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Candy-Cane Marshmallows

Give out homemade treats that are great in hot cocoa -- or straight from the bag. Peppermint marshmallows are easy to make; they get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique.

  • yield: Makes sixteen 2-inch squares
Photography: Lisa Hubbard

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Ingredients

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

  3. Step 3

    Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, December 2004

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Reviews (78)

  • Donna Dew 24 Dec, 2012

    This marshmallow recipe is very tasty, light and makes colorful gifts. Douse in powder sugar to keep the pieces from sticking. Try one teaspoon of extract to boost the flavor, don't forget to dip some in chocolate, yum. Make sure to seal in a tin or plastic container.

  • Margaret Smith 19 Dec, 2012

    This recipe was surprisingly easy for me! I love marshmallows and was so happy when I found this recipe! I put them into my holiday cookie baskets. The key to cutting the marshmallows is to use scissors.

  • Tiffany O Neil 17 Dec, 2012

    I just made these and this is one of those things that makes me you feel so proud of yourself. They are not difficult but just rare enough to make you go, " I made this??" I cannot wait to cut them into servings and give them with my holiday baskets. I totally cleanout the bowl hehe.

  • mamaduck27 11 Dec, 2012

    These came out beautiful! They are a little fluffier than the recipe I normally use that has no egg whites. The only thing I would change would be to add a little bit of salt to really open up the flavor... they were a skosh bland.

  • Joyou5 10 Dec, 2012

    This is SO good! Couple of things. I used the 8 inch pan like Martha said - I would use a 9x13 if I did it again. They were so fat and the red colouring didn't go all the way through. Also let them sit on the counter over night. I didn't and I definitely think they would have been less sticky if I had.

    Thanks to the other reviews who helped me not flop this recipe!

  • Shirley Masters Cornell 9 Dec, 2012

    are there special special storing instructions? Mine melted after they set.

  • MamaQuilter 22 Dec, 2011

    They turned out great. Had no problems. Followed PastryPimps suggestions. These are awesome! So Far everyone I have given them to has been amazed. Thanks Martha.

  • agreene30 16 Dec, 2011

    to the reviewer that suggested that the Vanilla Marshmallow recipe was easier and very similar...not true. I made one batch of each last night and they are not even comparable. This recipe while slightly more involved yields a FAR superior product. Use this recipe! It is worth the effort.

  • lynniemilano 14 Dec, 2011

    Made these today for the first time and they turned out great! I used a jelly roll pan as I wanted mini marshmallows rather than big ones and cooked to 250° (meant to cook to 240° but stepped away and came back a minute too late!) I tried "pulsing" the color in with the mixer but got a mostly pink batch - next time I'll swirl the color in by hand before pouring the batter into the pan. Powdered sugar stopped all sticking. Will give these as xmas teacher gifts - yummy!

  • toohotmama 12 Dec, 2011

    This recipe is confusing and unnecessary. Follow Martha's recipe for Vanilla Marshmallows-- easier to dissolve the gelatin, no need for a thermometer and NO EGG. I have made that recipe at least 20 times and it is always amazing. I use a 13x9 pan lined with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam. Let them sit overnight, then turn them onto a cutting board dusted with powdered sugar. Use a sharp knife sprayed with Pam and immediately dunk the cubes into a bowl of powdered sugar. EASY.

  • Jaggs 7 Dec, 2011

    I made these last year for Xmas and they turned out wonderfully. I use a 9x9 pan it was a little to small so this year I will be using a 9 x 13. I marbleized by adding the coloring to the mixing bowl and pausing a couple of times. This year I will dip them in chocolate and sprinkle crushed peppermint on top and give out as gifts for the holiday.

  • candy1999 2 Jan, 2011

    This was my first time with marshmallows and it seemed fairly easy. However, they've been setting for just over an hour and are VERY gelatinous. I'm not sure what I did wrong or if this is normal and will correct over night... I did soak the gelatin for 5 mins before heating. It was thin and pretty foamy on top after heating, so I believe it was fully dissolved; but this is my first time with gelatin so I'm not entirely sure how it is supposed to look. Any ideas if I did something wrong?

