Make these simple and delicious marshmallow lollipops instead of the usual baked cookies or cupcakes to take to your next party or social gathering. Dress up your fluffy lollipops with festive colors and miniature candies, and give them as gifts. Get young children involved in the decoration process, and let them sample the sweet treats. Cook the marshmallows for a fresh flavor, and cut them into shapes, such as stars, circles or hearts, for a personal touch.
Spray oil onto the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan, or line the pan with wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. powdered sugar over the bottom of the pan.
Mix 2 tbsp. and ¾ tsp. gelatin and ½ cup water in a large bowl.
Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan, and cook the mixture on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally as the sugar melts. Set the heat to high after the sugar dissolves. Cook until the sugar mixture reaches 250 F on a candy thermometer.
Beat the gelatin mixture continuously with an electric hand mixer set on low speed as you add the hot sugar mixture. Turn the mixer up to high speed, beating for approximately 10 minutes, or until the mixture develops a fluffy white consistency. Add the vanilla extract, and beat at low speed for approximately 15 seconds, or until the extract is incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your hands, and use them to press the marshmallows down into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Leave uncovered overnight so the mixture sets up.
Flip the formed marshmallows over onto a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares, and toss the marshmallows with powdered sugar.
Insert a pretzel stick into the side of each marshmallow. The pretzel should stop in the center of the marshmallow and not pierce through the other side.
Heat the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Check the chocolate to make sure it is melted, but not hot enough to melt the marshmallows. Dip the end of each marshmallow or the entire marshmallow, depending on your preference, into the melted chocolate coating.
Roll the marshmallow in coconut or nuts, if you choose to use these for decorating your lollipop. Sprinkle colored sugar, sprinkles or edible glitter on the end, if you prefer sugar-coated lollipops. Stick each of the finished marshmallow lollipops in a drinking glass with the marshmallow side upward.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour to let the lollipops set.
Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.