Hello fellow last minute gifters! I have your hail mary: marshmallows that taste like winter holidays. They get a piney, smokey flavor from a simple syrup made with peat smoked scotch whiskey and juniper berries. Sound weird? It’s not; they’re perfect for bobbing in winter hot chocolates. You’ll want to find the smokiest scotch your local liquor store has. I love The Peat Monster scotch for this recipe, but just ask for the peatiest, smokiest scotch they have. Can’t find it? Don’t sweat it; use water and have juniper marshmallows. Other than the scotch you’ll just need some gelatin packets from the store along with juniper berries (you can find them in the spice section at Whole Foods), sugar, and clear corn syrup. I originally developed & shot this recipe for a collaboration with KitchenAid, but this is my slightly updated version. Trust me, I’ve been making marshmallows obsessively for years…they were one of the first recipes on this blog! My favorite flavorings back then were Earl Grey Marshmallows laced with Salted Lapsang Souchong Caramel as well as Smokey Oak Marshmallows (another great way to get smokey flavor). You can check out those recipes (along with their horrible photos!) for more mallowspiration. For more DIY gift ideas you can check out our preserved lemons, granola, and balsam fir syrup. Anyways, I had these photos laying around from that shoot a couple of months back, and it seemed like the perfect time to share them for all my fellow procrastinators getting elfy this Christmas eve! It’s all my favorite things: marshmallows, marble, and hints of copper & pink. Merry Christmas!
Juniper + Smoke Marshmallows
- 240 grams (1 cup) smokey scotch
- 18 grams (3 tablespoons) juniper berries, lightly crushed with a mortar & pestle
- 3/4 oz unflavored gelatin powder (3 envelopes of powder)
- 400 grams (2 cups) granulate cane sugar
- 105 grams (2/3 cup) light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I love the vanilla from Shop Ila!)
- nonstick organic vegetable oil spray
- 1 teaspoon smoked salt (or regular will do)
- 4 juniper berries, ground to a powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked maldon salt, crushed to get rid of any big pieces
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Line a 13x9x2 inch pan with parchment paper. Coat lightly with nonstick spray or alternately thoroughly dust it with some of the coating mixture leaving no bare spots (use a sifter or fine mesh sieve).
- Heat the scotch in a saucepan, once warm, use a long match or carefully use a lighter to light it on fire to burn off the alcohol. Or skip this step for boozier mallows. Then bring it to a boil and add the juniper berries. Remove from heat and steep, covered, 15-30 minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the juniper flavor.
- Strain and measure 120 grams (1/2 cup) of the juniper scotch into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until very cold. Measure another 120 grams (1/2 cup) of the mixture into a medium saucepan.
- Once the scotch is chilled, pour it into the bowl of your mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the cold scotch, making sure all of it is wet. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, with the juniper scotch in the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 235ºF, about 8 minutes.
- With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash molten hot syrup all over you).
- Once all the syrup is added, gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is white, fluffy, and very thick, about 15 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract if using and beat about 30 seconds longer. It will be voluminous & white, begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl, and will fall very slowly in a thick ribbon when the whisk is lifted when done.
- Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan with a wet spatula (or coated with the nonstick spray). Work quickly as it gets harder to work with if it sits. And by harder I mean almost impossible. Smooth the top with wet spatula, and let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours or overnight if covered loosely with parchment.
- Once the mallows set, sift juniper powder, salt, corn starch, and powdered sugar together in a bowl. Sift generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13×9 inches. Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off parchment or foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab.
- Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with water or nonstick spray. Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes, keeping knife wet or coated. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture. Store marshmallows in an airtight container. They will keep for about a week or two.