  • Cheffy192 25 Dec, 2010

    I found this quite easy to make.
    I used all the previously mentioned tips and they definitely helped.
    I lined my 9x13 pan with tin foil, lightly covered in sugar and that made it easy to pull out of the pan afterward.
    Unforunately, I stored them on an entertaining plate with other pastries (until this morning) and gelatinous red dye pooled at the bottom of the plate and dyed the other pastries. Keep them in the fridge!

  • mizwoodym 18 Dec, 2010

    I made these this morning...yum... the hints in the comments helped a great deal. After I was done and they were all cut up I thought I could have rolled them in colored granulated sugar kind of like a Peep... I have a egg nog version that Im going to try next.

  • Auroraborealis16 15 Dec, 2010

    These were surprisingly easy (I've never made Marshmallows before.) I didn't have peppermint extract so I substituted the gelatin water with Peppermint tea - the marshmallows still came out completely white! My only problem was the actual decorating. Any tips as to making the gorgeous swirls? I want to make these as a gift as well.

  • ndgirl79 15 Dec, 2010

    Wow. These were a nightmare to make. So sticky and hard to spread into your pan. The food coloring didn't go on very evenly so they look tacky.

  • cougchick 15 Dec, 2010

    I just put these into the pan. My daughter is very excited that they look so neat and of course she had to lick the bowl! I am glad I read some of the comments before attempting or i would have had a huge mess on my hands. I used a jelly roll pan and added the gelatin a little at a time to prevent foaming over. I will be anxious to see how the final product turns out.

  • erin_m 14 Dec, 2010

    I made these last night for the first time (my first time making candy of any sort!) and they turned out great!!! I used the tips posted here in the comments: 9x13 pan, sugar mixture to 240 degrees, rolled them in powdered sugar so the cut pieces aren't sticky, I used a pizza cutter to slice them after they sat for the three hours and finally, I dropped the red food coloring into my mixing bowl and "pulsed" a few times. They are pink with white and red swirls - very pretty!!

  • PastryPimp 14 Dec, 2010

    TBDZ - Don't sweat it- here's some advice on the gelatin. Dissolve the gelatin in water first - before you do anything else and set it aside. Don't melt it yet. Boil your sugar and pull it off the heat about 5 degrees before it's ready. It will continue to cook. Start whipping the whites. Add the gelatin to the boiled sugar and stir to let it melt using the heat of the sugar. Make sure the whites are stiff before you add sugar mix. Whip till cool and thick no matter how long it takes. xx

  • TBDZ 13 Dec, 2010

    2nd time making this and the gel set on the bottom. 1st time the sugar burned as I was pouring the gelatin in there -- as I'm getting ready to prepare my self I've realized that leaving the mixer on for 20 min. might not be enough -- Stock up on Gelatin if this is your first attempt. This is such a cute idea -- I had so many things going on at once that this takes your full attention and time! I let it set over night and the gel set clear on the bottom -- any Ideas??

  • Moms_Kitchen 11 Dec, 2010

    I used peppermint oil for a stronger mint flavor

  • shewhofindsthings 10 Dec, 2010

    You can just staple the ribbon or twine to the package and save lots of time packaging! HO, HO, HO!

  • jasoninsf 6 Dec, 2010

    These marshmallows are so good! I make them without the coloring and peppermint than drizzle chocolate over the top and sandwiching them with homemade graham crackers. http://yourfoodchoices.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/more-smores/
    Cheers, Jason

  • Nicolewilliams 6 Dec, 2010

    The packaging is so simple and pretty! It shows off the DELICIOSO treat inside... I have to use this one day for a dessert table. =)

  • Fivegifts 6 Dec, 2010

    I made eight batches of these for gifts and had so much fun! Hot cocoa and candy cane marshmallows will be a gift from our family every year from now on. The directions are well written and once you get the timing down, it is not difficult. Love this recipe!

