Want to have a SINGLE kitchen skill under your belt that is guaranteed to inspire delight and awe in your friends?
Learn how to make homemade marshmallows.
Then, you can take it a step further and assemble these paleo s'mores bars. That's how you REALLY blow someone's socks off.
Are homemade marshmallows hard to make?
Okay, pause with me a moment.
If you've never made homemade candy before, you likely have the preconceived notion that this is going to be really complicated.
Look at the recipe, and you might think "aw hell no."
But I want to assure you that it's really not that hard. Can you read a thermometer? Can you turn on a stand or hand mixer and spare a few minutes to keep an eye on the bowl?
If you answered "yes" to those questions, you can definitely make homemade marshmallows.
Here's how to do it.
How to make homemade marshmallows
Marshmallows are all about gelatin and syrup. The first step is to let the gelatin "bloom" — that just means sprinkling it into water and letting that gelatin do it's thang and expand.
Meanwhile, you begin heating up the sweetener (maple syrup and honey), until you reach the perfect temperature.
Which brings up one caveat to the recipe that holds a lot of people back from ever making candy at home.
You NEED a candy thermometer for this recipe.
This is the one I have, but if I were to replace it, I'd get a thermometer with a clip like this so I wouldn't have to creatively suspend my thermometer in the pot each time.
Heating the syrup to the correct temperature is vitally important to the recipe, so you can't simply guess the way most of us do with other temperature-based kitchen activities. (When was the last time you took the temp of your chicken before digging in?)
But once you invest the $15 in a candy thermometer, you're good to go.
Once the syrup reaches the right temperature, you pour it into the bloomed gelatin, turn on the mixer, and watch as magic slowly happens.
The first time I made homemade marshmallows, I thought I completely screwed it up. How does a dark syrup become pillowy, snow-colored clouds of sweetness?
Well, it happens. Science, my friend! This magic trick beats the cliche baking-soda-and-vinegar-volcano thing anyday.
How to make the most epic s'mores bars
I call these "s'mores bars" because, as you can probably tell from the photos, these aren't your traditional s'mores.
We gave these to our loved ones for Christmas, so I skipped toasting them and fixed the marshmallows to the graham crackers using melted chocolate.
Even if I wanted to toast the marshmallows, I'd be hard-pressed to accomplish that in the middle of winter, in my apartment, with no blowtorch in my kitchen.
To make sure the graham crackers and homemade marshmallows had enough time to set, make both of them the night before assembling the bars (with a caveat, as I'll get to below).
To make the bars, cut the gluten free graham crackers into squares and cut the marshmallows into roughly the same size. Dip one end of the marshmallow in melted chocolate and press it onto a cracker. Then, brush another graham cracker with melted chocolate and place it on top.
Obviously, the whole process takes a bit of time because you're making each "bar" individually.
So, I've dreamed up an alternative. But I haven't tried it yet, so test it out at your own risk! If I wasn't gifting these out, I'd split the graham crackers in half before baking and make each sheet the size of my 9x9 square baking pan. Once baked and cooked, lay one sheet on the bottom of the square baking pan. Melt half the chocolate and pour onto the graham crackers. Make the homemade marshmallows and pour into the same baking pan. Let the marshmallows set, then pour the remaining melted chocolate overtop and top it all off with the second graham cracker sheet.
I'm looking forward to finding out if that works!
In the meantime, though, let's dig in to homemade marshmallows and individual s'mores bars.Print
Paleo S'Mores Bars with Homemade Marshmallows
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: ~16 bars
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
Graham crackers, homemade marshmallows, and chocolate — need I say more? And these s'mores bars are paleo and gluten free!
For the Homemade Marshmallows
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder, divided, for dusting
- 1 cup water, divided
- 2 ½ tablespoons Vital Proteins gelatin
- ½ cup raw honey
- ¾ cup real maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Graham Crackers
- 1 batch paleo graham crackers recipe
For the Melted Chocolate
To Make the Homemade Marshmallows
- Prep a 9x9 square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder on the bottom of the parchment paper in an even layer. Don't skip this — the marshmallows will stick to parchment paper and won't release uniformly without arrowroot on the bottom.
- Pour ½ cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin overtop and set aside to allow the gelatin to bloom.
- In a large pot or saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup water, honey, maple syrup, and sea salt. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot with the tip of the thermometer immersed in the liquid but not touching the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the temperature on the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F. This takes about 10 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on the pot, as the syrup tends to foam and bubble up.
- As soon as the thermometer reads 240 degrees F, remove the pot from heat. Turn the stand mixer on low and carefully pour the syrup into the bowl. Avoid pouring directly onto the beaters, as that will cause splatters. Once you pour the syrup in, turn the mixer up to high speed. Beat for 5-7 minutes as the mixture increases in volume and lightens in color. You'll know the marshmallow cream is ready when you stop the mixer, lift up the beaters, and the marshmallow slowly drips from the beaters and gradually melts back into the marshmallow in the bowl. Add the vanilla extract, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat until just combined.
- Working quickly, pour the marshmallow cream into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out the top of the marshmallows. Let set at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to cut, sprinkle the top with remaining arrowroot powder before slicing into cubes. Toss in the excess arrowroot flour to prevent sticking.
To Make the S'Mores Bars
- If you haven't already done so, break the graham crackers into squares. Cut the prepared marshmallows into similarly-sized cubes.
- Melt the chocolate chips. Either microwave them in a heat-safe bowl in 10 second increments, stirring before microwaving again. Or melt them using a double boiler, with water in the bottom pot and chocolate chips in the top pot, simmering until the chocolate chips have completely melted.
- Dip each marshmallow in melted chocolate, then press onto a graham cracker. Brush additional melted chocolate on a second graham cracker and place on top of the marshmallow. Repeat with all marshmallows. Set aside to let the chocolate cool and harden. Can be stored up to a week in a sealed container.
Keywords: s'mores bars, homemade marshmallows
Mmmmm these look really good! Even though I would say this is more of a recipe that focuses on the marshmallows rather than the s'mores altogether.
nicole (thespicetrain.com) says
These bars look epic indeed, I love the perfect square shape of the marshmallows you cut, so much more sophisticated than the banged up little cylinders that come out of the bag from the grocery store. The flavors sound delightful too, love the hefty amount of maple syrup in there! Thanks for sharing, Chelsea. 🙂