Hot chocolate is a treat I reserve for the chilliest days and most festive occasions—so when I make it, I want to do it right.
That means, first of all, choosing a recipe that yields a creamy, luscious cup that isn’t undrinkably rich.
But it also means pairing the drink with the right accompaniments: whipped cream, a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or Kahlúa, or my favorite: a handful of light-as-air marshmallows.
I’m not talking about the one-note sweets from the grocery store—I’m talking about plush, dreamy, homemade marshmallows. Making your own marshmallows is easy and fun, and the results are more than worthy of your finest cup of hot chocolate.
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The Science of Marshmallows
In essence, marshmallows contain gelatin, corn syrup, sugar, and air.
Gelatin gives the marshmallow its signature stretchy, bouncy structure and also helps it hold its shape.
Air, trapped in the gel formed by the gelatin, keeps the marshmallow billowy and soft.
And the sweeteners determine the marshmallow’s texture: Sugar is sweeter than corn syrup, so it’s a necessary inclusion for flavor, but it also crystallizes and makes candy harder and more brittle.
Corn syrup, on the other hand, does not crystallize, creating a more tender texture.
Nailing the ratio of these two sweeteners is key in marshmallows: Too little corn syrup, and they’ll be too hard; too little sugar, and they won’t be sweet enough.
Desserts IllustratedPart cookbook, part handbook, Desserts Illustrated is the last word on the last (but definitely not the least) course.
How to Make Homemade Marshmallows
Homemade marshmallows don’t require much—just a packet of gelatin and a few other pantry staples. Here’s the method:
1. Create a syrup from water, corn syrup, salt, and sugar.
2. Beat the syrup with a few packets of unflavored gelatin until the mixture transforms into a bowlful of white fluff.
3. Spread the fluff into a pan and let it set.
4. Cut the marshmallows into cubes.
5. Toss with confectioners’ sugar.
6. Store the marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
For the full recipe, watch the video below.