  • acdoleys 4 Dec, 2010

    Good marshmallows, however, what this recipe failed to explain is that when you combine the gelatin mixture into the sugar mixture, there may be a huge eruption of foamy-ness that overflows the "small saucepan" that they recommend you use to make the sugar mixture. I would suggest a LARGE saucepan, so that you don't end up wasting ingredients and have a huge mess on your hands afterwards...

  • Bewitched4ever 30 Dec, 2009

    you can buy vegetarian gelatin it is in the supermarkets and cookie cutters work great just make sure to spray with cooking spray as they stick to the cookies cutters.

  • mleacock 19 Dec, 2009

    These turned out really well! My first marshmallow adventure. I wish the streaking went through the marshmallow instead of just on top. The result was very soft and light - not like store bought marshmallows. Will make again!

  • anniegins 12 Dec, 2009

    I am a vegetarian and wanted to know if I could substitute something out for the gelatin. Thanks.

  • divertingflo 11 Dec, 2009

    Have anyone tried to use cookie cutters to cut these out? I would love to make these into shapes!

  • SRae14 8 Nov, 2009

    Any thoughts on what the "shelf life" of the marshmallows is or should be?

  • Criss_86 25 Dec, 2008

    These turned out great. I used a pizza cutter and had no proublem cutting them. I agree with everyone else use a 9X13 inch pan.

  • melaniesaidah 23 Dec, 2008

    On cutting the marshmallows: spray the blades of kitchen shears with baking spray and then dip them in cornstarch.
    Homemade marshmallows can be very sticky, so knives really make a mess. Kitchen shears are your best bet.

  • patriciammiller 23 Dec, 2008

    I made these with great success! Couple tips. Use a 9x13 pan. It fills it to the brim. I used a tip from here

  • StarGazer13 20 Dec, 2008

    Can I cut these with an electric knife if I coat it with cooking spray before each cut? If not, best way to cut?

  • FrankJensen 19 Dec, 2008

    Some marshmallow recipes have egg whites and some other do not. What's the difference in the way they taste and in their texture? I always thought they were supposed to contain egg whites, so I don't which of these is right or better. Any insights or thoughts on this?

  • FrankJensen 19 Dec, 2008

    Some marshmallow recipes have egg whites and some other do not. What's the difference in the way they taste and in their texture? I always thought they were supposed to contain egg whites, so I don't which of these is right or better. Any insights or thoughts on this?

  • quecheemom 17 Dec, 2008

    I have now made these twice. I don't know what it is BUT I think that the key is getting them into the pan and adding the food coloring at precisely the right thickness. To get the marbled or swirled look start with far less coloring and add more until you have the desired effect. Definitely dust with a combo of powdered sugar and crushed candy canes

  • djbunny 17 Dec, 2008

    Dust the pan bottom and sides with powdered sugar to prevent sticking and the top after you pour. Once you cut them roll them in powdered sugar to prevent sticking. This helps very much!!!

  • djbunny 17 Dec, 2008

    Dust the pan bottom and sides with powdered sugar to prevent sticking and the top after you pour. Once you cut them roll them in powdered sugar to prevent sticking. This helps very much!!!

  • joyful_teacher 14 Dec, 2008

    I am not having much success with this. I don't have a bowl mixer, so I am trying to use a hand mixer. There is no way I can mix for 12-15 minutes. The mixture becomes too thick to pour into the pan by about 8 minutes. Without being able to time the mixing, I'm not sure what consistency the mixture should be when poured out. Can someone give a suggestion?

  • sierramama 13 Dec, 2008

    How long do these marshmallows keep? I would like to make them as gifts for my neighbors and would like to start a week or two in advance.

  • osteophagia 11 Dec, 2008

    For raspberry flavored marshmallows, we let the gelatin bloom in 1/2 cup of raspberry juice 1/4 cup of water instead of 3/4 cup water as the recipe directs. To get the juice, we crushed 6oz of fresh raspberries (all that was on hand) and strained the mixture to remove the seeds. We got marshmallows with a distinct raspberry flavor and a light reddish-purple color.

