Marshmallow Monsters: Fast. Festive. Fun.

eHow Food Blog

Like millions of moms and grandmas, I’m always looking for festive holiday treats. Beyond festive, they need to be fast. Each month, my mom and sister and I make at least 7 dozen treats – 84 individual pieces – for the children at the shelter where we volunteer. That means fast is critical, but so is fun. We especially like projects that give us the giggles.

Early on, we learned that the children love marshmallows, and we often use cupcakes as the base for marshmallow creations. Unfortunately, the volunteers who supervise the children’s area do not love the mess the kids make with cupcakes. This month we hit on a new idea: marshmallows on lollipop sticks.

One of the best things about this project is that even when you use the same basic decorations, each monster develops its own personality. A wider smile here. An offset eye there. Big fun everywhere.

To get started, you need marshmallows, candy coating, lollipop sticks and a black gel writer. You also need a good assortment of colored sugars and sprinkles plus lots of festive bits and pieces, like googly eyes, candy corn and licorice. If you have some type of fruit leather or strips around, get that out, too.

Gently melt the candy coating. You can do this in a double boiler, but we usually microwave the wafers in custard cups. Be careful not to scorch the candy. Slow and gentle is the way to go.

Poke a hole in a marshmallow.

Dip a stick in the candy coating and insert it into the hole.  Set aside until the candy coating sets up.

We usually do a dozen or so sticks at a time. A piece of Styrofoam makes a terrific “drying tray.”

Dip the marshmallow in candy coating and twirl until it’s coated all around.

This is where the wild rumpus begins! While the coating is wet, sprinkle on jimmies for hair.

Set the monster’s features in place.

Let the candy coating set, then add sparkle gel details.

Tips and Tricks:

If the candy coating doesn’t flow easily, thin it with paramount crystals (available from retailers that sell candy-making supplies).

Warm the candy any time it develops a “skin.” The coating is hard to handle and doesn’t grab onto the decorative bits when it’s cool-ish.

Offset the eyes a little. Uneven eyes make the monsters look extra silly.

Sparkle gel eyebrows bring monsters to life.

Cut fringe along both sides of a strip of fruit leather. Fold the strip in half and bend it into a “Mohawk.” Use candy coating to secure the strip to the monster’s head.

Pinch the center of a 2-inch square of fruit leather and twirl to create a “comb” for a chicken-like monster.

Make ¾ inch snips into a 1-inch piece of black licorice. Dip the solid end into candy coating and place on top of the monster’s head for spiky hair.

White sprinkles over white candy coating makes a dandy ghost. All you need to add is sparkle gel dots for eyes.

One last thing – marshmallow creations aren’t just for Halloween. We’re thinking of chocolate-coated marshmallow reindeer with twisted pretzel antlers and red hot noses for Christmas.

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