Sweeten Your Day With the History of Making Traditional and Vegan Marshmallows - Cape Crystal Brands

Sweeten Your Day With the History of Making Traditional and Vegan Marshmallows


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If you have a sweet tooth, then marshmallows are undoubtedly high on your list of confectionary favorites. From the fluffy texture to the delightful sweetness, marshmallows have been captivating people's taste buds for generations. And now, with the rise of veganism, there are more options than ever before to enjoy this timeless treat.

In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the world of marshmallows, exploring their history, the art of making both traditional and vegan varieties, and the myriad of delicious marshmallow recipes that you can enjoy. Whether you're a fan of classic marshmallows or looking to try something new, this article has something for everyone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Marshmallows have been a beloved treat for generations, and their history is a fascinating journey worth exploring.
  • Making traditional marshmallows at home is easier than you might think, and the results are truly delicious.
  • Vegan marshmallows are gaining popularity among plant-based eaters, and there are many tasty recipes to try.
  • There is no shortage of creative marshmallow flavors and variations to explore, from classic chocolate to exotic flavors.
  • Marshmallows are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dessert recipes, from cakes to cookies to pie fillings.

The Origins of Marshmallow Delights

Marshmallows have been loved for centuries and have a rich history that dates back to ancient Egypt, where the sap from the marshmallow plant was used to make a treat reserved only for the pharaohs. The marshmallow plant, also known as Althaea officinalis, is a flowering plant in the mallow family that grows in wet, marshy environments. The treat was considered a delicacy and was used as a medicine to soothe sore throats and coughs. During the 19th century, the French confectioner, Alex Doumak, invented the modern marshmallow. His method involved whipping the marshmallow syrup and incorporating air to create a lighter, fluffier treat.

The marshmallow has come a long way from its humble beginnings, evolving over time to become the beloved treat we know and enjoy today. From classic s'mores around a campfire to gourmet marshmallows infused with unique flavors and creative presentations, the marshmallow is a versatile confection that continues to capture the hearts and taste buds of people across the world.

Crafting Traditional Marshmallows at Home

Marshmallows are a beloved treat that can be enjoyed on their own or used to add a sweet touch to a variety of desserts. Making traditional marshmallows at home is easier than you might think. With some basic ingredients and a little practice, you can create fluffy and delicious marshmallows that are sure to impress.


Ingredients Quantity
Cornstarch 1/2 cup, divided
Confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup, divided
Granulated sugar 3/4 cup
Water 1/2 cup
Light corn syrup 1/4 cup
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Egg whites 2 large
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon


Note: You will also need a candy thermometer and a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for this recipe.


  1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar in a small bowl and dust the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240¬įF on a candy thermometer, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually pour in the hot sugar syrup, beating on high speed until the mixture is thick and glossy and has doubled in volume, about 8-10 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Dust the surface with the remaining cornstarch and confectioners' sugar mixture, then let the marshmallows sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. After the marshmallows have set, loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the marshmallows to a cutting board. Cut into desired shapes and dust with additional cornstarch and confectioners' sugar mixture as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Note: Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients Quantity
Unflavored gelatin (each package usually Contains about 2 1/2 teaspoons) 3 Packages
Cool water 1 cup, divided
Granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups
Light corn syrup 1 cup
Kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon
Powdered sugar, for dusting 1/2 cup



  1. Gelatin Prep: In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cool water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

  2. Sugar Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat, cover, and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240¬įF (about 7 to 8 minutes). Once the mixture reaches this temperature, remove it immediately from the heat.

  3. Mixing: Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you've added all the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

  4. Shaping: While the mixture is whipping, lightly dust an 8x8-inch (or 9x13-inch for thinner marshmallows) baking pan with powdered sugar. Pour the thick marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula to spread it out evenly. Dust the top with additional powdered sugar and allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

  5. Cutting: Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut them into squares using a pizza wheel or sharp knife that's been dusted with powdered sugar. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with additional powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking.

