I cannot imagine a more appropriate occasion to make these Sweet Love Strawberry Marshmallow confections than Valentine’s Day! I am not ashamed to confess that I’m wholly and unabashedly in love with Valentine’s Day, and not necessarily the couple’s kind, though that is all kinds of lovely as well. I simply adore the idea of celebrating love. Love of all that bring such joy and beauty to our lives…family, friends, children and significant others, is what we celebrate on this day.
I am not a fan of store bought marshmallows and have never cared for them. When I had little ones however, they were fascinated by them, in spite of my lack of affection for the gelatinous fauxfections that I found utterly tasteless. So, if these kids were insisting on eating marshmallows, then it was up to me to make them an all natural, more delicious variety.
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, divided
3, 1/4 ounce unflavored gelatin packets
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
1, 1 ounce package freeze-dried strawberry
½ cup (162 grams) light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or vanilla extract
How to use them:
Prepare a 9″ x 12″ pan by spraying it with cooking oil and then sifting ½ cup powdered sugar into the pan, covering the entire surface and sides. (NOTE* for thinner marshmallows, use the 9″ x 12″ pan, for thicker marshmallows, feel free to use an 8″ x 8″ pan.)Mix the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until just combined and set aside.The next step in the recipe is to prepare the strawberry syrup that will be whisked into the gelatin. Using freeze dried fruit is a terrific way to incorporate intense fruit flavor without the added moisture that can great wreak havoc on a recipe. It is also a great way to naturally color your sweets, without the use of artificial food coloring. Prepare the freeze dried strawberries by breaking them into smaller pieces. If you prefer little bits of strawberry pieces in your marshmallow, then simply pour them in a sandwich bag and use your mixing bowl to smash them to bits. For a smoother marshmallow, simply process in a food processor until the freeze dried strawberries turn to powder.
In a medium pot, gently whisk the sugar, corn syrup, salt, freeze dried fruit and the remaining 1/2 cup water, and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.Heat the syrup until it reaches 240°F degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring continuously.Once the syrup reaches 240°F, turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the strawberry syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Once all of the syrup is poured in, increase the mixer speed to medium high and whisk until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla paste and whisk until completely incorporated.
Spray or wipe a spatula with oil and dust with powdered sugar. This will help keep the marshmallow from sticking to the spatula. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, and begin to smooth it down.For all of those Type A personalities such as myself, just be prepared, this is not a neat process, but the end result is worth every dusting of powdered sugar on your counter-top and clothes! Nine times out of ten, I give up on the spatula and use my powdered sugar coated hands!Smooth the marshmallow and dust the top with more powdered sugar. Allow it to set and dry uncovered for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
At this point, you are only limited by your imagination as to what you do with your beautiful marshmallows. Since these are Valentine marshmallows, I, of course went with a heart cookie cutter.Always dip your cutter in powdered sugar so that it will not stick to the marshmallow.Gently press down the cutter and then lift up.Place the marshmallows on parchment paper to avoid sticking.These are now ready to enjoy as they are, delightfully simple all-natural strawberry marshmallows, or perhaps adorning a decadent hot chocolate lovingly made for your special Valentine. How cute are the sprinkles on the rim?My personal preference? A dark chocolate enrobed mallow-pop! I prepared the marshmallows by inserting a decorative straw in them and setting them on parchment paper. I then gently melt a cup of chopped chocolate in a bain marie and dipped the strawberry marshmallows in the chocolate. I decorated them in two ways,…dipped in Valentine nonpareils;(Valentine colors of course!)…and with sweet little white chocolate love notes.
For these particular ones, I wrapped them up and added them to the kids’ lunch boxes as a sweet surprise! They were quite happy and their friends just a bit envious.I truly hope these leave you inspired to make something for all of the loved Valentines in your life. For love is measured by how much of ourselves we give, and not what we expect to receive.
Whether it’s these marshmallows or a humble note written with utmost sincerity, just give of your heart on Valentine’s Day, and everyday.