Healthy marshmallows make the perfect after-school snack, especially when you make them yourself, taking into account your own family’s health needs. They can be made even better when herbs are added. Make your back-to-school snack a nutritious, health-supporting treat, that kids will ask for s’more.
Healthy marshmallows are a sweet treat that is low in calories and can be tailored to the allergy-needs in your family. They are stored at room temperature and don’t require refrigeration. They can be used as the basis for other fancier treats like s’mores, rice crispy squares, fudge, or chocolate bark. They can be dressed up or down depending on the occassion. But while you may be familiar with the dry, cardboardy marshmallows that get their spongy character from chemicals, you may not fully appreciate the differences healthy homemade marshmallows offer for superior taste, texture and herbal goodness.
First of all, healthy homemade marshmallows are plush, chewy, and sweet. Not starchy-tasteless and cardboardy. They contain healthy amounts of collagen supporting gelatin (from grassfed beef), as well as nutritious, mineral rich honey. While the honey is cooked so you loose the enzymes found in raw honey, there is still a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals left after cooking the honey.
These homemade marshmallows are free of genetically modified ingredients, gluten, soy, corn, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts, common allergens that you have to avoid when sending snacks to school.
Made with honey instead of GMO sugar the process is much easier than making sugar-based candies. There’s no fear of premature crystalization when making honey-based marshmallows. You can make a batch in just 30 to 40 minutes, in the evening, and they’ll be ready to pack into lunches the next day.
Economics of making healthy marshmallows
Plus healthy marshmallows are inexpensive to make even when you use quality ingredients. Consider the economics.
1 batch of 36 marshmallows requires:
3 tablespoons of bovine gelatin — about $1.10
1 1/2 cups of raw honey — about $5. (I highly recommend you buy your honey locally though).
Your various herbal and flavoring additions would add to the cost, unless you are growing your own herbs. A recipe makes 36 marshmallows at 17 cents per marshmallow.
A 10 ounce bag of unhealthy commercial marshmallows has 40 marshmallows and costs around $7 or about 17.5 cents per marshmallow. (There are cheaper options through Amazon Prime Grocery.)
All costs are based on Amazon prices.
I did that math to show you that it’s not more expensive to make healthier, homemade marshmallows. Once you get over the idea of pouring 1 1/2 cups of quality raw honey into a pan and turning it into candy, you’ll be amazed at how much better these homemade marshmallows taste, and what a plushy texture they have.
And if you are using herbs in them, the flavor is even better after a couple of days in their air tight container. And then there are the health benefits. Keep reading.
But here’s why I’m in love with homemade marshmallows!
Marshmallows loan themselves to herbal additions in so many ways.
- The liquid that the honey is cooked with can be herbal tea or an herbal decoction. Consider herbal teas like hibiscus, lavender, or lemon balm to calm jittery nerves or increase nutrition. Then there’s peppermint to decrease stomach upset and encourage healthy digestion.
- The liquid that the gelatin is softened in can be an herbal tea, an herbal decoction, or an herbal hydrosol
- The flavoring added during the whipping process can be an herbal tincture, an herbal hydrosol, homemade cordial, or even an edible organic essential oil (go easy with drops instead of teaspoons).
- Additional powdered herbs can be added during the whipping process. Herbs such as ginger, or cardamom to aid digestion, or relieve pain work well here.
- Additional powdered herbs can be sprinkled on tops and sides of the marshmallows to increase digestibility or add nutrition. Think of herbs such as rose hips for vitamin C, hawthorn berries, bilberries, for added antioxidants, or cinnamon to aid digestion.
- You could even use marshmallow herb in your healthy marshmallows for its soothing, anti-inflammatory qualities. (Use cold water to extract the mucilage and then use that marshmallow water to bloom the gelatin.)
Make them even more special!
Marshmallows are pretty special snacks as is, but they can be made even more amazing by the way you package the candy.
- Pipe the fondant onto sucker sticks and dip in dark chocolate for chocolate covered marshmallow treats that we usually reserve for special holidays.
- Dip the square marshmallows in chocolate.
- Roll the moist marshmallows in toasted coconut. candied flower petals, or herbed sugar.
- Cut the off-cuts into mini-marshmallows and add them to rocky road ice cream, chocolate bark, or s’mores squares.
- Turn mini marshmallows into hot chocolate mix that’s perfect for winter gifting.
No refrigeration needed
Healthy, homemade, herbal marshmallows are an alternative to cookies, cakes, and squares for lunch boxes, school parties, and the snack jar. You can make a batch in about 30 to 45 minutes. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Homemade marshmallows last for 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature.
They are a good make ahead snack. Don’t let the process intimidate you. It’s very easy and almost fool proof. Give healthy, homemade marshmallows a chance to make your back-to-school season easier.