  6. Storage: Store the marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

You can also add other flavors, colorants, or mix-ins like cocoa powder, peppermint extract, or dried fruits to customize your marshmallows.

Exploring Gourmet Marshmallows

Marshmallows have come a long way since their invention, and today, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. Among them, gourmet marshmallows have captured the hearts of many with their fluffy texture and unique taste.

Gourmet marshmallows are not your ordinary marshmallows. They come in a range of flavors, from classic vanilla to exotic matcha tea. They are often made with high-quality ingredients and are handcrafted in small batches, giving them a distinct taste and appearance.

Fluffy and Delicious

One of the defining features of gourmet marshmallows is their fluffy texture. Unlike traditional marshmallows, which can be quite dense and chewy, gourmet marshmallows are light and airy, making them ideal for snacking or topping desserts.

One reason for the fluffy texture is the use of high-quality ingredients such as organic cane sugar and natural flavorings. Another reason is the laborious process of beating the marshmallow mixture for an extended period, giving it time to aerate and expand.

A Feast for the Senses

Gourmet marshmallows are not just delicious, but also visually appealing. They often come in vibrant colors and unique shapes, making them an excellent gift or party favor.

Some gourmet marshmallows are even coated with toppings such as chocolate, nuts, or sprinkles, adding another layer of texture and flavor.

The Rise of Gourmet Marshmallows

Gourmet marshmallows have gained popularity in recent years, with specialty shops and online retailers offering a wide range of flavors and designs. They are even making appearances in high-end restaurants and gourmet food markets.

One reason for their popularity is the growing demand for artisanal and locally sourced products. Gourmet marshmallows are often made by small-batch producers, using natural and organic ingredients to appeal to health-conscious consumers.


With their fluffy texture, unique flavors, and eye-catching designs, gourmet marshmallows are a delightful treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. Whether you enjoy them on their own or as a topping for your favorite dessert, gourmet marshmallows are sure to satisfy.

Vegan Marshmallows: A Plant-Based Twist

Marshmallows have been a beloved treat for generations, but with the rise of plant-based diets, many are seeking a vegan alternative. Luckily, making vegan marshmallows is easier than you might think. With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a batch of delicious, fluffy marshmallows without using any animal products.

Here is a simple vegan marshmallow recipe to try at home: 

 Ingredients Quantity
Aquafaba (The liquid from a can of chickpeas) 1 cup
Granulated Sugar 1 cup
Agar agar powder 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Cornstarch 1/2 cup
Powdered Sugar 1/2 cup



  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the aquafaba until stiff peaks form.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, agar powder, and 1/2 cup of water. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the vanilla extract to the sugar mixture and stir well.
  6. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the aquafaba, beating until well combined and fluffy.
  7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Allow to set for at least 2 hours.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and powdered sugar.
  9. Use a sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares, then coat each square in the cornstarch mixture.
  10. Store the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

In addition to using aquafaba, a popular substitute for egg whites, vegan marshmallows often use agar powder, a plant-based thickener. Agar powder can be found at most health food stores or online.

Whether you're vegan or simply looking to try something new, making your own marshmallows is a fun and rewarding experience. With this vegan marshmallow recipe, you can enjoy the fluffy, sweet goodness of marshmallows without any animal products.

Marshmallow Flavors and Variations

Marshmallows are a versatile treat beloved for their fluffy texture and sweet taste. Over the years, marshmallow flavors and variations have evolved, offering a wide range of options to suit different taste preferences.


There are many classic and popular marshmallow flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. In recent years, unique flavors have emerged, such as salted caramel, toasted coconut, and key lime pie. Some artisanal marshmallow makers offer seasonal and limited-edition flavors, making the experience of trying different marshmallow flavors a fun and exciting adventure.


