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Pssst: I hear that these little pink heart marshmallows have a crush on homemade hot chocolate. Pssst: I have a really good hot chocolate recipe. Pssst: bring them together this Valentine’s Day!

I just made marshmallows (or “schmish schmells” as we call them in our family) from scratch for the first time and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the process was. They seem intimidating, don’t they? A confection that you don’t ever imagine making yourself, but boy will I have trouble eating one of those cylindrical things out of a bag again. These DO require an overnight waiting period, so if you’re planning a stay-in Valentine’s Day, get going on these the night before and you’ll be set for the big day. I found the recipe these pink heart ones are based on here, and that recipe originally hails from Martha Stewart. I knew she would come into play this Valentine’s Day! Okay, let’s make some schmish schmells…er…marshmallows!

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INGREDIENTS

shortening for greasing
powdered sugar for dusting
2 1/2 tbsp Knox plain gelatin (a little less than 4 packets)
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vanilla
1/8 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp peppermint extract

DIRECTIONS

Okay, before you begin: this recipe makes enough to fit a 9X13 glass dish. I made another batch that was half this size, using an 8X8 glass dish, and halving all the ingredients and it worked perfectly as well. Also, a few variations. Want just plain marshmallows? Omit the food coloring and peppermint extract and use 2 tbsp of vanilla instead of just 1. Want chocolate marshmallows? Again, omit the food coloring and peppermint extract, use 2 tbsp of vanilla instead of just 1 and add 1/3 cup cocoa powder right after the sugar mixture combines with the gelatin mixture on low speed.

1. Grease the 9X13 dish with shortening and dust with powdered sugar the same way you would flour cake pans. You’ll have to move the powdered sugar around more with your hands rather than the hitting-the-sides process as with flour. Set aside.

2. Whisk attachment in place, combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the mixing bowl. This needs to sit for 15 minutes, which is about how long the next part will take, so keep on reading!

3. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. (about a minute)

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4. Turn the heat up to high and stick your candy thermometer in. Now it’s time to sit back and watch. Heat on high until the temperature is between 242 and 248 degrees F. NO STIRRING, just wait and watch it bubble and smell that sugar! It takes about 10-14 minutes if you make the whole batch, a little less if making a half batch. When between 242 and 248, remove from heat.

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5. Back to the mixer, turn speed on to low and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture. Increasing the speed one setting at a time for about 10 seconds each, eventually get to the highest setting on your mixer. It’s wait and watch time again! You’re waiting for the mixture to double-to-triple in size, get a shiny, waxy white color and look really thick. This will take between 10-15 minutes. When it’s done, keep the speed on high and add in the vanilla, red food coloring and peppermint extract. (Um, can I tell you how happy I am that I made these the same shade of pink as my KitchenAid mixer? SO HAPPY).

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6. With a spatula, spread evenly into your prepared pan. (Don’t worry about scraping the bowl clean–it’s near impossible because of the stickiness). Dust with more powdered sugar and use your fingers to spread it around. (I love the soft feel of it!) Leave uncovered for about 8-10 hours, or overnight.

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7. Do-do-do-do-do, and we’re back! Sleep well? Cover a cutting board with powdered sugar and plop out the giant marshmallow onto it. You can loosen the sides with a knife. With a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, dipped into powdered sugar every time if necessary, cut out the heart shapes. Roll the sides in the powdered sugar so there are no sticky parts left. If you just want to make square marshmallows, dip the knife in powdered sugar and cut to desirable size, again rolling the sides in powdered sugar. Done!!! Store in an airtight container, or package them up in cellophane and go woo someone with a sweet tooth.

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A few more pics are here. Happy Valentine’s Day!