Love those little marshmallows in your hot chocolate in the winter? Are there just never enough? Learn how to make your own!
I admit that I buy those envelopes of hot chocolate for the winter. My kids love it, it’s so easy to mix with a bit of milk and be done. I can make my own, but the packets are SO convenient, aren’t they? But there are never enough marshmallows in them for us. Or, on St. Patrick’s Day, there are never enough “charms” for the kids, and they want to add more. During the fall, tons of different flavored marshmallows become available for Christmas baking. But we don’t necessarily use them all during that time and want to be able to enjoy them year-long as treats. So what’s a girl to do?
Yes, yes you can.
We’ve dehydrated them all (except homemade ones – I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon, yet). Big huge ones and little ones. Ones that taste like chocolate and ones that taste like pumpkin. They all have different taste profiles once you’ve dehydrated them – crunchy and a little stronger flavor because it’s been concentrated, but some work better than others. None of us are a fan of the pumpkin variety. It’s just too nutmeggy for our taste.
So, let’s get on with it, shall we?
How to Dehydrate Marshmallows
1. Cut larger marshmallows to smaller sizes: My first suggestion is going to be, to cut your marshmallows down. Sure, the regular sized and the smaller flavored ones will dehydrate just fine, but cutting the bulk means cutting the time it takes to process them. The shaped/flavored variety may not keep their perfect shapes if you do cut them, so be forewarned. When we dehydrate the candy corn or snowman marshmallows, we just plop them on a tray and go for it. However, for the regular marshmallows, we cut them into smaller bits (the small marshmallows we cut in in half, I don’t bother with the larger ones because they are just too cumbersome to bother with, so I don’t dehydrate them).
Left side – whole Right side – cut in half
2. Lay them out on a tray in a single layer. While there are many foods I am not so particular about separating (like mushrooms since they begin to shrivel almost within the hour), I do make sure my marshmallows aren’t touching so that there aren’t spots where they may not have dried well. You can put a ton on the sheet, just make sure they aren’t touching.
3. Dehydrate at 120F for 6-12 hours. It will completely depend on what sizes yours are, what the humidity is like, and what kind of marshmallow you are trying to dehydrate. But it does take some time. The crunchier they are in the end, the better for storage. You can increase the temperature to make them dry a little faster if you’d like. I tend to dry on the cooler side because I’m not cooking the marshmallows, I just want to remove as much moisture as possible.
How Do You Know When They are Done?
When they are completely crunchy. For me, marshmallows don’t change a ton when they are dried as most foods do. They do shrink a tad and get a bit shriveled, but at first glance, it’s not easy to tell. So I let the boys sneak test pieces after about three hours to begin to judge when they are done. When they tell me they are crunchy, I start testing.
How to Oven Dry Marshmallows
As with any dehydrating project in your oven, keeping a low temperature is important because you aren’t trying to cook the food, you’re just trying to remove the moisture. Most will find that leaving their oven door open a crack with it set at the lowest temperature is ideal as long as you are comfortable doing that. Please don’t do it with small children in the house if they wander into the kitchen a lot. Small children can easily grab the oven door and burn their hands if it’s already open.
How to Air Dry Marshmallows
This is a cheat. You can just leave a bag that’s been opened but not sealed completely in your pantry. In about three months, you’ll have rock hard little marshmallows ;) I hate when that happens!
How to Store Dehydrated Marshmallows
Store in airtight containers with an oxygen absorber thrown in, or use a vacuum sealer to seal a jar. You can use a zip-top storage bag (the freezer variety) and double-bag it and remove the excess air with this neat trick, or you can use a mylar bag for long-term storage. I keep a separate smaller jar for day to day use available so we don’t have to keep wasting vacuum sealer time or absorbers.
How I use Dehydrated Marshmallows
- Hot chocolate
- Trail Mix
- Cereal snacks
- Just eat them!
Tools I use in my kitchen to dehydrate:
- Dehydrator. I use both the Excalibur and the Nesco FD-80. Both are great dehydrators on either end of the budget spectrum.
- Vacuum Sealer. I’ve used the Seal-a-Meal and wore it out after about twelve years, so now use this FoodSaver with the regular mouth attachment and the wide mouth attachment.
- Canning jars or any clean jar with a close-fitting lid (recycle old spaghetti jars if you are looking at storing just for a few months. Just make sure they are really clean and really dry and store them in the dark.
- Oxygen Absorbers
- Zip Top Bags – for really short-term storage. I might even double-bag just to get a little longer time.
Make Your Own Homemade Marshmallows
Now – if you really want to get into the basics of marshmallows, try this recipe for making your own marshmallows from marshmallow plant root from New Life on a Homestead. I talked to Kendra about dehydrating her version, which she’s never done, but how awesome would those be? Homemade marshmallows are awesome! You can also try Alton Brown’s version.
If you’d rather skip the work, you can purchase dehydrated marshmallows in bulk, but you’d want to repackage them for long-term storage. My son gets this canister version for Christmas every year to use as he sees fit. “Would you like a little hot chocolate with those marshmallows, sir?”
Here are some Make Your Own Hot Chocolate Recipes you might want to try, too!
Homemade “Instant” Hot Cocoa Mix from My Food Storage Cookbook
Hot Spiced Cocoa Mix from Common Sense Homesteading
Hot Cocoa Mix from Timber Creek Farm
Healthy Hot Cocoa Mix from Schneider Peeps
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