Healthy Halloween Treats: Naturally Dyed Marshmallows

These healthy Halloween treats have no corn syrup, no granulated sugar and no chemical dyes.  Instead, they’re made with vegetable coloring and honey.  I think that might make them a health food, right?  These make the perfect Halloween indulgence or gift for neighbors and friends.  Plus, they’re so simple to make! halloween marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows are a simple treat to whip up in a matter of minutes.  They do need to set up for several hours, but the actual mixing up time is less than thirty minutes.  If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before, please read this post first – Make Homemade Marshmallows.

This will give you all the information you need to make your first batch.

If you’d like more healthy holiday recipes, as well as crafts and traditions and fun, be sure to sign up to be the first to hear about the release of our next book, Homestead Holidays.  We take you through the year and around the globe with feast and festival days from many cultures and religions.  Celebrate the big days and the everyday with us!

Naturally Dyed Marshmallows for Healthy Halloween Treat

Once you’ve got the hang of making healthy marshmallows, you’ll quickly learn that there are SO many kinds you can make.

Here are just a few that could also be used as healthy Halloween treats:

apple cider marshmallows with cinnamon sticks

You’ll notice that several of these recipes feature colored marshmallows.  How do you get that color without commercial, chemical dyes?  You use the fruits and veggies, of course!

The following naturally dyed “pumpkin” marshmallow is colored with none other than butternut squash.  Butternut squash is a dry, creamy, sweet winter squash that has a vibrant orange color.  Our pumpkin marshmallows can really be made with any kind of winder squash.  And you can see below that they are orange – a pleasant burnt-caramel kind of orange.

However, to get the orange color to pop, you really need butternut squash, or any other dry, bright winter squash.  Hubbard, Cheese and Banana squash would probably also work.

Commercial Natural Dyes

Even so, if your end result with butternut squash isn’t a bright as you’d like, there are some healthy dye options that you can use.  In our baked goods, there are two types of natural coloring agents we use.  One is a TruColor powdered dye made from vegetables that works well in cookies and baked goods:

Another kind is Chef Master Natural Dye which is a gel that mixes well in marshmallows and frosting:

Most of the time I don’t bother with extra dye beyond the fruit or veggie I’m using.  Sometimes, though, you might want the color to be eye-catching without the health risks of chemical dyes.  These natural dyes will serve that purpose.

Green Halloween

For more ideas on going green with your Halloween celebrations, I recommend you read this article from The Mindful Mom Blographer – Zero Waste Halloween.  She has a myriad of ideas from parties to costumes to what to pass out instead of candy.  

If you need a few more healthy Halloween treat options here are several:

From Fit as a Mama Bear here are Chocolate Chip Healthy Rice Krispies Squares.

Another great one from Wholesome Yum is this recipe for Sugar Free Keto Peanut Butter Cups – just about my favorite treat ever.

If you have apple slices on your snack table, you must have this Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Spice Dip from The Artisan Life.

Ok, these snack ideas from A Modern Homestead are just plain cute – see those here.

Healthy Halloween Treats: Naturally Dyed Marshmallows Recipe

Use this recipe for a naturally dyed marshmallow that will be a healthy Halloween treat you can feel proud sharing with your kids and friends.  This recipe has no corn syrup, no refined sugar and no chemical dyes.

Here’s a quick tutorial video to help you get an idea of the process of making marshmallows.  You can watch this first and then read the recipe to make sure you understand the steps.  Always feel free to reach out if something is unclear; simply use the comments section below the article.

Healthy Halloween Treat: Naturally Dyed Pumpkin Marshmallows
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh butternut squash puree*
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup organic beef gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups local honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 drops each red and yellow natural gel dye, optional
Instructions
Do this first so it's ready:
  1. Prepare an 9 x 11 casserole dish by placing a piece of parchment paper long enough to cover up the sides as well as the bottom. The parchment paper won't lie down until the marshmallow is weighing it down but once they're dry, the paper will just peel off the marshmallows.

Then the bloom:
  1. Put the gelatin and first 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of your mixer bowl. Slightly stir it to make sure all the gelatin is submerged in the water. This will cause the gelatin to "bloom" (or poof up a bit).

Mix it up:
  1. Once gelatin has completely soaked into the water and has bloomed, add the squash and mix thoroughly in the bowl.

  2. Heat the honey, 2nd water and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat until boiling.
  3. Gently boil honey while constantly stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 225F/107C degrees. The honey should bubble, froth and turn a deeper caramel color.

  4. Once temperature is reached, immediately remove from heat. Turn your mixer on low/medium (use the whisk attachment), and slowly mix honey mixture into squash mixture. Drizzle the honey down the inside of the bowl at a slow, steady rate.

  5. Mix to incorporate, stopping to scrape down sides a few times.
  6. Once honey and squash are mixed, put the collar on your mixing bowl (if you have one). Place a towel over the top of the bowl to prevent splashes.

  7. Turn the mixer to high and check it often until it turns into marshmallow fluff. The mixture will lighten in color and thicken. This can take anywhere from 8-20 minutes.

  8. If you decide you'd like to add some more color, do it now. Mix until incorporated.

  9. Spoon the marshmallow cream into your prepared dish with a greased scraper. Smooth the top and lightly cover the top with a piece of parchment paper. Don't let the paper touch the marshmallows or it will stick.

  10. For softer marshmallows, let them set up for 4-6 hours. For dryer marshmallows, let them set up for 8-24 hours.
  11. Use a greased pizza cutter for streamlined sizing OR you can use greased cookie cutters to cut your marshmallows. Once they're cut out, dust your marshmallows in powdered sugar. Other ideas include cinnamon, cocoa , coconut flour or roll them in chocolate chips, chopped nuts, cookie crumbs.

Recipe Notes

*To make butternut squash puree:

  1. Cut the ends off of one squash. 
  2. Remove the skin with a sharp knife.
  3. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. 
  4. Compost the debris. 
  5. Place the halves of squash face down in a glass baking dish with one cup of water. 
  6. Bake uncovered at 350F/177C for 30-40 minutes until the flesh is soft enough to easily pierce with a fork.
  7. Mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender to puree the squash.

Naturally Dyed Marshmallow Notes

Be sure to set up all your equipment ahead of time – you’ll need to work fast once the honey mixture is hot.  

As soon as you’re done with the  mixing bowl, rinse and scrape the sides to remove any remaining honey or marshmallow cream.  Both will harden in the air, making it difficult to wash anything they’re stuck onto.

You can also simply use the marshmallow cream to top desserts or drinks for Halloween party foods.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

halloween marshmallows


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