Prepare an 9 x 11 casserole dish by placing parchment paper to fit (including up the sides, inside the dish). The parchment paper wont lie down until the marshmallow is weighing it down.
Put the gelatin and first 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of your stand mixer bowl (or any 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 applesauce (if using) and mix thoroughly in bowl. Add the spices and mix. It will look weird and lumpy, but that means you've done it correctly.
Heat the cider, honey, sugar, 2nd water and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat until boiling.
Gently boil cider mixture while constantly stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 225F/107C degrees. The honey should bubble, froth and turn a deeper caramel color. Don't allow it to burn; keep stirring.
Once temperature is reached, immediately remove from heat and slowly stir honey mixture into pumpkin mixture. Turn your mixer on low/medium with the whisk attachment and drizzle the honey down the inside of the bowl and at a slow, steady rate.
Once the cider and gelatin are mixed, put the collar on your mixing bowl (if you have one) and/or place a towel over the top of the bowl to prevent splashes. Believe me, you do NOT want to scrape marshmallow goo from off your fridge. Or off your toddler.
Turn the mixer to high and watch for it to magically transform from slop into marshmallow cream. This can take anywhere from 8-20 minutes. It will start to turn a lighter color and then thicken. Once it has done both, switch the mixer off.
Spoon the marshmallow cream into your prepared dish with a greased scraper. Level out the marshmallow and place a light covering over the dish.
For softer marshmallows, let them set up for 6-8 hours in a cool, dry place. For firmer marshmallows, refrigerate them for at least 24 hours.
Cut with a greased or powdered pizza cutter. Use a metal spatula to remove the marshmallows from the parchment paper. The bottoms will be sticky with apple sugar syrup.
Dredge in an equal parts mixture of non-GMO corn starch and powdered sugar. If you've used the applesauce in the recipe, be sure to cut and powder your marshmallows only right before you serve them. See the article for serving suggestions.
* You can mix both lemon and orange but be cautious about going over 2 Tbsp the first time you make this recipe. You can adjust for taste next time if you feel it needs more citrus.
** If using our recipe for 1 pint of home-canned apple cider concentrate instead of ready-to-drink cider, please omit the ½ cup raw sugar. Directions for making home-canned apple cider concentrate is in the article above this recipe.
Use a greased pizza cutter for streamlined sizing OR you can use greased cookie cutters.
Dust your marshmallows in powdered sugar mixed in equal parts with non-GMO corn starch. Other ideas include cinnamon, cocoa, coconut flour or roll them in chocolate chips, chopped nuts, cookie crumbs. Anything tasty that will hold still long enough will be suitable.