When it comes to no-bake Christmas recipes, you cannot go wrong with Peppermint Marshmallow Squares! They are loaded with chocolate and peppermint-flavoured marshmallows. Along with the peppermint extract and the crushed candy canes on top, these squares are perfect for the extreme peppermint lover!
I’m not sure I know of anyone who doesn’t like marshmallows. Do you? I grew up in a home where marshmallows were often incorporated into some type of dessert. My mom loved no-bake recipes and marshmallows seem to be quite prevalent in those types of recipes. I’m just recently starting to prepare recipes with marshmallows, and these Peppermint Marshmallow Squares is one of my favourites!
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As you know, Dear Reader, John.e is a vegetarian and marshmallows have gelatin in them. Gelatin is made using collagen from animal parts, so obviously, he isn’t going to eat anything with marshmallows in it. Sounds gross, doesn’t it!? So, I was quite happy to find vegan marshmallows, and now I can make more marshmallow treats. You can 100% use regular mini marshmallows, but I used Dandies Vegan Marshmallows in this recipe. Needless to say, don’t tell him I told you, but he might have eaten about 20 of these!
When I first learned that there were vegan marshmallows on the market, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some. First, I was a little nervous, because I wasn’t sure the texture or the gooey factor would be the same, but those vegan marshmallows did not disappoint. But, more on that later! Let’s get into it!
LORD BYRON’S 12 BARS AND SQUARES OF CHRISTMAS
Peppermint Marshmallow Squares are the eleventh confection in my new series! Yes, that’s right, Dear Reader! I’m kicking off another holiday baking series, just like I have for the past few Christmases! Welcome to Lord Byron’s 12 Bars and Squares of Christmas!!!
If you have been reading my blog for while – well, at least anytime around Christmas for the past few years – you must have run into at least one of my Christmas baking countdowns. This particular countdown is all about bars and squares. For 12 consecutive days, I will share a holiday-based bar or square recipe with you. That means on Saturday and Sunday too! I usually publish new recipes three times a week, so I hope you’re up for this!
You really don’t want to miss one of these recipes, so if you have not yet subscribed to Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I encourage you to do so. That way, a new recipe will be emailed to you every day. You won’t have to bother to come looking for it! Like in previous holiday baking countdowns, I like to mix up the recipes in the series so that there is something for everyone. There will be bars and squares with chocolate, some with candy, and some with nuts too. Are you ready for day 11!!??
Looking For More Christmas Confections?
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! Click on the links below to see a countdown series of holiday recipes from that category!
I used to think that the term no-bake meant that a recipe was more of an assembly-type recipe. Something like a salad, for example. It sounds simple enough, right? Toss the lettuce and any other veggies you want into a bowl. Top it with cheese, croutons, avocado, hard-boiled egg, etc. Add some dressing and you’re all done! But, no-bake actually just means no baking. There still might be some stove-top cooking needed – or even a microwave, for that matter.
To prepare these Peppermint Marshmallow Squares, you will need to use your microwave. So, even though they’re no-bake and kid-friendly, you will still need some way to melt the chocolate.
Some other no-bake-type holiday recipes you might enjoy are these Rudolph’s Red Nose Cookies. Hairy Moose Droppings are delicious and always quite the conversation starter! Just like these Caramel Peanut Slices were a favourite of my mom’s so were these Marshmallow Coconut Balls and so were these Christmas Crunch Cookies. You can find many more no-bake cookie recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen by using the search field at the top of this page.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Chocolate Chips – I use chocolate chips a lot in my recipes, and I change up the type depending on how I feel. Unless the recipe states otherwise, you can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark chips. In this particular case, milk chocolate just seems to work better.
- Canned Sweetened Condensed Milk – This recipe has not been tested with low-fat condensed milk. Depending on where you live, the size of the can may differ. Be sure to have at least 14 ounces!
- Peppermint Extract – You could use vanilla, but we’re going to pack as much peppermint flavour as possible into these cookies!
- Mini Marshmallows – I’m using peppermint marshmallows in this recipe. Here’s where you can find them. If they are unavailable in your area, you can use regular mini marshmallows.
- Crushed Candy Canes
SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
I have a lot of recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen with sweetened condensed milk as one of the ingredients. (Click here to see them!) Growing up in Newfoundland, it was always something I’ve been aware of. But, that’s not the case for everyone. I get many questions from readers about it. For someone not familiar with gooey, sticky canned milk, it might be easily confused with canned Carnation condensed milk, for instance. Let me explain what it is here.
So, first of all, it’s condensed. The milk is condensed by removing water. This can be accomplished by applying heat. The water will evaporate causing the milk to condense, which thickens the milk. Sugar is added to sweeten the condensed milk. The main purpose of adding sugar is to prolong the shelf life of condensed milk, which can sit on room-temperature shelves for years. Sugar prevents microorganisms from growing in the milk and helps to thicken it even further—it’s added after the milk has been boiled, reduced, and pasteurized.
If you find unsweetened condensed milk, it’s most likely that it’s simply evaporated milk or condensed milk, which is thick, but not gooey and sticky. Evaporated milk is often used as a cream added to tea or coffee. If you are unfamiliar with it, please read the can carefully. Also, shake it – can you feel the liquid splashing about inside the can? If so, it’s not sweetened condensed milk; it’s evaporated or condensed milk only!
DANDIES VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS
Now, if you just so happen to click on the link for Dandies in the last paragraph, you will note that the brand has both large and mini marshmallows. Depending on the time of year, they also have flavours like pumpkin and peppermint – and now maple too!
This post is not sponsored by Dandies, and I don’t want you to think that I’m preaching veganism at you, because I am far from vegan. However, whenever I find a product that I love, I always share it with you. You most certainly don’t have to be vegan to enjoy Dandies marshmallows. They also have no artificial colours or flavours, which is always a bonus.
