane and powdered sugar.
Store in refrigerator for at least 3 hours to set.
Remove and using a thin knife, go around the edges of the pan to release the marshmallows. Invert the pan over a cutting board. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar as needed, and using a pizza cutter, cut into squares.
Store in refrigerator until ready to be served. Keeps for about a week, although I doubt they will last that long.