Don’t get me wrong. I love me a good batch of cookies.
But after the 6th or 7th plate shows up at my door during the holidays I’m ready for something new. You can be that delightful novelty for all your favorite neighbors by giving them a little bag of these homemade candy cane marshmallows. They really aren’t all that difficult to make. Your kitchen might be covered in powdered sugar and marshmallow goo but hey, it’s all water-soluble, so no harm done. Add a can of hot cocoa and your neighbor gift will delight everyone from grandma on down to babycakes.
Homemade marshmallows are one of my favorite discoveries. I’ve added cinnamon to top my sweet potatoes, I’ve added ginger and orange zest when I felt feisty, and this time I’m adding candy canes to spice up my hot cocoa.
I want candy cane goodness on at least two sides of the marshmallows. A very critical step is prepping the pan. Spray, powder, candy cane crunch, in that order. Now it’s ready for the stickiest mixture your stand-up mixer has ever seen. Hand mixers would faint with exhaustion. This is the job for the big guns.
Here is the how-to:
First, “bloom” the gelatin in cold water. Second, cook the sugar, water, and syrup to 240 degrees F. Third, slowly and carefully pour the mixture into the bowl, gradually turning the mixer to high. Steam will be flying out all over the place. After a minute or so things will settle down and you’ll get about 12 minutes of freedom while your kids stare mesmerized at the mixer as it whips thousands of bubbles into the soon-to-be-marshmallows. Don’t. Forget. The vanilla. I did. Twice while making this post.
Spread the mixture over the pan, coat with candy canes and then the powder. Then let dry for a few hours or even better, overnight.
Cut into large squares using a large chef’s knife coated with spray, then powder. It helps to rinse and re-coat every few cuts. In my experience, a large knife works better than a pizza cutter. Coat all sides in powder to prevent from sticking. You’ll have a couple weeks to deliver your goodies before they start to dry out.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 5 candy canes, crushed
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- Nonstick spray
- Place gelatin and 1/2 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a small saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat.
- Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer on low. Slowly and carefully pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Turn the mixer to high and continue to whip for 13 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. Meanwhile, prepare the pan.
- Combine powdered sugar and corn starch. Spray a 13x9inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Coat with powder. Sprinkle with half of the crushed candy canes.
- When ready, pour mixture into the pan and spread with a greased spatula. Cover with the remaining crushed candy canes. Dust generously with powder. Let sit uncovered for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
- Turn onto a cutting board. Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray and dust with powder mixture. Cut into large squares, cleaning and respraying/dusting knife after every few cuts. Coat remaining sides of the marshmallow. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
I’ve had a couple batches of these homemade candy cane marshmallows to hand out and I love seeing the happy reactions. It’s a fun and novel way to let someone know you love them and care enough about them to do something a little special and different. I hope you have a chance to try these out this season!
What are your favorite treats to give out around the holidays?
For more neighbor gift ideas that won’t cost and arm and a leg, check out some of these ideas: