It’s time for another installment of Kids Clean Up! It is here that I search for cleaned up recipes of our kids’ favorite processed foods. I promise to bring you the good, the bad and the ugly as some recipes work and others don’t.
Our record of success continues today with this delicious marshmallow recipe. This was a fun one. Why? Because you feel like a rockstar when you can offer someone a homemade marshmallow. Grown-ups and kids are equally impressed.
MARSHMALLOWS! Kids love them and they are filled with junk. Let’s take a look at the ingredient list for Jet Puff Marshmallows, shall we…
Can we just take a moment to chuckle at the red box that provides a Choking Warning and the tip of “Eat one at a time.” It’s all fuzzy, but underneath it also says, “Children should always be seated and supervised while eating.” Thank you, wise Kraft company, for these illuminating tips. I was going to teach my child to eat five marshmallows at a time, but thanks to your counsel I will provide one marshmallow to my seated and supervised youngster. Now how are they going to win the Chubby Bunny game in high school??
So we’ve got corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, modified corn starch, water, gelatin, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, natural and artificial flavor, artificial color (Blue 1). Bleh.
What recipe did I use?
Here is it, from The Urban Poser: Rustic Homemade Marshmallows with Honey. Click over to see the ingredient amounts and the step by step instructions. Even better, because The Urban Poser is awesome, she has a how-to video at the bottom of her blog post which is super clear and supportive.
Our marshmallow ingredient list looks like this: honey, gelatin, vanilla, sea salt and filtered water. That’s it.
I quickly realized that only three things stand in your way of making nutrient-rich clean marshmallows. Figure these three things out and the rest is truly easy. No joke.
Thing One: You need to have a candy thermometer. Do it without and it is no longer easy.
Thing Two: You need a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Do it without and it is no longer easy.
Thing Three: You need a source for high quality gelatin from grass-fed cows. Do it without and it is no longer clean as it is most likely made from cows on factory farms, called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs. This is not clean due to the quality of the gelatin and the conditions for the animals. Here is my recommendation for high quality gelatin: Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin. In all of my clean food blogger circles, this product comes up again and again as the clear favorite. It’s a big bottle and will make you clean jell-o, marshmallows and gummy snacks for a LONG time.
For some of you, maybe we need to take a step back and acknowledge that gelatin based foods are made from animals. Gelatin is the collagen pulled out of the by-products like bones, tendons, hooves, cartilage. For those of us who eat meat, quality gelatin has many health benefits. You can read this blog post by Wellness Mama for more details on the wonders of gelatin, if you’d like. For my vegetarian friends, I found this recipe for marshmallows that uses agar instead of gelatin, but it has many other ingredients in it that I avoid, so it’s not perfect by a long shot.
If you have things one through three figured out, all you need to do is watch the video and away you go.
The Results: Oh boy, are these super flavorful marshmallows with the distinct flavor of the honey and the perfecto marshmallow-y texture. You cut them up to whatever size you’d like. (This was hard for me for some reason, like I’d never thought about what my ideal marshmallow size would be.) The kids all noticed immediately that the marshmallows tasted like honey. It slowed them down for about a millisecond and then they chowed the marshmallow down and asked for another. I used a pretty strongly flavored honey, so I’m guessing a milder flavored honey like clover might be closer to the classic marshmallow taste.
We keep eating them plain, but I plan on toasting one with my culinary torch. I hear they don’t work real well for toasting over an open fire because they melt before turning brown and fall off your stick. The best s’more action happens by placing the graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate in tin foil and placing the whole thing over the fire for a bit. I’m also going to use them for some version of a rice krispie treat and see how that goes. I really can’t wait to play around with them to see what else I can do!
Candy thermometer is KEY!!
Honey soup just added to the gelatin and water.
Seriously! This is where the magic happened. In just seven minutes of whipping on high, this beautiful marshmallow creme appeared. Just think what you could do with this marshmallow creme in a piping bag, in chocolate mousse, as an ice cream topping… YUM!
Here is the marshmallow creme in the pan. I used parchment to tamp it down. Next time, I might just dab my fingers in coconut oil and go without the paper. It was a little tricky to pull off afterwards. I did use a dusting of arrowroot powder on the bottom and that worked like a charm.
Here is my marshmallow lump four hours later. While taking this photo I am realizing that the Jet Puff people are not the boss of me and I can chop my marshmallows up in whatever sizes I want. This leads to confusion and stress and about twenty different sizes as I change my mind over and over.
This is how I store my marshmallows. This is about 3/4 of a batch as the family has already eaten many many marshmallows at this point.
You guys, if we can make beautiful clean marshmallows, we can clean-up anything!! Seems like I better get to work on graham crackers so I can finish these s’mores up.
Then what should I work on next??
Check out our past Kids Clean Up: