mmmmmmmm….gooey booziness….

….and with that, onwards to happier, food-related goodness….

Over the holidays, I did venture back into the kitchen for some treat-making.  I didn’t do a lot of  flour-sugar-butter baking, instead, most of the goodies I made involved pots of syrup boiling away on the stove-top – and this recipe is a definite keeper.

I decided to whip up a batch of home-made marshmallows, something I have made before, though haven’t mentioned them here yet.  It all started a couple of years ago when my sister sent me one of her classic “here-you-should-make-these” emails, and included a recipe for toasted coconut marshmallows from Gourmet Magazine.  I gave them a try, and they really are about 1000 times easier than I would have thought scratch marshmallows would be.  Oh, who am I kidding – the idea of making my own marshmallows had never crossed my mind.  Why would it?  I’ve never been a huge marshmallow fan, unless they are the toasted, crispy, sticky, gooey things we ate off pointy branches while sitting around a camp-fire… and it’s been a looooooong time since I was anywhere near a campfire.  I’m a city girl through and through.  Ok, so Sis wants me to make them, even though she’s almost 2800km away and won’t get to eat them anyway… Weeks later I got around to it and they were indeed good.  Not exactly memorable, but good.  I’ve made a couple of batches since, with different flavours and syrups, and still, they’ve just been “good”.  meh….

Preparing to make a batch of kid-friendly pomegranate marshmallows, I hopped onto the Gourmet website for the recipe and suddenly noticed a couple of interesting variations to the coconut ones – avocado (hmm… interesting – I’m not exactly an avocado-lover, and hubby won’t touch ‘em with a  10-foot pole, but I can see how they might be really good… file that one away under “recipes to try someday”), and Lillet, a french aperitif wine with strong citrus components (I’ve never heard of Lillet, but then again I’m not exactly an aficionado of alcohol with my 1/4 glass of wine every 6-10 months booze habit).  That’s when the wheels started turning, and I began thinking not about marshmallows as the pillowy, powder-coated sweets you pop in your mouth, but as the tiny, melty treats you find floating on the top of your hot cocoa… and you know what I *love* in my hot cocoa?  Bailey’s Irish Cream. {light bulb moment} OMG – I wonder if that would work?  Could you swap out the Lillet and replace it with Bailey’s?  My tastebuds could already imagine the result, so I dug through the dusty liquor cabinet, grabbed the squat brown bottle of sticky-sweet liqueur, and fired up the stove. Within half-an-hour, the goo (batter?) was setting up in the pan and I was licking the spatula clean.  Yoo-ree-kah, these were gonna be gooooooooood. An hour later, I came to the conclusion that it’s almost a waste to put these in your hot cocoa – their deliciousness is over-powered by the rich chocolate drink.  That’s ok – I’ll just eat them as the lovely little confections they are.

A few evenings later, I was sharing my new discovery with a friend of ours when she told of us how an aunt of hers had, one evening around the camp-fire, taught them how to toast the outside of the marshmallow just enough that you could pull off the outer “skin”, fill it with a bit  it of Bailey’s and then pop the whole thing in your mouth.  Oh my god – why didn’t I think of it before??  These new marshmallows would be amazing if they were toasted.  A bamboo skewer and a minute over a burner on my gas stove confirmed it.  Now they were absolutely addictive!  We spent the next hour nibbling on toasted Irish cream marshmallows and eventually stumbling on to our own genius version of s’mores… toasted Bailey’s marshmallows sandwiched between two crisp chocolate cookies – definitely a decadent and grown-up version of a childhood favourite.

Now, a word of warning; if you’re a bit OCD in the kitchen and like your kitchen to be spotless even while cooking, then this recipe may not be for you.  As tidy as you attempt to work, when it comes to the cutting-and-coating part of marshmallow making, you will have confectioner’s sugar everywhere, and probably push you way out of your cleanliness comfort-zone.  But you have to trust me – they are totally worth it.  And I’ve figured out a couple of tricks that keep the mess somewhat more contained – a couple of large bowls and a sieve are essential and make the whole job a lot easier, as does working with just a few squares of marshmallow at a time.  If you try and cut the whole pan and then coat them all at once, it will be a nightmare…. believe me.

A couple of things are differences when I made these vs regular marshmallows; one – the syrup has a bit of a curdled look to it, probably because of the cream in the Bailey’s.  This doesn’t effect the final product, but it doesn’t look overly appetizing when you’re making it. Two – the finished marshmallow isn’t quite as voluminous as the other versions.  They’re still fluffy and gooey, but my previous attempts with coconut or pomegranate marshmallows are about 1-2 cm thicker when made in the same pan – a flaw I am completely willing to overlook based on how incredibly good they are in every other respect.

So, whether you make these as a finishing touch to a much of hot chocolate in the winter time, or as a grown-up treat for your summer camping trip, or as part of the dessert buffet at your next fancy fête (though we are pretty much out of party season now), the bottom line is that you absolutely *must* make these at some point.  They are over-the top delicious, and will make you fall in love with marshmallows again, even (or especially) if you have always dismissed them in the past.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Marshmallows
(for grown-ups!)

(adapted from Gourmet’s Lillet Marshmallows or Toasted Coconut Marshmallows)

Makes approx 64 marshmallows
  • 3  envelopes (21g) unflavored gelatin
  • 180 ml  (3/4 cup) Bailey’s Irish Cream, divided
  • 302 g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 342 g (1 cup) light corn syrup
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
  • pinch salt
  • approximately 100 g (1/2 cup) confectioners sugar for dusting and dredging


Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan – be sure to use a relatively flavourless oil, such as canola or grape seed.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the Bailey’s and sprinkle the gelatine on top.  Set aside so the gelatine can bloom while you make the syrup.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup, water and remaining 60 ml (1/4 cup) Bailey’s.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, until a thermometer registers between 238˚-240˚F (114˚-115˚C).  Remove from heat

With the mixer running at low speed, pour the hot syrup into the gelatine mixture in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl.  Once all of the syrup is added, increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is fluffy and forms a thick ribbon when the beater is lifted – about 10 -12 minutes.

Scrape the marshmallow mixture into the oiled baking pan, and smooth the top as best you can (a lightly oiled spatula does a good job here).

Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature, until the surface is no longer sticky and you can gently pull the marshmallow away from the sides of the pan with your fingertips. About 1-3 hours

Using a sieve, generously dust a cutting board with confectioner’s sugar.  Carefully invert the baking pan onto the cutting board (or do it with gusto and then wait 3 minutes for the cloud of sugar to dissipate, your choice, you’ve been warned).  I find that using a lightly-textured plastic cutting board works best here.

Dust the top of the marshmallow with icing sugar, and, using a very sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares.  It can be helpful to dip the knife blade in a bit of oil first, but getting your knife blade coated in sticky gumminess is inevitable.  When it becomes too coated in marshmallow, rinse it off under very hot water, just be sure to make sure everything is *completely bone dry* again before you commence cutting.  Water is not your friend in this recipe!

Now, as I mentioned before, it’s been my experience that trying to cut and dredge all of the marshmallows at once is a nightmare.  Instead, cut a one inch strip of marshmallow, and then divide that strip into one inch squares.  Toss about 4-6 of the squares into a bowl of confectioner’s sugar, and roll them around to make sure they are coated completely.  Using your fingers (again, trying to stay clean here is futile), pull the dusted cubes out of the bowl, and throw them into the sieve, and toss them around in the sieve for a bit.  This will shake off all of the excess sugar, so you are just left with lovely little marshmallows that don’t stick to one another, which is the whole point of coating them in the first place –  the powdered doughnut effect is not what you are going for here.

The original recipe recommends that you store these layered between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container, in a dry place at cool room temperature, but I had great success just throwing them into a big ziplock bag.  That said, I live in avery dry climate, which works to my advantage here.  If you live someplace humid, or it’s pouring down with rain the day you make these, then go nuts and do the layered parchment thing… water and marshmallow are definitely foes.

Now that you’ve got your tasty little cubes of gooey booziness made, enjoy them however you like.  If you want to try the chocolate cookie and melty marshmallow sandwiches I mentioned above, click here for the recipe I recommend pairing them with.



  • Oooo now there’s a thought.. adding booze to the marshmallows! I’ve never been a really big fan of marshmallows either. I did attempt to make them once but it was also my first time melting sugar in that way and it, well it all went to pieces pretty horrificly (is that even a word?) so don’t plan on making them again. Or maybe I should say I didn’t plan on making them again but now that you mention the irish cream…mmm, maybe I should? lol…
    O and yes that YAY-peg… lol You had me laughing there again!

    17 February, 2012
    • oh Simone, trust me – if you decide to give sugar syrup cooking a try again for these, you will *not* be sorry. They have a nice booziness to them and they’re just so good. Candy for grown-ups ;)

      17 February, 2012
  • Viola pie-ola

    WOW. I thought homemade marshmallows were over the top, akin to having a chicken & a cow in the garage for fresh eggs & milk. But Baileys marshmallows are genius!! Do they keep well? Were they around long enough to find out?

    11 April, 2012
    • Lol, I used to think so too ;)
      They actually do keep reasonably well in a ziploc for about a week. (I only found out ‘cuz I made a LOT)

      15 April, 2012

Leave a comment


Email (will not be published)*


Your comment*

Submit Comment

© Copyright Always Leave Room For Dessert - Designed by Pexeto