I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate Marshmallows

About 1-3/4 pounds


I'll bet you didn't realize you could make marshmallows at home, but it's quite possible. They are tender and delicate and they actually taste fresh; they're still sweet, but the sweetness is tempered by the unsweetened cocoa powder in the recipe. Make sure to use unsweetened, Dutch process cocoa powder, by the way—I haven't tried regular unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe, so I don't know if it works. It's also fun to see the marshmallows come into being, since you start with a hot, dark-colored liquid and end up with a room temperature, lightly chocolate candy. These are especially appreciated by children, though perhaps not the best candy for kids to help make.

You'll need a powerful stand mixer, preferably with a whisk beater attachment. You'll also need a candy thermometer and a pastry brush. Do not attempt to make these on a humid day, and remember the marshmallows must stand uncovered at room temperature for at least 7 hours before being cut. Fresh marshmallows are not good "keepers". I store them airtight for only a couple of days at room temperature; they are edible for a few days longer, but I find that they lose their tenderness and delicacy. You'll want to re-roll them in more Coating before serving if they stand for longer than overnight. Do not store marshmallows in the refrigerator or freeze them.


1-1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. cold water, divided
1/3 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
Pinch salt
2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. cornstarch


Prepare a 13 by 9 inch pan at least 1-1/2 inches high by lining the entire inside of the pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up (I use heavy-duty foil, which tears less easily than regular weight). Fold any overhang back against the outer edges of the pan. Smooth out as many creases as possible. Lightly grease the foil with vegetable shortening. Set prepared pan aside.

Bring 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water (reserve remainder) to a boil in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Meanwhile, place cocoa powder in small bowl. Pour boiling water over cocoa. Whisk briskly to dissolve cocoa. Cool until warm, whisking occasionally and scraping sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula.

Meanwhile, pour gelatin into another 1/2 cup cold water (reserve remainder) in small bowl or one-cup liquid measure. Allow to stand at least 5 minutes to soften. While gelatin softens, combine remaining 1/2 cup cold water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in 1-1/2 to 2 quart non-aluminum pot with tight-fitting lid.

Dissolve gelatin by placing bowl or one-cup measure in hot water over low heat (water should be no more than half as deep as your container). Stir often with a small metal spoon. At first, gelatin mixture will be very stiff, but it will melt to a liquid fairly quickly. Remove from hot water; dry container bottom and sides thoroughly (even if you can still see gelatin crystals on the spoon, remove the mixture from the hot water as soon as it has liquefied—you don't want to overheat it). Allow to stand at room temperature about 3 minutes, then scrape into large bowl of electric mixer. Add cocoa mixture, which should still be warm (not hot!). Beat at a low speed until the two are combined. Set aside near stovetop.

Place saucepan with sugar-corn syrup mixture over low heat. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Once or twice during heating, wash down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in hot water (squeeze as much water as possible out of the brush before washing down the pan sides). When sugar is dissolved, increase heat to medium-high; bring syrup to a boil. Cover tightly and boil 3 minutes to dissolve any remaining sugar crystals. Uncover and boil to 240 degrees F. without stirring. While syrup cooks, beat cocoa-gelatin mixture at low speed once or twice to keep it from setting, and scrape bowl bottom and sides occasionally.

When syrup reaches 240 degrees F, remove from heat. Wait till the bubbling stops. Add a very small quantity of syrup to the cocoa-gelatin mixture, then beat at a low speed to incorporate the syrup. Continue to add the hot syrup gradually (very gradually at first). Stop the mixer before each addition, then beat at a low speed until the addition is incorporated. Scrape down the mixing bowl and beater(s) with a heat-resistant rubber spatula about halfway through adding the syrup. Cocoa-gelatin mixture will become hot and very liquid.

When all syrup has been added, scrape down bowl and beater(s) once more. Begin beating at medium speed (speed 4 on my KitchenAid). As mixture cools, it will thicken and increase in volume. Gradually increase speed to high (speed 10 on my KitchenAid).

Beat the marshmallow mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes, adding vanilla during the last couple of minutes of beating. Stop the mixer once about halfway through to scrape down the bowl and beater(s). The marshmallow mixture will be warm, thick, and shiny, and will resemble whipped marshmallow. The mixture may still flow from the beater when it is raised, but the flow will be very slow and very thick, and it will not dissolve entirely back into the bowl of marshmallow. The texture will be light and fluffy, and the color will be a light chocolate. Remove from mixer and scrape into prepared pan, quickly spreading level with rubber spatula; the mixture will be about 3/4 to 1 inch high.

Allow marshmallow mixture to stand uncovered at room temperature for about 7 to 10 hours before cutting. Anytime during this standing period (or just before you'll use it), make the Coating by processing the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a food processor fitted with a steel blade for several 10 second "bursts" until mixture is well-blended. (Alternatively, sift ingredients together several times, then blend well with a spoon until mixture is an even color). If made in advance, let stand at room temperature, covered airtight.

Check to see if your marshmallows are set before cutting them. To do so, touch the top of the mixture very lightly with a finger. If it is only slightly tacky or not sticky/tacky at all, your marshmallows can be cut. To do so, sift a generous amount of the Coating directly onto the surface of the marshmallows. With your fingertips, gently spread Coating so entire surface is covered. Place a piece of wax paper (larger than 13 by 9 inches) on a cutting board. Invert the cutting board with the wax paper on it over the top of your pan, so that the marshmallows will be turned out onto the wax paper. Grasp the cutting board and the pan with both hands and invert. Gently remove pan, then carefully and gently peel back foil from sides and bottom of marshmallows. Sift a generous amount of the Coating all over the top of the uncut marshmallows.

Use a large, very sharp, straight-edged knife to cut the marshmallows. Grease the blade lightly with vegetable shortening, then cover both sides of blade with the Coating (after this, just keep both blade sides well-covered with Coating). Cut marshmallows into squares (you can use a ruler if you like), but I usually just make mine into strips about 1-1/4 inches wide. Keep covering both sides of the knife blade with Coating between cuts! After the panful is cut into strips, roll each strip in more Coating, then cut strips into individual marshmallows about 1-1/4 inches square (you can vary the size to suit your liking, of course). Make sure each individual marsmallow is thoroughly rolled in the Coating on all sides. Store in an airtight container. If marshmallows stand for more than about a day before they're eaten, re-roll each in Coating before serving, dusting off any extra Coating.


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This page created April 2000