  • osteophagia 11 Dec, 2008

    I recommend using a 9x13" pan since my 8x8X2" pan was extremely full. I got 128 marshmallows by cutting the block of marshmallows into 8 strips, each strip into 8 pieces, and then each piece into two so that the final marshmallows were roughly 1" square. I coated each marshmallow with a mixture that was half cornstarch, half confectioners sugar and gently brushed off any excess coating.

  • osteophagia 11 Dec, 2008

    I recommend using a 9x13" pan since my 8x8X2" pan was extremely full. I got 128 marshmallows by cutting the block of marshmallows into 8 strips, each strip into 8 pieces, and then each piece into two so that the final marshmallows were roughly 1" square. I coated each marshmallow with a mixture that was half cornstarch, half confectioners sugar and gently brushed off any excess coating.

  • osteophagia 11 Dec, 2008

    I recommend using a 9x13" pan since my 8x8x2" pan was absolutely full to the top. This recipe yielded 128 marshmallows for me. I cut the marshmallows into 8 strips and then each strip into 8 pieces (to get 64) and then I cut each marshmallow in half since they were still large and rectangular (for a final count of 128). I coated the marshmallows with a sifted mixture of half cornstarch and half confectioners sugar.

  • Esam 8 Dec, 2008

    I don't see in here to use any powdered sugar to coat the marshmallows in pan and when done. Are they OK with just the oli? Also would like to make with rasp flavor-is there a good way to do this?owuld love suggestions

  • acfisch 7 Dec, 2008

    This was a semi-complicated process, but so worth the results. They're beautiful and delicious marshmallows I'm planning to give as gifts this year. I couldn't agree more about the size of the pan--go with 9x13 because there's no way this will fit in an 8-inch pan. I'm not sure about my marbleizing skills, but I'll try again with the lower temp sugar mixture and see if this works.

  • amandafetters 6 Dec, 2008

    Only cook the sugar syrup to 240; that will give you a chance to marbelize the surface before the goo hardens (and it still sets up just fine). I second the suggestion to use a 9x13 or jelly roll pan.

  • heatherthegardengirl 6 Dec, 2008

    Knox gelatin is made the same as other gelatin ... it is extracted from the bones, connective tissues, organs, and some intestines of animals such as the domesticated cattle, and horses.

  • Jaimeturnthepage 5 Dec, 2008

    Great recipe, but it made WAY more than one 8x8 pan - in fact, it made three! I would use a jelly roll pan next time.

  • ayeletgeffen 26 Aug, 2008

    you can find gelatin from fish at Kosher stores

  • ewaali 20 Jul, 2008

    is there any way to replace gelatin? I don't eat any pork products. And I used to love marshmallows.

  • mmsrjs 14 Jul, 2008

    Hi Karolinelesen: we were in Switzerland a long time ago and bought some beautiful items there, like the little house that gives us the temperature, and a coco clock. dont' think I spelled that right but I'm sure you will understand. Here in the U.S.A. we buy "Karo syrup" and you might try their web site "karosyrup.com" on the home page you will find a tab that says "contact us", I didn't but I'm sure if you do you will get some great help from them. Good Luck.

  • karolinelesen 6 May, 2008

    Hi there
    Any ideas where I can find light corn syrup in a internet shop as i could not find it in any store in Switzerland :(
    Thank you for your help!

  • saramechelle 10 Mar, 2008

    "Especially", not "espacially". Goodness....

  • saramechelle 10 Mar, 2008

    These are so delicious and *beautiful*.... They make wonderful hostess gifts, espacially during the winter holiday season.

  • mmsrjs 2 Jan, 2008

    These look so good, I'm sorry I did not find them sooner, put them in my Valentine Folder. Thanks for the comments, makes me want to make them sooner than February. ROMA

  • BnBdreamin 28 Dec, 2007

    I made these for the first time and they were such a big hit! My nephews thought I was the greatest thing for making marshmallows! I was pretty impressed myself. I held up my floppy sheet of marshmallow and shouted to my husband, look what I made!!! They will definitely become a new tradition! They do really make the best hot chocolate topper! Thanks for the recipe!