Marshmallows can also be made in different shapes and sizes. From traditional cube-shaped marshmallows to heart-shaped and star-shaped marshmallows, there are many variations to choose from. Some marshmallow makers also offer filled marshmallows, where flavors such as Nutella, peanut butter, or raspberry jam are added to the center of the marshmallow. Chocolate-covered marshmallows are another popular variation, offering a decadent twist on the classic treat.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own marshmallow flavors and variations at home. Add fruit puree or spices to the marshmallow mixture, or experiment with different shapes and sizes for a unique twist on this beloved treat. With so many marshmallow flavor and variation options available, there's something to satisfy every sweet tooth.

Essential Ingredients for Homemade Marshmallows

Making homemade marshmallows may seem daunting, but with the right ingredients and recipe, anyone can achieve a fluffy and delicious treat. Here are the essential ingredients required for making homemade marshmallows:

Ingredients Amount Purpose
Gelatin 3 tablespoons Acts as a stabilizer and helps create the marshmallow's structure.
Water 1/2 cup Used for dissolving the gelatin and sugar.
Sugar 2 cups Sweetens the marshmallow and provides its signature texture.
Corn syrup 1/2 cup Helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing and maintains the marshmallow's soft texture.
Flavoring As desired Optional but adds extra flavor to the marshmallow. Popular options include vanilla extract or fruit puree.
Powdered sugar As needed Used for dusting the marshmallow and preventing it from sticking.


When making homemade marshmallows, it's important to use high-quality ingredients to achieve the best results. Gelatin can be sourced from animal or plant-based sources depending on whether you want to make traditional or vegan marshmallows.

Follow a detailed recipe and pay close attention to the instructions for maximum accuracy. With some patience and practice, you can create delicious homemade marshmallows that will impress your friends and family.

Delicious Marshmallow Recipes for Dessert Lovers

Marshmallows are a versatile ingredient that can add a touch of sweetness to a wide range of desserts. Whether you're craving something chocolatey, fruity, or creamy, there's a marshmallow recipe out there that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Here are some mouthwatering marshmallow dessert recipes to try:

S'mores Brownies

Everyone loves s'mores, and these brownies take the classic campfire treat to a whole new level. The rich chocolate brownies are topped with gooey marshmallows and a crispy graham cracker crust. These brownies are perfect for sharing with friends and family on a cozy night in.

Ingredients Instructions
1 box brownie mix Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on the box.
1 cup crushed graham crackers Sprinkle crushed graham crackers over the brownie batter.
2 cups mini marshmallows Sprinkle marshmallows over the graham cracker layer.
1 Hershey's chocolate bar Break the chocolate bar into small pieces and sprinkle over the marshmallows.
Bake at 350¬įF for 25-30 minutes Bake the brownies in the oven until the marshmallows are golden brown. Let cool and serve.

Marshmallow Cheesecake

This creamy cheesecake is topped with fluffy marshmallows for a whimsical twist on a classic dessert. The graham cracker crust adds the perfect crunch to balance out the creamy filling.

Ingredients Instructions
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs Mix graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 6 tablespoons melted butter in a bowl, then press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
24 oz cream cheese In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Add 4 beaten eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour mixture into the crust.
2 cups mini marshmallows Sprinkle marshmallows over the cheesecake filling.
Bake at 350¬įF for 35-40 minutes Bake the cheesecake in the oven until the filling is set. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

These popcorn balls are a fun and easy dessert that kids and adults will love. They're perfect for parties or as a sweet snack during movie night.

Ingredients Instructions
12 cups popped popcorn Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
1/4 cup unsalted butter In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
1/4 cup honey Add honey and stir until combined.
1/4 cup granulated sugar Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
2 cups mini marshmallows Add marshmallows and stir until melted and combined. Pour mixture over the popcorn and stir until evenly coated.
Let cool and shape into balls Let the mixture cool slightly, then shape into balls. Let cool completely before serving.