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If you have any friends or family with food allergies, you might want to consider using Dandies as well. Unlike real marshmallows, there’s no corn syrup, they are kosher, and have no GMOs. Dandies are manufactured in a gluten-free environment and are free from many common allergens such as wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, shellfish, fish, mustard, corn, and sesame. Seriously, what do you have to lose!?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that a representative from Dandies did reach out to me after reading one of my previous recipes using their product. They offered to send me marshmallows twice now – one of those shipments being the peppermint marshmallows used in this recipe. Still, I would not promote the product without fully supporting it. Honestly, they taste wonderful and I’m not sure I could tell the difference between a vegan marshmallow and a “real” one! They’re really that good! So, thank you, Dandies!
CRUSHED CANDY CANES
In most cases, crushed candy canes are red and white, but sometimes, you can find ones that are red, white, and green. I love the red and green type! Even though I have partial colour blindness, the red and green candy canes look better to me. Obviously, those are not the ones I used here. I bought a small bag of red and green crushed candy canes a few years ago for my Candy Cane Peppermint Bundt Cake. It was a very small bag and I practically used all of them on that one cake. But, you can see how the addition of the green adds to the overall appeal.
If you don’t want to use the red and white ones – which are the easiest to find – then you can crush your own candy canes by placing unwrapped, broken candy canes into a sturdy bag and firmly rolling over them with a wooden rolling pin. Either way, you want candy canes that are not crushed too finely. Many times, you’ll find them that have too much powder, meaning that they have been crushed too much. You want chunky pieces in order to get the red and green speckled pattern.
I’ve tried crushing them myself and have crushed them a little too much. Even the type you buy in the store can sometimes have too much candy cane dust. You can easily fix it by filtering out the dust. Working in small amounts, place a heaping spoonful of the crushed candy canes into a colander with small holes. Sift out the dust and you’ll be left with nice little pieces.
Lord Byron’s Annual Christmas Cookie Series
Did you know that Lord Byron’s Kitchen has been sharing a 24 Cookies of Christmas Series for the past several years? Click on the links below to see all of the recipes from each series on one page!
HOW TO MAKE PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOW SQUARES
This no-bake recipe comes together quickly and easily. The first thing you should do is to prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by lining it well with parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper so that it fits snugly in the pan. I use two sheets – one folded to fit the length of the pan and another folded to fit across the pan. Allow the excess parchment paper to hang out over the side of the pan. Once the confection is firm, use the excess parchment to lift the whole block out of the pan to make it easy to cut into bars.
Next, in a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk on high speed in 30-second intervals, stirring well between each increment, until melted and combined. Add the salt and the peppermint extract. Stir until well incorporated.
Next, add the peppermint marshmallows. Stir again until the marshmallows are well mixed into the chocolate and mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press down with the spatula to flatten slightly. Top with the crushed candy canes. Leave to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring to your fridge to cool for an additional 20 minutes.
Once cooled, cut into squares. Store the squares in an airtight, food-safe container and keep them refrigerated. Squares will last 5-7 days in the fridge. Additionally, the squares can be frozen for up to 3 months!
- Do I have to use semi-sweet chocolate chips? No, you most certainly don’t! Personally, I prefer milk chocolate over semi-sweet or dark, but in this case, semi-sweet is better. Milk chocolate tastes sweeter, so in addition to the sweetened condensed milk, and the marshmallows, the square is too sweet. The semi-sweet chocolate cuts back on the sugar just enough.
- Can I use other extracts? Yes, you can. If you don’t have peppermint extract on hand, you can use vanilla extract instead. The squares will still taste great, but the peppermint flavour will not be so strong. Sometimes, mint extract can be found too. There is a difference, but one can totally be substituted for the other!
- I only have regular marshmallows. Go ahead and use them! As previously mentioned, I used peppermint marshmallows because I really wanted an intense peppermint flavour profile. You can use regular mini white marshmallows. Mine were vegan, which you should most certainly try, but you don’t have to do that either. Again, regular mini marshmallows will be perfectly acceptable.
- Can these squares be frozen? Yes, they certainly can! Once you cut them into squares, layer them into a food-safe, freezer-friendly container with a layer of parchment paper or waxed paper between each layer. You can freeze them for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove as many as you want from the container and place them on a plate. Leave at room temperature for 3-5 minutes and enjoy!
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
Most no-bake confections are made without the need to freeze them for long periods of time, but they can be frozen. For this recipe, I have tested whether or not they can be frozen, and they certainly can! Once they are completely firm, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight-fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in! You can freeze these for up to three months.
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Peppermint Marshmallow Squares
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teapsoons peppermint extract
- 3 cups mini marshmallows, peppermint or regular flavour
- 1/4 cup crushed candy canes
- Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by lining it well with parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper so that it fits snugly in the pan. I use two sheets – one folded to fit the length of the pan and another folded to fit across the pan. Allow the excess parchment paper to hang out over the side of the pan. Once the confection is firm, use the excess parchment to lift the whole block out of the pan to make it easy to cut into squares.
- Next, in a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk on high speed in 30-second intervals, stirring well between each increment, until melted and combined.
- Add the salt and the peppermint extract. Stir until well incorporated.
- Next, add the marshmallows. Stir again until the marshmallows are well mixed into the chocolate and mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press down with the spatula to flatten slightly.
- Top with the crushed candy canes.
- Leave to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring to your fridge to cool for an additional 20 minutes.
- Once cooled, cut into squares.
- Store the squares in an airtight, food-safe container and keep them refrigerated. Squares will last 5-7 days in the fridge. Additionally, the squares can be frozen for up to 3 months!
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