All Natural Homemade Marshmallow Chicks (honey sweetened)

We have recently been talking about raising children in our current food culture of junk food (part one and part two). One of the things that I have really enjoyed doing is making my daughter special treats homemade. It helps bridge the gap between her diet and her playmates. I first made marshmallows for a campout when I knew all of her friends were going to have roasted marshmallows. Hers were much tastier, and while there was still that element of having “different” food, in the end, people kept trying to take her marshmallows!

With that in mind, I share how to make homemade marshmallow chicks with you today. They are quite sweet, so still a special treat. We had a fun time making these (and eating them!)

When I was growing up, one annual Easter treat was the marshmallow chick, or Peeps. My mother would buy a package or two and they looked so inviting sitting pretty in their package. Somehow, however, they were always the last Easter treats to be eaten. Most of the time, they had a kind of stale taste and they just weren’t all that inviting after the first bite.
These homemade marshmallow chicks may not be quite as factory perfect, but they are quite delicious! Plus, they use very natural ingredients. Sweetened entirely with honey, there is no sugar or corn syrup in the recipe! (It will be completely sugar-free if you don’t use any sprinkles on the outside.)
While making homemade marshmallow may seem scary, this recipe is quite easy to make! My only caution is to be very careful with the hot honey syrup, especially if you have children around. Whenever I make a syrup like this, I make sure the kids aren’t in the kitchen as it could cause severe burns. But with proper caution (now that I’ve scared you!), this really is an easy recipe to literally “whip” together.
There are a few ways that you can make shapes with this recipe. The one that I like is cutting out the cooled marshmallows with cookie cutters. However, Martha Stewart, the source of all kitchen wisdom, has directions here explaining how to pipe chicks that look a lot like Peeps. I haven’t tried it yet, though I understand from other bloggers that it is not easy to do. You have to work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t set up. Another idea is to scoop the marshmallow fluff into molds (chocolate molds, or specialty muffin pans). You could even chocolate cover the marshmallows for an extra special treat.

I’ve been making homemade marshmallows for a while, and I’ve found that when using a hand-held electric mixer, you don’t get the same amount of fluff in your marshmallows. This means that you will need a smaller pan to scoop it into. However, when you use something like a Kitchenaid mixer, you end up with super fluffy marshmallows, which will require a larger pan. Just something to keep in mind. Both turn out quite well in taste and texture.
If you want to have colored chicks (or whatever other animal/shape you want to use), you have a couple of options. You can sprinkle the outside with colored decorating sugar. I used India Tree’s Sunflower Yellow which is tinted with curcumin for color. You could also buy (the very expensive) India Tree natural food dyes and tint the actual marshmallows which would be very pretty. Or, you could just leave them plain white. It’s especially cute to have a white bunny marshmallow.
Homemade Marshmallow Chicks
Ingredients
1 cup of water, split into 2 half cups
3 tablespoons of gelatin
1 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Directions
1. Cover with parchment paper a 9 by 13 inch pan, or jelly roll pan (if not using a stand mixer, you will probably only need a 9 by 9 inch pan). Then grease the parchment paper.
2. Put 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer with attached whisk), and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften.
3. In a small pot, place the honey, salt and the other 1/2 cup of water. Heat on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by carefully dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the soft candy stage — which will form little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature.) Remove from the heat as soon as it reaches the right temperature.
4. With the mixer on low, very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl. Once it’s all combined, add the vanilla and increase speed slowly to high. Beat for 7-15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy and holds its shape when you lift the beaters out of the mixture. (It will look like marshmallow fluff.) Scrape into the prepared pan. I think it works best if the mixture is about 1/2 inch thick. How much the mixture fluffs up will make a difference in how thick the mixture is and how big of a pan you need to use. Adjust pan size at will. To help in getting a somewhat flat surface, I like to take another piece of parchment paper and grease. Put greased side down on marshmallows, and then press down to even out with your hands or use a small rolling pin. If you use your hands at all, make sure they are well oiled/greased otherwise they will instantly stick to the mixture (believe me, I know!).
5. Leave uncovered for 4-12 hours to dry. I found that after a few hours, it was dry enough to cut, but still sticky enough to roll in decorating sugar. Use greased cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Roll in sugar immediately. If desired, make a mixture of cocoa powder and water to make eyes. Dab on with toothpick or chopstick. Keep covered in an airtight container for up to one week.
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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. Rachel says

    These look like so much fun. Can’t wait to try them with my daughter. I see vanilla listed in the directions, but not under ingredients. How much do you add? Thanks!

  2. Crunchy4Life says

    Ok just a little typo, I was wondering about the vanilla when I read the recipe. I can’t wait to do this this weekend when my sister & mom come!