These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marshmallow desserts. The sweet and fluffy nature of marshmallows makes them a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of desserts.

The Art of Marshmallow Decoration

Marshmallows are not just delicious, they can also be a work of art. Creative decoration techniques can take these fluffy treats to a whole new level.

One way to decorate marshmallows is by dipping them in melted chocolate and adding toppings, such as crushed nuts or sprinkles. This creates a beautiful and tasty treat, perfect for any occasion.

Another fun decorating technique is using edible paint to create intricate designs on marshmallows. This is a great activity for kids and adults alike, and the results are always impressive.

Gourmet Marshmallows Decorating Ideas

Gourmet marshmallows offer even more opportunities for decoration. Some popular ideas include:

Decoration Description
Fruit Skewers Thread marshmallows onto skewers with fresh fruit, creating a colorful and healthy treat.
Dipped in Caramel Dip marshmallows in caramel and roll them in crushed cookies or candy for a sweet and decadent dessert.
Roasted Marshmallows Roast marshmallows over a fire, and sandwich them between cookies or graham crackers for a classic and comforting treat.


Whatever your decorating style, marshmallows offer endless possibilities for creativity and fun. Experiment with different techniques and flavors to create your own unique marshmallow masterpiece.

Choosing the Right Marshmallows for Your Taste

Marshmallows come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors. Choosing the right marshmallows to suit your taste can be a tricky affair. However, by considering a few key factors, you can make an informed decision and ensure a satisfying marshmallow experience.


The texture of a marshmallow is one of the most crucial factors to consider when selecting the right marshmallow for your taste. Some people prefer their marshmallows soft and fluffy, while others enjoy a firmer texture. If you like your marshmallows soft and airy, look for those that are labeled "fluffy" or "light." On the other hand, if you prefer a firmer and more substantial texture, try searching for "dense" or "chewy" marshmallows.


Marshmallows are naturally sweet, but the level of sweetness can vary between different brands and flavors. If you have a sweet tooth, you may enjoy marshmallows that are extra sweet. However, if you prefer a more subdued sweetness, look for marshmallows that are labeled "less sweet." You can also try marshmallows that have been infused with other flavors, such as vanilla or chocolate, to add a new dimension to their sweetness.


The quality of marshmallows can vary widely between different brands and types. When selecting marshmallows, consider the ingredients used, the manufacturing process, and the brand's reputation for quality. Make sure to read product reviews and choose marshmallows that are free of artificial colors and preservatives.

Size and Shape

Marshmallows come in different shapes and sizes, such as mini, regular, and jumbo. The shape of the marshmallow can also vary, such as the classic cylindrical shape or fun shapes like stars or hearts. Consider the intended use of the marshmallows when selecting their size and shape. For example, mini marshmallows are perfect for hot cocoa, while jumbo marshmallows are ideal for roasting over an open fire.


Marshmallows come in an array of flavors, ranging from classic vanilla to unique and exotic flavors like lavender and rose. Consider the occasion and the flavors that complement it when selecting marshmallow flavors. For example, chocolate flavored marshmallows are perfect for s'mores, while fruity flavors like raspberry and peach are ideal for summertime treats.

Marshmallows in Popular Culture

Marshmallows have managed to make appearances in various forms of popular culture, whether it’s in movies, TV shows, or commercials. These appearances have helped to increase the popularity of marshmallows and cement their place in American culture.

In the 1984 supernatural comedy "Ghostbusters", one of the most iconic scenes is when the team of ghostbusters use their proton packs to shoot a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that is rampaging through the streets of New York City.


In conclusion, marshmallows have a longstanding history and have evolved from a medicinal treat to a beloved sweet confectionery. They continue to capture the hearts (and taste buds) of people of all ages and dietary preferences. Whether you prefer the classic soft and fluffy texture or the vegan alternative, marshmallows offer a delicious and versatile addition to any dessert. From DIY homemade marshmallows to gourmet flavors and unique presentations, the possibilities are endless.

