For Valentine's Day, help your kids make easy raspberry honey marshmallows and instant cocoa gifts to treat loved ones. (Skip to recipes.)
Marshmallows, whether big fluffy white ones, or soft tangy pink ones, or sticky melting-in-your cocoa ones, are a delight for kids and grown-ups alike.
(Dressing up is part of the fun, too.)
Ever since I discovered the absolutely easy, never-fail, old-fashioned recipe for Homemade Marshmallows (the ones Raymond's mom's been making for over 60 years), I've become marshmallow-obsessed. This recipe doesn't need a candy thermometer to make, requires no tricky pouring of the syrup, and no holding your breath in the hopes that it will all turn out.
The marshmallows are so simple to make that Meredith and I have already made them twice in our weekly cooking sessions - with great results. I should say that actually Meredith made them, and I supervised. So if an eight-year-old can make them, you can too.
And this Raspberry Honey version would make a lovely Valentine's Day treat, tucked into a pretty mug with a packet of Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (recipe below). Since in our northern climate, Valentine's Day is still a winter holiday, it definitely merits a mug of sweet hot chocolate with a melting raspberry marshmallow or two.
Cutting out the hearts and rolling them in starch was lots of fun, and making up the instant hot cocoa packets was an easy and fun addition to the project.
(Can you tell that Meredith and I were in a pretty pink frame of mind here? Every now and then a girl's gotta get girly!)
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Kitchen Frau Notes: The raspberry honey marshmallows tend to weep if rolled in icing sugar. We found that as long as we use potato starch (or cornstarch) to coat the pan and roll the marshmallows in, weeping isn't a problem. Potato starch is a little looser, so it coats the marshmallows more evenly, though cornstarch works, too.
Save the raspberries left over after draining and add them to smoothies, mix them into yogurt, eat them on ice cream or pancakes, or drizzle with honey and eat from the bowl.
Sweet Homemade Raspberry Honey Marshmallows
- 400 gram/14 oz. bag of frozen raspberries (unsweetened), defrosted
- 3 packages gelatin (2 tablespoons + ¾ teaspoon gelatin powder)
- ½ cup (120ml) water
- 1 cup (240ml) honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- potato starch or shredded, unsweetened coconut for rolling the marshmallows
Defrost the berries in a bowl (set them out the night before, or at least 4 hours before you start). Once they are completely defrosted, set them into a sieve over a large measuring cup or bowl. Leave them to drain for several hours, or until you have ½ cup of juice collected in the measuring cup. If you don't have quite enough, press gently on the berries with the back of a spoon until you get ½ cup of raspberry juice.
Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the raspberry juice, and stir gently with a fork just until all the gelatin is moistened. Leave it to sit and gel for 10 minutes. The mixture will be very stiff.
While the gelatin is soaking, measure the honey into a medium sized saucepan with the water. Heat them over medium heat until the honey is melted and combined with the water.
Add the raspberry gelatin to the warm honey and water, using a rubber spatula to make sure you get every bit of gelatin out of the cup.
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the gelatin mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. It will look foamy and you can't stir the bubbles down.
Take the saucepan off the heat and leave it until it cools to lukewarm. Check by sticking your clean finger in to feel how warm it is. It will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
While it is cooling, prepare your pan. Use a 9x13 inch pan if you are cutting all cubes, or one 8x8 inch pan and one 9x9 inch pan, if you want to have some cubes and some hearts (or 2 9x9 inch pans if you want to make all hearts). Coat the inside of the pan lightly with oil, by pouring in a dab of oil and wiping it around with a paper towel, or by spraying it lightly with cooking oil. Pour several tablespoons of potato starch into the pan and shake it all around to coat all the sides of the pan. Shake out the excess.
When the raspberry gelatin has cooled to lukewarm, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer, scraping it out of the saucepan with a spatula.
Whip the gelatin at high speed for about 8 minutes (up to 10 minutes if using a smaller rotary mixer) until the mixture has tripled in volume and is like a bowl of fluffy soft pink clouds.
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan. If using two pans, pour enough into the 9x9 inch pan to be about ½ inch thick, then pour the rest into the smaller pan.
Smooth the top with a spatula dipped in water. Let rest until set - about 4 hours or up to overnight. You can speed up the setting time by placing the pan into the refrigerator. (We cheated and placed it in the freezer for a half hour and then into the fridge for a little bit longer.)
Spread out about a half cup of potato starch or corn starch into a cookie sheet with edges. Place some shredded coconut into a bowl, if using it.
Dust a cutting board generously with potato starch. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the marshmallow mixture, then invert it onto the cutting board, helping it out of the pan with your hands.
Cut the raspberry honey marshmallows into cubes, or cut out hearts with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter from the shallow pan.
Roll the marshmallows in the starch or coconut to coat all sides. If rolling in starch, shake the excess off by shaking the coated marshmallows back and forth in loosely cupped hands.
Set them on a rack to dry. Cut the scraps from the hearts into small pieces and roll them in the starch for mini-raggedy-marshmallow-bits. Leave the marshmallows out overnight to completely dry.
The next day, pack them into small cellophane treat bags, or into a large container with a tight-fitting lid. They will keep at room temperature, in a sealed container, for several weeks.
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Instant Hot Chocolate Mix Packets
For each single serving packet:
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- enough powdered milk mix to make 1½ cups milk (that will make it extra creamy)*
*Note - we used 3 tablespoons Vance's DariFree original milk substitute. If using instant skim milk powder, follow the directions on the package - the one brand I have recommends 4 tablespoons milk powder to make 1 cup of milk, so I would suggest 4 to 6 tablespoons powder.
Measure the cocoa powder, icing sugar, and powdered milk into a spouted measuring cup. Mix with a fork until combined.
Place a small bag into a cup to hold it upright. Use a funnel to pour the cocoa mix into the bag. Tie with a pretty ribbon.
To use, pour the contents of the bag into a mug. Add boiling water. Stir. Place a beautiful raspberry honey marshmallow heart or two on top. Enjoy.
For easy, kid-friendly recipes, see other ‘Cooking With Kids’ posts here.
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