For round two, we’ve got a favorite childhood flavor – that bright, almost neon red of the Tropical Punch really takes me back – against a more sophisticated adult flavor – salted caramel.

Marshmallow madness round 2

Kool-aid vs. caramel swirl

Kool-Aid Marshmallows

From Marshmallow Madness

The Bloom

  • 1 (.16-oz) packet unsweeted Kool-Aid drink mix (I used the classic Tropical Punch and the new flavor, Peach Mango)
  • 5 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water

The Syrup

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Lightly coat an 8×8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together Kool-Aid mix, cold water, and gelatin in a small bowl. Let it soften for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240F.
  4. Meanwhile, microwave  the gelatin on high until completely melted or heat over a water bath. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of the corn syrup into the bowl and whisk together on low.
  5. When the syrup reaches 240F, slowly pour it into the mixing bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 5 minutes. The marshmallow has been whipped enough when it droops slightly off the whisk but still holds its shape.
  6. Pour marshmallow into prepared pan and smooth corners with an offset spatula. Let set in a cool, dry place for 6 hours.
  7. Loosen the marshmallow from the pan with a knife and cut into pieces.
Kool-aid marshmallows

Kool-aid marshmallows

These marshmallows are not messing around. They taste just like Kool-Aid, right down to the resulting sugar coma. Except now that I’m an adult, the excess sugar just gives me a headache instead of extra energy to run around and play dodgeball or whatever I did back in the day. Oh, to be young again.

On the other end of the spectrum, for my grown-ass self, are these lovely caramel marshmallows. They’re sweet too, but not from artificial flavors and are creamy and warm and delicious.

Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

From Marshmallow Madness

The Swirl

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

The Mallowing

  1. Lightly coat an 8×8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup comes to a bubble. From this point on, don’t stir the syrup; just occasionally swirl the pan gently. When the caramel reaches a light amber color, remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the cream. The caramel will bubble violently, so be careful. Whisk in the salt. Transfer the caramel to a medium bowl.
  3. Whip up a batch of Classic Vanilla batter. Working quickly, scoop about a quarter of the finished batter into the bowl with the caramel. Whisk the mixture together until blended. Scrape the caramel marshmallow back into the bowl with the vanilla batter and fold and swirl the two together.
  4. Pour marshmallow into prepared pan and smooth corners with an offset spatula. Let set in a cool, dry place for 6 hours.
  5. Loosen the marshmallow from the pan with a knife and cut into pieces.
Caramel swirl marshmallows

Caramel swirl marshmallows

Look at those swirls! I always love when food looks as good as it tastes. And these taste incredible. It’s a different kind of sweetness – not the kind that gives you a headache, but the comforting kind that lulls you to sleep. The caramel sauce weighs them down a bit so they’re a little denser than usual, but they still have a nice fluffiness that is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the caramel.

While I appreciate the hit of nostalgia the Kool-Aid ones give, the caramel mallows were ultimately my favorite, and the winner at the office too.

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