As we explored in this article, marshmallows are not only a treat but a cultural icon. They have made appearances in popular culture, from films and TV shows to advertisements, showcasing their widespread appeal and versatility. Whether you're mixing them into recipes or simply roasting them over a campfire, marshmallows are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

So the next time you're in the mood for a sweet treat, consider marshmallows as your go-to dessert. With endless variations in flavors and presentations, you're sure to find a marshmallow that suits your taste preferences. After all, who can resist the sweet and fluffy taste of a perfect marshmallow?


What is the history of making traditional marshmallows?

Traditional marshmallows have a long history, dating back to ancient Egypt where they were made using the sap of the marshmallow plant. Over time, the recipe evolved, and marshmallows became a popular sweet treat enjoyed around the world.

How did vegan marshmallows gain popularity?

Vegan marshmallows gained popularity as more people embraced plant-based diets and looked for alternatives to traditional marshmallows made with gelatin. The demand for vegan options increased, leading to the development of recipes and commercially available vegan marshmallows.

Can I make traditional marshmallows at home?

Yes, you can make traditional marshmallows at home. There are many recipes available that provide step-by-step instructions on how to achieve fluffy and delicious marshmallows using simple ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin.

What are gourmet marshmallows?

Gourmet marshmallows are a premium and elevated version of traditional marshmallows. They often come in unique flavors and are crafted with high-quality ingredients. Gourmet marshmallows have gained popularity for their fluffy texture and indulgent taste.

How do I make vegan marshmallows?

Making vegan marshmallows involves using plant-based ingredients as substitutes for gelatin. Common alternatives include agar-agar, aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas), or carrageenan. These ingredients can be combined with sugar, corn syrup, and flavorings to create vegan marshmallows.

What are some popular marshmallow flavors?

Marshmallows come in a wide range of flavors. Some popular variations include chocolate, strawberry, caramel, vanilla, and peppermint. Gourmet marshmallows often offer unique and exotic flavors like lavender, matcha green tea, or salted caramel.

What are the essential ingredients for homemade marshmallows?

The essential ingredients for homemade marshmallows typically include sugar, corn syrup, gelatin (or a vegan substitute), water, and flavorings such as vanilla extract. These ingredients work together to create the desired texture and taste of marshmallows.

Do you have any marshmallow recipes?

Yes, we have a collection of delicious marshmallow recipes that are perfect for dessert lovers. From marshmallow-filled treats to cakes and cookies, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Check out our recipe section for more inspiration!

How can I decorate gourmet marshmallows?

Decorating gourmet marshmallows is a creative process. You can use various techniques such as dipping them in melted chocolate, rolling them in crushed nuts or sprinkles, or drizzling them with caramel or flavored syrups. The possibilities are endless, so let your imagination run wild!

How do I choose the right marshmallows?

When choosing marshmallows, consider your taste preferences. Some people prefer softer, fluffier marshmallows, while others enjoy a denser texture. Additionally, consider the level of sweetness and quality of ingredients. Read reviews and try different brands to find your perfect marshmallow match!

How are marshmallows represented in popular culture?

Marshmallows have made appearances in popular culture, from being roasted over campfires in outdoor movies to featuring in iconic scenes of s'mores being enjoyed around a cozy campfire. They have also been used in TV commercials and as key ingredients in beloved sweet treats in movies and shows.

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See: The Hydrocolloid Glossary

For further reading:Sweet Sensations: Your Ultimate Guide to Gummy Bears 

Chef Edmund

About the Editor

About the Chef Edmund: Chef Edmund is the Founder of Cape Crystal Brands and EnvironMolds. He is the author of several non-fiction ‚ÄúHow-to‚ÄĚ books, past publisher of the ArtMolds Journal Magazine and six cookbooks available for download on this site. He lives and breathes his food blogs as both writer and editor. You can follow him on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Linkedin.

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