For Chocolate Lovers only  

Chocolate Marshmallows

Tips: About five years ago, I developed a recipe for chocolate marshmallows. This is a slightly revised edition. Homemade marshmallows are tender and delicate and taste fresh; they're still sweet, but the sweetness is tempered by the unsweetened cocoa powder in the recipe. Make sure to use unsweetened, alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder; I think nonalkalized cocoa powder, being somewhat more acidic, might be a problem for the “set” here (acidity can weaken gelatin’s ability to set). 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. While these might not be a very kid-friendly project to make, both kids and adults adore them.

You'll need a powerful stand mixer with a whisk beater attachment. You'll also need a candy thermometer, a pastry brush, and a heat-resistant rubber spatula. 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. I store these airtight for up to a week at room temperature, but it’s important to note that they take up their coating very quickly and don’t look particularly appealing after this happens. For this reason, you'll want to re-roll them in more coating just before serving. Do not store marshmallows in the refrigerator or freeze them.

One other note: you cannot make s’mores with these, so please don’t try. I’ve tried over a gas fire, in the microwave, and in the oven, and they melt too quickly and unevenly. They are great in a mug of hot cocoa, however.

Yeild: 48 marshmallows, more or less


  • 1-1/2 cups cold water, divided
  • 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1/4 ounce or 7 grams each)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, preferably superfine (see Notes)
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • Coating:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Prepare a 7 by 11 inch pan at least 1-1/2 inches high (see Notes) 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, but you can use a doubled length of regular-weight foil). 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 1/2 cup 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 the 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). VERY GRADUALLY increase speed to high (speed 10 on my KitchenAid).

IMPORTANT: You MUST increase the speed very gradually, especially initially, when the hot cocoa-gelatin mixture is very liquidy. I increase the speed one notch every minute or so.

Beat the marshmallow mixture for about 10 minutes. As you beat, the mixture will cool and increase somewhat in volume, but it will still be dark in color. After 10 minutes, stop the mixer; scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, as well as the whisk beater, with a rubber spatula. Continue beating at highest speed for about 10 more minutes, adding vanilla during the last couple of minutes of beating. After about 20 minutes of beating, the marshmallow mixture will be 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 slow and thick, and it may or may 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.

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 through a very fine sifter, 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 by touching the top of the mixture very lightly with a fingertip. 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. Invert a cutting board both longer and wider than your pan over the top of your pan, so that the block of uncut marshmallow will be turned out onto the cutting board. 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 marshmallow, starting at an edge and peeling off the foil in strips. 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 block of marshmallow. 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 block of marshmallow into squares or rectangles; you can use a ruler if you’re feeling precise, but I usually just cut 48 marshmallows out of the block. Keep covering both sides of the knife blade with coating between cuts! Make sure each individual marsmallow is thoroughly rolled in the coating on all sides. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. If marshmallows stand for any length of time before they're eaten, re-roll each in coating just before serving, dusting off any extra coating.

I prefer to use superfine granulated sugar because it dissolves so quickly and easily, but regular granulated sugar works here, too.

In a 7 by 11 inch pan, you’ll get marshmallows about an inch high. If you’d like them flatter, about 1/2 inch high, use a 13 by 9 inch pan instead, preparing it as directed above.


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...Published: March 2005