    • KimiHarris says

      Mommy brain, I guess. It would be a little strange to call for one cup of honey plus one teaspoon. LOL ;-)

      • Crunchy4Life says

        Can’t believe hong its taking to get to temp! Feel like I’ve been at it for an hour ok maybe 30 mins…

        • Crunchy4Life says

          Your mind 1st tells you…NO! Its 10:30pm don’t lick the beaters! Then you remember it’s HONEY! =) shew…relieved

  3. Sherry Lochner says

    How much vanilla goes in? I saw in instructions to add vanilla, but it doesn’t say how much in ingredients. Thank you! :)

  4. Rebecca says

    Kimi, you are my hero. Now I will be making those chocolate covered eggs AND homemade peeps for my kiddos’ Easter baskets! Thanks for the awesome alternatives. They don’t quite buy it anymore when I put dried cherries in those little plastic eggs. :)

    • Diana says

      Hahaha Rebecca, that’s hilarious! My wee man is only 22 months, so I might see if I can fool him with dried cherries :)

      It reminds me of the year (pre traditional eating) my husband answered the door for halloween (not a big event here in New Zealand) and we had forgotten to get lollies (sweets) so he gave them some raisins and told them it was natures candy. He got such filthy looks he ended up giving out $1 coins after that :)

      Just had visitors leave a bag of conventional easter eggs to say thanks and I ended up unwrapping them all and throwing them in the bin so that no one (me!) would be tempted to eat them. This easter I’ve made up wee easter moulds with Kimi’s chocolate fudge mixture – yum! Next year we’ll have marshmallows too, woohoo.

      Thanks for the laugh :)

  5. Leigh says

    Oh my goodness. This looks super great and easy… this is one thing I haven’t made yet. I gave up on marshmellows when we stopped eating corn, corn syrup, etc… but We NEED to do this… Thank you!!!

    • KimiHarris says

      I have had this gelatin in a mason jar for a while, it was one of the all-beef brands (perhaps Frontier?)

  6. Melissa K. says

    Hi, I just want to check…do you really mean 3 TABLESPOONS of gelatin? Usually it is about 1 tsp to gel 1 cup of water…

    Thank you!

  7. says

    Thank you so very much! Homemade marshmallows were our last hold-out when it came to HFCS. NO matter how I pleaded my husband did not want to give up “peeps” or homemade marshmallows! Now we don’t have to!! So once again thank you!

    • says

      I would like to know the same! And also, would these work as mallow pops (like cake pops on a stick)? or would they slide down because they are so fluffy?

  8. Marla says

    I am curious to know if these can be roasted? I’ve made a similar recipe before (uses sugar instead of honey though) and when I roast them, they simply liquify. Thanks!

    • KimiHarris says

      Marla,

      I think that if you were to bring the honey mixture to a higher temperature (more like 250) the marshmallows would hold together a little better. I found that you can just toast the outside before they liquify. But they will liquify if you leave them in the fire any longer. :-)

      • nancy says

        Try freezing them on the sticks/skewers first, then roasting them. An old Girl Scout trick! Not sure how that would work with these, but worth a try anyway.

  9. Karen says

    Could the marshmallows be used in melting for making puffed rice treats (rice crispy treats) ? I found a neat way of making hollow rice crispy treat eggs with the option of putting some candy in them, I didn’t want to use regular store marshmallows, I make my own butter and have organic puffed rice.

  10. cirelo says

    So I just spent the last hour making these. Things were going really well until it came to spreading it in the pan part and then I got really frustrated and then things kinda devolved into me sitting on the floor ravenously eating marshmallow off my hands.

    • KimiHarris says

      Oh my goodness! I can actually relate. I ended up with marshmallow all over my hands (and face) one time. ;-) I added some hopefully helpful hints in the post to help with getting the mixture smooth in a pan. :-)

  11. says

    I’ve wanted to try marshmallows for awhile, but always hesitated due to the corn syrup. I wonder if a tiny pinch of turmeric would affect the taste? They would make them a stunning yellow.

  12. says

    Kimi,
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I have been trying to find a “sugar free” marshmallow recipe for a couple years. I am so glad I found yours! They are drying in the pan as I type! I can’t wait to try making rice krispies treats with them! I have been having an infatuation with Butter Vanilla emulsion so I subbed that in. I think I may need to try almond extract next time. I put a copy of the recipe on my website, giving you credit of course. Thank you again!
    Julie

  13. says

    I’m running a liveaboard diving operator in Indonesia, and i’m going to make marshmallow for our barbeque night on the beach. but gelatin is not very common here, so we use agar-agar (made from see weed) to make jello. do you think i could substitute gelatin for agar-agar? btw, thanks for your recipes!

  14. Lyndsey says

    I’d like to make these for Easter but I’m wondering how far ahead of time I can safely make them. Last time I made home made marshmallows they quickly became a bit moist on the outside.

  15. Bev says

    I made these last night and rolled them in freshly powdered raw sugar to keep them from globbing up together. Put them in a container and went to bed with dreams of mailing them off as gifts, and this morning they were all slimy — I’m guessing the sugar drew out the liquid. Is there any saving them? How could I dry them out again? Also, would they have gotten slimy anyway potentially? Thanks for any advice – these were great fun to make!

  16. Jayda says

    Quick question: I made these and they are not fluffing up– as I’m mixing them for a looong time, its just staying in a creamy consistency. How come its not working? I used Azure’s powdered beef gelatin… Does the brand have something to do with it? Maybe I should have boiled it longer… I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I timed it instead.

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