The secret ingredient that gives these homemade marshmallows ZING is the pickle juice from sweet pickled beets and cherries!

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Food + Story + Styling by Michaela Hayes Photography by Paul Lowe

PICKLES AND MARSHMALLOWS? Am I pregnant, you might ask? No, just looking for a holiday-appropriate way to use up some leftover pickling liquid and, of course, making marshmallows was my first thought.

As a food stylist, I’ve made marshmallows a couple of times for photo shoots, but never for the sheer fun of it. So I started deconstructing various marshmallow recipes to see what makes them tick. Marshmallow recipes usually combine sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and water. What I discovered is that the liquid you add to help create the hot candy syrup can be just about any kind of liquid at all.

One of the best and most underappreciated products of pickling is the pickling liquid, which contains much of the flavor and some of the nutrients, and I’m always looking for ways to use it— either from a jar of pickles or preserved fruit. It turns out that the little extra zing of vinegar from a sweet pickling liquid is the perfect accompaniment to the sugary marshmallow. I made three kinds of marshmallows (go high or go home, right?) and flavored them with pickled cherry and pickled beet liquid, pickled blueberry liquid, and citrus syrup.

These little pillows of goodness are out of this world, and in a whole different league than their store-bought cousins. Good enough as a treat by themselves, covering the marshmallows with chocolate takes them to an irresistible new level.


You will need:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted and divided
21/4 ounce packets of gelatin
1⁄3 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
²⁄3 cup corn syrup
1⁄3 cup flavoring liquid (sweet pickling liquid or syrup)
¹⁄8 teaspoon salt
11/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)
1/2 pound good quality chocolate (optional)

  1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust generously with powdered sugar.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over the water to soften.
  3. In a medium pot, heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, flavoring liquid, and salt over low heat until dissolved together.
  4. Turn heat to medium and cook, swirling the pot occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240˚F on a candy thermometer.
  5. Working quickly, remove pan from heat and with mixer on low speed, pour a stream of hot syrup into the gelatin. Increase the speed of the mixer to high, add vanilla, and beat until the mixture is very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Add optional food coloring to boost colors.
  6. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and smooth with a damp spatula. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and press into pan with your fingers.
  7. Let the marshmallows stand at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours.
  8. Pull the marshmallow block from the pan onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar.
  9. Using a pizza wheel, cut the marshmallow into 1-inch wide strips and then into squares.
  10. Roll the squares in more powdered sugar and store in an airtight container. Or freeze marshmallows for an hour, temper chocolate, and dip the cold marshmallows into chocolate and dry on a rack.
  11. Store uncoated marshmallows in an airtight container for up to a month. Chocolate-coated marshmallows should be eaten within a few days.


You can use the pickling liquid from beets, cherries, or just use flavored simple syrup!

The secret ingredient that gives these homemade marshmallows ZING is the pickle juice from sweet pickled beets and cherries!
Photography by Paul "Sweet Paul" Lowe

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