Food & Drink Magazine

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

By Thecookspyjamas @thecookspyjamas
Surprisingly easy to make, you cannot beat homemade strawberry marshmallows. Flavoured with real strawberry puree, these marshmallows are made without highly refined corn syrup. They are also egg free and gluten free, making them perfect treat for those with multiple allergies or sensitivities.

Total Time Investment: 30 minutes plus overnight setting

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

Mr Grumpy and I don't 'do' Valentine's Day. A month or so before we would have celebrated our first Valentine's Day together, he gave a little speech about "just another excuse for stores to make you buy stuff, not a real holiday, blah blah blah." As his little speech about commercialisation mirrored my own feelings about Christmas, I couldn't really argue. The upshot is we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. However, if we did, then this Valentine's Day would be all about marshmallows.

Personally I find commercial marshmallows, and even some artisan ones, sickly sweet. Then there is the issue of flavourings and colourings. If I eat strawberry marshmallows, I want them to taste like strawberries and not some spongy, sticky mass with a vague chemical flavour. And I don't want the colour to come from a bottle.

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

Homemade strawberry marshmallows are completely different to anything you will buy commercially. They have texture, flavour and are oh so moreish. I don't eat a lot of sweet things, but I sent The Princess off to school with most of the latest batch of these marshmallows just to save me from myself.

You may think that homemade marshmallows are quite complicated, but they are actually ridiculously easy to make. And making your own means you have complete control over the level of sweetness, the type of sugar used, and the colours and flavours that you wish to add. My recipe is also made without eggs, which is ideal for those families battling egg allergies. You need only make one batch for the whole family.

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

So let's just talk about ingredients for a second. Some form of sugar is essential when making marshmallows. Most homemade marshmallow recipes use corn syrup or glucose, and highly refined white sugar. This is what makes marshmallows so sweet. Like everything I make, I prefer to use less refined sugars, so have developed this recipe with raw sugar and brown rice malt syrup.

The other main ingredient in homemade marshmallows is gelatine. Gelatine is so much more than just the setting agent. It may surprise you to know that gelatine actually has a myriad of health benefits. These include aiding digestion, assisting bone and joint health and improving skin elasticity. It is derived from animal skin and bones, so is not suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. Try to source gelatine derived from grass pastured animals for maximum health benefits.

Faced with so many different options for flavouring my marshmallows, I decided I wanted to make strawberry marshmallows. Vanilla marshmallows are so passé, and chocolate marshmallows are better for Easter (in my opinion). The fresh strawberry puree provides a pure strawberry flavour that is not drowned out by sugar, and is not created by chemicals. Delicious!

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

Ingredient Substitutions

Use either fresh or frozen strawberries to make the puree. Frozen are actually a better choice if strawberries are not in season as they are likely to have more flavour than off-season fresh strawberries. You want well flavoured strawberries to make marshmallows.

Cornstarch can be substituted for arrowroot powder. The arrowroot just gives a slightly nicer mouth feel. Ensure you use real cornstarch if you want the marshmallows to remain gluten free.

Substitute white sugar for raw sugar if necessary, although this will make the marshmallows sweeter.

I have not tried other liquid sweeteners in place of the brown rice syrup, but have seen other recipes that successfully use maple syrup or honey. You can use corn syrup or glucose syrup in place of the brown rice syrup, although again your marshmallows will be sweeter (and not corn syrup free 😉 )

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

Tips & Tricks for Strawberry Marshmallow Success

You do need a candy thermometer to make your own marshmallows. There is no way of getting around this. If you don't own a thermometer, buy one. They are cheap, and I promise that after one batch you will be putting that thermometer to good use.

Unless you are prepared to stand in your kitchen for ever, you really need to make these using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer. I have not made them with a hand held mixer, so cannot guarantee it would work as well. But to be honest, homemade marshmallows are so good that if I only had a hand held mixer I would try it anyway.

Cut the marshmallows to any shape you desire. I have previously made them into cubes using a pizza cutter, and I've also used cookie cutters to cut the marshmallows into shapes. If you use cookie cutters, you will get off-cuts. These can either be nibbled quietly by yourself in the kitchen ( Shhhhhh!!) or you could whip up an impromptu batch of rocky road.

Marshmallows are sticky. The icing sugar mixture is your friend. Sprinkle it over over any sticky surface.

To create swirls, dip a toothpick into natural food colouring and pass it through the top of the marshmallow immediately after you smooth it into the tin.

To clean up, put the saucepan and mixing bowl in the sink, and fill them with water. Put all your implements in the water and walk away. Come back 10 minutes later and everything will have softened and dissolved, making it easy to clean.

How to get ahead with your Strawberry Marshmallows

Strawberry marshmallows will keep for at least a week, stored in an airtight container on the bench. The sugar in the marshmallows acts as a preservative for the fresh strawberry puree, in much the same action as in jam, so there are no concerns of them spoiling. They will keep longer than a week, but will start to harden and become less spongy over time.

Marshmallows need to be made at least the day before they are required to allow them to set properly, so are the ideal confectionery to make in advance of a party.

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

The Best Fresh Strawberry Marshmallows {No Corn Syrup, GF}

* This post was originally published in February 2014, and has been substantially updated and revised.

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