One of my passions is teaching my young daughters how to choose healthy foods or even crave them. My older daughter is definitely my bigger challenge. She loves sweets! And lucky for her, some sort of sweet is provided to her nearly every day. She has been offered (and usually accepted) cookies/lollipops/candy/mints at more places than I can even count - school (this is a big one!), the grocery store, restaurants, CCD, story time at the book store and even boutique shops! I don't want to be the parent who always says 'NO' but I want my girls to understand that those things should be thought of as a 'sometimes treat'. If I can't control what is going on 'out there' at least I can control what I am doing 'in here'.
We recently went camping and s'mores were a requirement for my daughters. I found a more wholesome option for the chocolate and graham crackers we used to buy, but when it came down to finding better marshmallows, they just didn't exist. I did find vegan marshmallows, but they too had sugar listed as the first ingredient. What to do? Find a recipe without sugar and make them myself!
This recipe uses honey to sweeten the marshmallows. Honey has been found to have more nutrients than white sugar so it is slightly healthier, but it raises the blood sugar and is quite dense in calories so it should still be consumed in moderation. I, personally, prefer honey over sugar because it is less processed and in a more natural state than sugar.
These marshmallows were extremely well received by my two toughest critics - Jordan and Brecken! They melted nicely over the campfire and oozed out of the graham cracker just like they were supposed to! The honey flavor is very predominant, so you can have a lot of fun with different flavors of honey - orange blossom would be amazing!!
DIY (Sugar-Free) Marshmallows
1 cup water
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pour the other 1/2 cup of water into a small saucepan with the honey. Heat the mixture over medium heat until a thermometer registers 230° F - don't stir the mixture! Keep the heat at medium and 'swirl' the pan if necessary. This step could take a few minutes.
With the mixer running on low, very slowly pour the honey/water mixture into the gelatin mixture. Once the mix is incorporated, turn the mixer on high. Whisk on high for several minutes (5-10) until the mixture turns white and fluffy. Do not overmix.
Pour the mixture into an 8x11 pan lined with parchment paper. For thinner marshmallows, use a 9x13 pan. These come out pretty thick and were great for roasting over the campfire! Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Allow the marshmallows to set in a dry place (not the refrigerator) for at least 8 hours before cutting. Cut into squares about 1x1 inches big. A pizza cutter dipped in coconut oil would work well here. Place them on a cutting board and cover with a dry, clean dishtowel overnight so that they dry out a little more. This step allows them to become easier to handle.
I see endless possibilities of the fun we can have with these marshmallows! I'm planning on experimenting with all sorts of flavors of honey...maybe adding some cocoa powder to the honey mixture....maybe some fresh mint leaves around Christmastime.... let your imagination go crazy!
Adapted from An Organic Wife