I first spotted these lemon marshmallows on Facebook and begged the creator, Anne Boulley of Artisanne Chocolatier in Bay City Michigan, to share her homemade marshmallow recipe. I’m a texture junky and I just love the idea of fluffy pillows of mouth-tingling, tart goodness. I also can’t resist the idea of DIY marshmallows.
A brief history of marshmallows
Marshmallows may have the most interesting history of all candies. After all, how many modern candies have a history that can be traced back to ancient Egypt?
And how many sugary sweets have aphrodisiac ties?
Marshmallow comes from an aphrodisiac plant
From a scientific standpoint, there’s nothing aphrodisiac about marshmallows the way they are made today. After all, they are essentially candies made with little more than sugar and some gelatin. But once upon a time, marshmallow was made with the aphrodisiac root of a flower called the marsh mallow, also known as the marshmallow plant.
When were marshmallows invented?
We don’t know exactly when marshmallows were invented. According to Mental Floss, the ancient Egyptians were the first to make a sweet and sticky treat out of the root of the marshmallow plant. (Their version was sweetened with another aphrodisiac, honey.)
However, in its earliest days, the marshmallow was thought to be such a powerful healing agent and aphrodisiac that it was reserved for royalty and gods.
The marshmallow the way we know it today wasn’t invented until the mid-1800s. But even then it was still made with the sap of the marshmallow plant, which meant that production was quite limited.
The invention of the modern marshmallow
It is only in modern times that the candy lost its aphrodisiac ingredient. According to the National Confectioners Association, the mallow was replaced with gelatin around the end of the 1800s. This allowed for greater production and wider distribution of the candy.
Who invented the marshmallow we know today?
And it was a manufacturing innovation in 1948 that allows marshmallows to be distributed on a mass scale.
A gentleman named Alex Doumak is credited with streamlining the marshmallow manufacturing process and giving us the gift of the pre-sealed bags of pillowy marshmallows that are a part of every American campfire today.
Why marshmallows are a date night food
But can a marshmallow without marsh mallow sap count as an aphrodisiac? Maybe tearing open a plastic bag of the kind of marshmallows Mr. Doumak designed won’t offer you a leg up in games of love.
But I believe that a really great marshmallows recipe can produce a sexy little sweet capable of stirring some flames of passion. Creamy, whipped, sweet and comforting, there is no doubt that homemade marshmallows touch us straight to the core.
How to make lemon marshmallows
This easy recipe for ethereal lemon marshmallows is really a doctored version of The French Laundry’s tried and true marshmallow recipe. (We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover just how easy making marshmallows can be, once you master a little bit of technique.)
In the French Laundry version, the liquid used is water. But in Anne’s version, instead of water, you mix the gelatin with fresh lemon juice. And then you add in a kiss of zest at the end to make marshmallows with a delightfully surprising zing.
Equipment needed for this homemade marshmallow recipe
You do need one piece of special equipment to make this recipe, a hand mixer or stand mixer. (We prefer a stand mixer for making marshmallows.)
And if you like baking and confection, a good stand mixer is a tool you will use over and over for many years to come. Here is the model I use.
Things to keep in mind when making this flavored marshmallow recipe
Anne cautions that because of the citric acid content, the lemon marshmallows won’t get as fluffy as traditional marshmallows. (But they will have a scintillating citrus freshness).
Customize your marshmallow flavor
You can make this recipe with Meyer lemons in place of the lemon juice if you prefer the slightly milder, sweeter flavor of this gentle citrus.
Also, once you master the recipe, Anne suggests you use the base to make any marshmallow flavor you like. (Use water in place of the lemon juice.)
Think chocolate, espresso, raspberry or mango. Or let your imagination take you wherever you want to go!
Homemade Lemon Marshmallows
- 3 envelopes gelatin 1/4 oz, Knox recommended
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice chilled
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold lemon juice. Soak 10 minutes.
- While it is soaking, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
- Pour the boiling syrup into gelatin and mix, using an electric mixer, at high speed. Add the salt and beat for about 10 - 12 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Incorporate into mixture.
- Wrap a 9x9 inch pan with plastic wrap and coat the wrap with cooking oil. Then lightly oil your hands and a spatula.
- Scrape into the pan and spread evenly. (Don't skip the plastic wrap step or the marshmallow mixture will stick and you'll have a very delicious mess!)
- After pouring marshmallow mixture into pan, take another piece of plastic wrap lightly oiled on the side which you will be placing on top of the marshmallow mixture and lightly press marshmallow mixture till flat and even into the pan.
- Let marshmallows sit up for about 2 hours.
- To remove from pan, dredge whole slab with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Each time you cut or slice you will need to keep using the confectioners’ sugar and dredging each piece so they will not stick to each other and your knife.
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This recipe was originally published in 2014 and most recently updated in June, 2021.
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