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Recently my family and I spent the day fishing in the local catfish hole. We had purchased a bag of cheapie generic brand marshmallows to thread onto our hooks and slather with Stink bait. (A combination that sounds nasty, but works like a charm!).

One of my children left the bag of Marshmallows Open and lying on the ground. We spent nearly 8 hours fishing; the ants and other summer bugs were driving us crazy the whole time. When we got ready to go my husband saw the bag lying on the ground, wide open and said "Oh this ought to be fun", anticipating hundreds of ants all over the marshmallows.

Guess what, there was NOT 1 single Ant on or IN the entire open bag!! It really got me wondering just how many chemicals must be in those store bought marshmallows for the Bugs to reject them!

Yuck, it really changed my idea of eating s'more!

If you want to make S'mores for your family, why not make your own easy (frugal) marshmallows too! At least you'll be able to pronounce the ingredients with ease.

* 2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored knox gelatin
* 1/2 c. Cold water

* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 c. water
* 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

* Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Combine gelatin and water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow it to set at least 20 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, 1/2 c. water in a saucepan over low-med heat until the sugar has dissolved. Scrape the edges of the pan to get ALL of the sugar crystals. Increase heat to med/high and cook syrup until it reaches 244 degrees (Firm Ball Stage) on the Candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat.

Turn mixer on low speed with whisk attachment on the lowest setting and very carefully pour hot syrup into the softened gelatin. Be very careful not to pour the syrup into the moving whisk itself as this could cause splattering (and potential for getting burned!) Gradually increase the speed to High and continue to beat the marshmallow until it's very thick, white and tripled in volume. (This takes about 15 minutes in an electric stand mixer). Add Vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.

Dust (very generously) a 9 x13 pan with Confectioners sugar. Pour marshmallow mix into the pan and allow to set several hours (uncovered). Do not place in the fridge.) Cut into squares (or shapes) as desired, roll in powdered sugar and serve!

These can be layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks, but don't worry, they certainly won't last that long! Do not store in the Fridge.

For delicious Variations:

Roll Finished Product into Dark Cocoa Powder or Toasted Coconut, or Jimmies rather than confectionary sugar

To Make a Family Size S'mores Dessert simply cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan with crushed graham crackers and then a layer of broken up chocolate bars. Add your marshmallow after whipping, top with chocolate and another layer of crushed graham crackers. Cut into small squares and roll in confectioners’ sugar.

Tried -n- True Tips:

~To cut into squares quickly, use a Pizza cutter dusted in confectioners’ sugar

~For Fun & Festivities- let the kids cut them out using various cookie cutter shapes (Stars for the 4th of July, Pumpkins or Ghosts for Halloween, etc)

Still Not Sure you can Make these? View Complete Step By Step instructions, complete with Photographs.

~Happy Cooking~

© Liss Burnell, 2008

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