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Summertime as a child meant a few things… plenty of time to play outside and roll in the mud, summer rainstorms, the choice to stay up later than usual, and of course… delicious snacks! One of my favorite choices as a child was a delicious chocolate pudding cup, and the best part of pudding cups was finding all kinds of things to mix in! That’s why when summer rolls around now, I make sure to have pudding cups on hand for my son to enjoy… and the mix-ins he needs to enjoy it! But as my family works to take a more naturally-based approach, it’s important for me to make smarter choices, which is why I’ve made the switch to natural pudding and tried my hand at making my own homemade marshmallows– both of which have NO corn syrup at all!
Any awesome banana s’mores pudding cup starts with homemade marshmallows, which are super easy to make. Many homemade marshmallow recipes will contain corn syrup, and as my family works to get away from high fructose corn syrup, we’ve found Agave nectar to be a pretty great alternative, so these marshmallows are made with Agave nectar! Start by oiling a 9×13 pan (I just used warmed up coconut oil in a thin layer), then sprinkle the entire pan with powdered sugar.
In a bowl, place 1/2 cup of very cold water, then sprinkle it with about 3 1/2 packets of unflavored gelatin… set it aside for later.
Measure out 3/4 cups of Agave nectar– this will be the base of your homemade marshmallow’s sweetness.
In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, your Agave nectar, and 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar.
Stir constantly over low heat until all of the sugar has dissolved, then stop stirring and turn heat up to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and keep an eye on it– when the temperature reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat and stir the mixture into the gelatin.
Continue stirring until all of the gelatin has dissolved.
Place the bowl in a stand mixer or beat with a hand mixer on high until the mixture has turned white and tripled in volume– you want it to be very nice and fluffy. Don’t worry too much about scraping down the sides, as the mixture will stick to itself and pull itself into the center for the most part.
While that’s beating, separate two eggs. Discard the yolks– you only need the whites for this recipe.
Set the gelatin syrup mixture aside, and with clean beaters, beat your egg whites to stiff peaks. This will give you a light, airy, bubbly marshmallow rather than a flat, dense marshmallow. Trust me, you want them nice and airy!
Once you’ve got just-barely stiff peaks in your egg whites, set them aside and return the marshmallow mixture to the mixer. Add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of almond extract.
Turn the mixer on medium, and fold in the egg whites a bit at a time.
Smooth your marshmallow mixture into your powdered pan, and dust the top with sifted powdered sugar. Place this pan into the fridge for 3 hours or until the marshmallows are a bit firm and spring back when gently pressed.
Once the marshmallows have chilled long enough, turn them out of the pan onto waxed paper. With a greased knife or pizza cutter, cut your homemade marshmallows into small cubes.
Once your cubes are cut, roll the cubes gently into powdered sugar, making sure to coat each side– this will prevent them from sticking together when storing them!
Now that you have light, fluffy homemade marshmallows with no corn syrup, it’s time for the fun part of summertime snacking– the indoor S’MORES!!!
I really do think Snack Pack pudding cups bring back all the nostalgia of my childhood… I mean, how many of us spent summertime on the back patio, opening up a Snack Pack pudding cup and licking the top foil to get every last bit of pudding? I even have some old-school pictures of my son and I enjoying some Snack Packs late at night when he was about a year and a half old. That’s why I am SO excited that Snack Pack has released Snack Pack Naturals–plus, to get this Snack Pack Natural pudding, you don’t even have to go out of your everyday routine to get them… just pick some up at your local Walmart store when you’re doing your grocery shopping– I found mine at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market, in the aisle with the other Snack Pack puddings. Since they’re brand new, they may even have a super easy-to-find “NEW” tag by them!
So why Snack Pack Naturals? Because it’s a new line of Snack Pack pudding cups that have all natural ingredients with nothing artificial. That means there is NO High Fructose Corn Syrup and NO preservatives– it’s just all natural pudding deliciousness, which is exactly what I want my son to have when getting those same summertime memories as I had as a child.
It’s a better choice for our family as we start making more natural choices in our home and in the foods we eat. Plus, like I said, there’s so many millions of mix-in options to make a new Snack Pack creation pretty much anytime this summer!
My favorite summertime snack recipe with Snack Pack Naturals is inspired by my other favorite summertime treat… s’mores, of course. So to make the s’mores Snack Pack pudding cups, start by crushing half of a graham cracker in the bottom of a small cup. I just used little mason jars, but any small cup will work just fine!
Top with 1/2 of the Snack Pack pudding cup, then place a layer of banana slices on top. Adding banana slices is a great, kind of sneaky, way to add fresh fruit to a delicious s’mores snack!
Finish with the other half of the Snack Pack Naturals pudding container, then top with banana slices, your homemade marshmallows with Agave nectar, and some graham crackers.
If you aren’t a super S’mores-y person, you can also try the Strawberry Shortcake option… start with crushed graham crackers this time, too, then top with half a container of Snack Pack Naturals vanilla pudding. Layer in some strawberries, then add the remainder of the vanilla pudding. Top with more strawberries, a couple of small homemade marshmallows, and some graham crackers for a delicious strawberry treat!
The best part is, you can make these mix-in recipes right there in the pudding cup for an option with pretty much no cleanup, OR you can make them in cups for a fancier presentation.
- 1 Snack Pack Naturals chocolate pudding cup
- 1 Graham Cracker
- 1/2 Banana, sliced
- 2 Homemade Agave Nectar Marshmallows
- 3 1/2 envelopes gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Powdered sugar, around 1-2 cups total
- Crush 1/2 graham cracker in bottom of small cup or jar.
- Top with 1/2 Snack Pack Naturals chocolate pudding cup contents.
- Add several banana slices on top of pudding, then top with remaining pudding.
- Finish with additional banana slices, graham crackers, and homemade marshmallows.
- Pour gelatin on top of cold water in bowl of stand mixer. Let sit.
- Prepare syrup by combining sugar, remaining water, and agave nectar in pot on the stove. Stir continuously on low until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Stop stirring, turn heat to medium, and allow to come to a boil.
- When temperature reatues 240 degrees, remove from heat and pour into gelatin mixture.
- Stir until gelatin dissolves completely, then place on stand mixer (or use hand mixer) on high until mixture has turned white and tripled in volume. Set aside.
- Beat two egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add extracts to gelatin mixture, then fold in egg whites.
- Oil 9x13 pan, then coat with powdered sugar.
- Pour marshmallow fluff mixture into pan, then sift powdered sugar over the top. Chill at least 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, cut into cubes using a greased knife or pizza cutter, then roll cubes in powdered sugar.
- Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
- For a strawberry shortcake twist, replace the chocolate pudding with vanilla pudding and the banana slices with strawberry slices in the pudding cups.
- To change up the flavor of your homemade marshmallows, consider using other extracts in place of the vanilla and almond extracts-- mint is perfect around the holidays.
- Homemade marshmallow recipe adapted from SmittenKitchen and SkinnyTaste.
Plus, everyone loves a pudding cup, so not only is this the perfect snacktime treat for kids at a play date, but it’s also a yummy idea for your book club, dessert with the family after dinner, or enjoying with your favorite kiddo. For me, it’s something my son and I can both enjoy, and I feel really good about the fact that the homemade marshmallows and the Snack Pack Naturals neither one contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.
What will YOU mix in to your Snack Pack Naturals pudding cup? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to check out more awesome summertime recipes featuring Snack Pack Naturals by visiting the Snack Pack Naturals Social Hub!