Marshmallows are a sugary treat made from corn syrup, gelatine, sugar and vanilla. At least that’s probably how you know them. This wasn’t always the case, however!
Originally, marshmallows were quite different – the name “marshmallow” actually comes from ancient Egypt. The sweet sap of the mallow plant grows in marshes and was used, along with honey and grains, to make cakes. More recently, in the 16th century, marshmallow liquids had medical uses for toothaches and sore throats.
During the 19th century, the French changed this to the marshmallow you know now. They whipped mallow sap with egg whites and corn syrup to make marshmallows, though modern recipe uses gelatin rather than the original mallow sap. Keep reading to learn more about marshmallows and how to make them yourself.
Homemade Marshmallow Recipe
- 4 tablespoons gelatine powder
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup honey/ maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Olive oil/ parchment paper
- 1 tablespoon marshmallow root
- 4 capsules of probiotics
- If using marshmallow root, combine the water with the mallow root and let sit overnight in the fridge then stir well and strain.
- Pour ½ cup of the mix into the bowl and add the gelatine – mix to combine and allow to sit.
- If not using the marshmallow root, pour half of the water into the bowl and add the gelatine. Mix to combine and allow to sit.
- Pour the other half cup of water and the honey/ maple syrup into the saucepan and whisk to combine (if you are using cocoa powder, add it at this point).
- While stirring, bring the mixture to the boil slowly. Using the thermometer, allow the mix to reach 240 degrees. Keep boiling and stir constantly for 8 mins.
- Slowly, pour the mixture into the bowl with the gelatine mix, which should now be hardened, while blending with a hand mixer.
- Turn the mixer to high and blend for another 10-15 mins until it forms a stiff cream with gentle peaks – add the probiotics and flavourings for the last 2 mins of mixing.
- Grease a 9”x13” baking tray with healthy oils or line with parchment paper.
- Pour the mix into the dish and smooth evenly then let sit for at least 4 hours.
- Flip onto a cutting board and cut with an oiled pizza cutter or knife then store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
What’s Wrong with Store-Bought Marshmallows?
The marshmallows found in stores may be worse for you than you think. A single marshmallow contains around 4 grams of processed sugar but most people don’t stop with just one. The more you eat, the more likely you are to reach (or exceed) your daily recommended intake for sugar.
Marshmallows are also dusted in corn starch. Corn starch is one of the worst starches, with incredibly short chains of carbohydrates, it is the “sugariest” starch and absorbs very rapidly, causing blood sugar to spike. This can result in insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), poor metabolic health and even more sugar cravings!
The Benefits of Homemade Marshmallows
The most obvious benefit associated with using your own homemade marshmallow recipe is the complete control of the ingredients. For example, instead of using refined white sugar, you can use honey or calorie-free sweeteners to provide the same taste. Sweeteners obviously contain no sugar, whereas honey contains unprocessed sugars.
Unprocessed sugars are still sugars and you need to be careful with the amount you use, but they are lower in GI than both sugar and corn starch. This means that honey-based marshmallows will spike your blood sugar far less than store-bought, and those without sugar or honey (using sweeteners instead) will be even better.
The gelatine and optional probiotics are also soothing for your digestion and help to maintain the health of skin, hair and nails. If you are able to find marshmallow root, we strongly recommend adding this to your mixture. Not only is it faithful to the original recipe, it is anti-inflammatory. This is the original medical use for mallow root.
While marshmallows may not be the healthiest food in general, this recipe for homemade marshmallows is much better than what you’d buy at the store without sacrificing the delicious marshmallow flavor you love!