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!
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.
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.
- 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
- Prepare a 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: 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).
- Once gelatin has completely soaked into the water and has bloomed, add the squash and mix thoroughly in the bowl.
- Heat the honey, 2nd water and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat until boiling.
- Gently boil honey while constantly stirring, until the candy thermometer reaches 225F/107C degrees. The honey should bubble, froth and turn a deeper caramel color.
- 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.
- Mix to incorporate, stopping to scrape down sides a few times.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you decide you'd like to add some more color, do it now. Mix until incorporated.
- 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.
- For softer marshmallows, let them set up for 4-6 hours. For dryer marshmallows, let them set up for 8-24 hours.
- 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.
Mix Up the Marshmallows:
*To make butternut squash puree:
Cut the ends off of one squash.
Remove the skin with a sharp knife.
Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds.
Compost the debris.
Place the halves of squash face down in a glass baking dish with one cup of water.
Bake uncovered at 350 F/177C for 30-40 minutes until the flesh is soft enough to easily pierce with a fork.
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.
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:
Rose Marshmallows by Joybilee Farm
Dark Chocolate Marshmallows by Intoxicated on Life
Strawberry Marshmallows by The Movement Menu
Salted Caramel Coconut Marshmallows by All the Nourishing Things
Wassail Apple Cider Marshmallows by us here at Homestead Lady
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 winter 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.
You can purchase both of these online at your favorite natural food retailer.
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.
Read our article here to get some super fun alternatives to trick-or-treating for homestead kids.
For the article above, we pulled some information from our latest book, Homestead Holidays. Celebrating holidays and traditions on the homestead is about more than just good food and fun times. It’s also about communicating the joys (and even the trials!) of this homesteading lifestyle! To pick up your own copy, simply visit our shop.