When's the last time you enjoyed a bowl of Lucky Charms? Chances are, the last time you did, you may have thought to yourself: "What are those hard, little 'marshmallows' exactly?"
They have a flavor comparable to their air-puffed cousins, but the same can’t be said for the texture. So what’s the real deal with those Lucky Charms?
According to the ingredient label, the cereal's marshmallows are made with “sugar, modified corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, calcium carbonate, yellows 5&6, blue 1, red 40, and artificial flavor,” which, when broken down, is essentially just sugar, corn starch, gelatin, preservatives-- with some artificial additives to provide flavor and those signature rainbow colors.
But how close to marshmallow is that?
Pretty close, it turns out. Kraft’s marshmallows are also primarily made with sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, preservatives, and artificial colorants. So it seems as if the only real difference is that bagged marshmallows are puffy-- and Lucky Charms’ marshmallows clearly are not.
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The cereal marshmallows just aren’t “whipped” like traditional marshmallows, which get a little help from “whipping aid” tetrasodium pyrophosphate--which doesn’t sound very appetizing-- but is a chemical compound used in many foods as a stabilizer that also prevents deflation and dehydration in processed foods.
So there you go-- Lucky Charms marshmallows really are marshmallows. We just wouldn't recommend them for making s'mores.