Chocolate Covered Cranberry Marshmallows

December 29, 2009

If you asked someone to name a word association with marshmallows elegant probably would not be the word to come to mind. Maybe campfires or s’mores. Or rice crispy treats. Or the chubby bunny game at summer camp (although no longer allowed, I understand, due to safety issues). In most cases marshmallows are pure fun, delicious but not something to take seriously.

These, my friends, are a whole ‘nother kind of marshmallow. Tart cranberry marshmallows enrobed in dark chocolate, these sweets are more at home with a glass of bubbly than dangling on a stick over a fire. As people who read this blog know, I absolutely adore marshmallows. They are one of my favorite things to make. And these are my favorite flavor, at least so far. The chocolate takes them to a different level, but they are quite wonderful plain as well.


Cranberry Marshmallows

It is critical to use real gelatin in making these marshmallows. Kojel or other vegetable based gelling agents will not work. See In the Pantry for more information about Kosher gelatin.

½ cup cold water
½ cup unsweetened cranberry concentrate
3 Tablespoons powdered gelatin
½  cup cold water
1 ¼ cups corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 lb  bittersweet chocolate for coating (optional)

Lightly spray an 11 x 15 jelly roll pan or 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, then rub gently with a paper towel to distribute the spray and leave just the merest sheen of oil on the sheet. Similarly, lightly spray a large offset spatula and set beside the prepared tray.

Combine the first three ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

Combine second quantity of water, corn syrup, salt and sugar in a 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. When mixture boils, brush down the sides of the pan above the upper surface of the syrup with a clean, moistened pastry brush, or cover the pot with a lid for two minutes to allow the condensation to dissolve any lingering crystals.

Place a candy or instant read thermometer into the syrup and continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches 255F. Do not stir the mixture once you remove the lid. Remove pan from heat and carefully stir in gelatin mixture.

Pour mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Quickly cover bowl with loosely draped plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel in order to avoid splatters, and gradually increase the mixer speed to “high”. Whip mixture for 10-12 minutes.

Scrape mixture into prepared pan and spread out smooth with oiled offset spatula. Set marshmallow aside, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 4 hours or over night before cutting.

Before cutting the marshmallows, sift the cornstarch and confectioners sugar together into a medium mixing bowl. Cut marshmallows with a lightly oiled knife or pizza cutter and break into individual pieces. Another good way of cutting the marshmallows is to coat the knife in the cornstarch mixture between every few cuts. Toss the cut marshmallows in the cornstarch mixture to completely coat, shaking off excess as much as possible in a strainer.

If coating the marshmallows with chocolate temper the chocolate after they are cut. Dip each marshmallow into the chocolate with a fork, scrape off the excess chocolate and place on a baking sheet to set.

Store in an airtight container with the lid slightly ajar for up to two weeks.

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  1. Rebecca,
    I use kolatin ( which I order directly from the company. They keep saying it is going to be available retail soon, but I haven't seen it yet.

    Unfortunately agar agar doesn't work the same as gelatin in applications like marshmallows so I don't think it would work. If you try it and it does please let me know.

    Thanks for the comment. I highly recommend making your own marshmallows. It is absolutely worth the effort.

  2. Just letting you know that the the kolatin gelatin is now available in retail stores. However, it's very expensive: the 1/2 ounce package (two packets in the box, each with a couple of teaspoons) cost me $4.59. Looking at this recipe, I see I'd need two boxes to make it, which would make this quite pricey to make; I wonder if a recipe of homemade marshmallows is worth in the $15 range, between the gelatin, corn syrup, and chocolate costs. About how many does this recipe make? Could it easily be halved?

    I might try it and if I really like it, I suppose I could see ordering directly from kolatin, which works out cheaper, though they only gave me the cost of the product, not the shipping cost, so I'm not sure if that even pays. I don't know how much I expected it to cost, but I know that $4.59 for just over a tablespoon seems really high to me.

  3. Hey Shoshy,
    I think I was there the very first time you made cranberry marshmallows!! You were experimenting a few summers ago while I was visiting. I remember you made extra for me to take some friends, but I ate them all because they were so delicious!! Miss you!

  4. queenscook-
    I'm sorry to hear that the retail gelatin is so expensive. The recipe makes quite a few marshmallows (I haven't counted but there are certainly more than 50). It halves easily, I often make a half recipe. The way to make sure they are not too flat is to either use a smaller pan (such as 8 X 8) or only put marshmallow in half the pan and use an oiled cutting board set on end to hold it in place as it sets. (I usually use cans of tomatoes to hold the cutting board in place). They make elegant gifts in small bags, so one batch can make 10+ gifts which ends up being not too expensive overall.
    I hope you like them.

    Glad you liked them, I miss you too!

  5. I finally mustered the courage to make these for a reception in our home, and everyone was “platzing” 🙂 Someone even said they’re better than Barton’s chocolates. The only thing I haven’t mastered yet is properly tempering chocolate. Even with carefuly using the thermometer at every step of the way, my chocolate was all discolored when it dried 🙁

    Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • I’m so glad you liked these, they are one of my favorites. I’m sorry the chocolate didn’t come out perfectly. It is one of the most finicky ingredients to work with. Even perfectly tempered chocolate can develop white streaks if it cools at the wrong speed so that might be what happened. I’m glad they were well received anyway!

      • I’m trying these again, and since i can’t find cranberry juice concentrate locally, I was wondering if I could use a half a cup of regular 100% cranberry juice for the gelatin and then another half cup of the same in the sugar syrup?
        thank you and shanah tovah!

        • The cranberry juice concentrate I use (and recommend) is a concentration of 5:1 which means it is 5 times as strong as regular cranberry juice. If you use regular cranberry juice instead I imagine the cranberry flavor would be much more subtle. Adding it to the sugar syrup will help that some but they still probably won’t have that intense almost tart cranberry flavor. If you do try it please let us know how they turn out!

          If you want to try another great flavor of marshmallow that doesn’t require any special ingredients instead I highly recommend trying my raspberry lemonade marshmallows.

  6. I purchase beef gelatin from a co-op nearby. Do you happen to know if it would work? Thank you. I’m looking forward to making these.

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