Winter is great for so many reasons. Sure it gets cold, but just bundle up and enjoy the beauty of it all. Tobogganing, ice skating, or if you’re lucky enough heading over to Michigan for a little ski or snowboard action.

This winter, my brother, Anthony, built an outdoor skating rink in his backyard. The rink is huge and he did such a great job! He taught Evan how to skate and now they spend evenings playing hockey and just having fun. It’s absolutely fantastic. Although I think Evan’s favourite part is when Anthony pretends he’s a zamboni and cleans the ice. Emily, on the other hand, refuses to take part in any activity outdoors. “It’s too cold”, she says.

Last weekend he and Wendy invited family and friends over a skating party for Emily’s third birthday celebrations. They put out a fire pit, made some hot chocolate and I brought over homemade marshmallows. Yes, homemade marshmallows. I’ve been wanting to make my own marshmallows for quite some time, so this was just the opportunity.

Homemade marshmallows

It’s not as hard as you might think. This is a really basic recipe that I picked up from a magazine. Food colouring was added to get the pink colour, which I thought was appropriate for a 3 year old girl’s skating party.

¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
¼ cup cold water
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup warm water
2-7g envelopes of unflavoured gelatin powder
¼ cup of icing sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

Stir granulated sugar with corn syrup, cold water and salt in a small saucepan. Set over high. Bring to boil and let boil without stirring for 1 minute. Then stir in vanilla. While waiting for syrup to boil, pour warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment (I just used a regular electric mixer with whisk). Sprinkle in gelatin. Let stand 2 minutes to soften. Line an 8 inch square baking dish with overhanging plastic wrap. Lightly spray with cooking spray.

Set mixer on high, then pour hot syrup in a stream down the side of the mixer bowl, beating the gelatin mixture until it is thick and sticky and white peaks form. About 4 minutes. You can add food colouring at this point, during the last minute of beating.

Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top as best you can with an oiled spatula. Let set at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Homemade marshmallows

Whisk icing sugar with cornstarch in a small bowl. Sift one-third of mixture over top of marshmallow to dust the surface. Turn out onto a cutting board. Discard the plastic wrap. Sift half of remaining sugar mixture overtop to dust the surface. Slice into cubes about 1 inch square. Roll each cut marshmallow in remaining sugar mixture until all sides are coated.

Very easy to make and so worth the effort.  I’ll take these any day over store bought marshmallows!