  • superkungfugirl 24 Dec, 2007

    I had a really difficult time with the marbling. As soon as I put the mixture into the pan it started to harden. It ended up that only the top half of the marshmallows were marbled. Oh well, they were still tasty!

  • heatherthegardengirl 19 Dec, 2007

    I used red gel food coloring to get a marbled effect throughout - I added some while it was still in the mixing bowl and turned the mixer on for 3 sec. Some parts turned a nice pink but the other parts are a gorgeous pink and white marble. It looks very much like a candy cane, plus there's no red food coloring coming off on your fingers. I also used a 9x13 pan, cut them into bars and dipped the tops in dark chocolate. yummm

  • heatherthegardengirl 19 Dec, 2007

    I used red gel food coloring to get a marbled effect throughout - I added some while it was still in the mixing bowl and turned the mixer on for 3 sec. Some parts turned a nice pink but the other parts are a gorgeous pink and white marble. It looks very much like a candy cane, plus there's no red food coloring coming off on your fingers. I also used a 9x13 pan, cut them into bars and dipped the tops in dark chocolate. yummm

  • Virginia_beach 18 Dec, 2007

    I gave these away as pictured in cellophane bags and they had a great presentation. I recommend waiting overnight for them to firm up. Then, to cut them, spray a sharp knife with cooking oil spray before each cut, wiping off any excess oil before cutting. This makes cutting much easier. Also, after they're cut, roll in powder sugar. this prevents them from sticking together, making it very difficult to place in cellophane bags. Thanks for the recipe.

  • ginaadavis 17 Dec, 2007

    What if you poured it out into a greased cookie sheet (larger size), marbled the top, then after it had set up a bit, either flipped it over or folded it in half so that the marble color was at least on both sides?

  • sleepymama 14 Dec, 2007

    I've never made marshmallows but I have heard that they should be dusted with cornstarch to prevent stickiness.

  • katpinck 13 Dec, 2007

    Generously dust the top with powdered sugar before you cut them, and once they have all been cut out and removed from the pan, cover the remainder of them with the sugar as well.

  • janessaslatky 13 Dec, 2007

    Anyone have any good ideas on how to make the marbeling go all the way through the marshmallows. I made these and they are only marbled on one side. They are also very sticky- any suggestions?

  • janessaslatky 13 Dec, 2007

    Anyone have any good ideas on how to make the marbeling go all the way through the marshmallows. I made these and they are only marbled on one side. They are also very sticky- any suggestions?

  • janessaslatky 13 Dec, 2007

    Anyone have any good ideas on how to make the marbeling go all the way through the marshmallows. I made these and they are only marbled on one side. They are also very sticky- any suggestions?

  • domestic_diva 8 Dec, 2007

    Very Welcome Glad I could be of help :)

  • Yokyo 8 Dec, 2007

    thanks for clearing that up domestic diva!

  • domestic_diva 8 Dec, 2007

    Yokyo that is powdered gelatin, just in envelopes. :)

    Unsellma Refer to my comment below (#2 at the very end------ Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.)

    Jenall- You would think that would work.....But all I can say is try it!! :) Experiments sometimes turn out better anyhow........

  • Yokyo 2 Dec, 2007

    i'm in the UK and can only find powder gelatine. Can I use 1 ounce of powder gelatine to add to the water as the recipes calls above?

  • jenallertnelson 2 Dec, 2007

    Can meringue powder be used instead of egg whites? And when should they be added?

  • unsellma 29 Nov, 2007

    When do you add the pepperming extract?

  • cjaysbiz 29 Nov, 2007

    It has become a tradition in our family to make homemade marshmallows every yeat at Christmas time. Can't wait to try this variation!

  • domestic_diva 28 Nov, 2007

    #2 at the very end------ Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

  • DOD30 28 Nov, 2007

    This sounds good and fun to make. However, when should peppermint extract
    be added. Seems this was omitted in instructions.