These Palitaw Marshmallows Turn the Filipino Kakanin into a Light-Ish Dessert

October 27, 2019

The best part about palitaw is the novelty to which it owes its name. The kakanin is made using glutinous rice flour turned into patties. These are cooked in boiling water; and once ready, they float (in Tagalog, “litaw,“) to the top. Then, they’re tossed in coconut, sugar, and sesame seeds before serving. We’ve turned the snack into something more dessert-worthy. Don’t get us wrong, the classic palitaw is great as is. But you can only eat so much after a meal.

Eat these palitaw by litaw.

To keep the “litaw” aspect, we turned palitaw into marshmallows. (Get it?) All the flavors are there. Although, you might want to lay off on the sugar a bit, since the marshmallows are pretty sweet already. This recipe makes large marshmallows. But feel free to cut smaller, bite-sized pieces for easy consumption.

Palitaw Marshmallows

  • Serves: 4-6 people
  • Active time: 45 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins + overnight
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Special tools: Stand mixer, Thermometer



  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 3 tbsp. powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup glucose or light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil + more for greasing

Palitaw Coating

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup white sesame seeds, toasted
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar


  1. In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and cornstarch. Set aside in an airtight container.
  2. Add ½ cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin over water and leave to bloom.
  4. In a saucepan, add the remaining ½ cup water.
  5. Add in the white sugar and glucose or corn syrup.
  6. Turn heat on to high and let syrup mixture boil until it reaches 240F.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Turn on the stand mixer with water and gelatin on low and run for 30 seconds to break up the gelatin.
  9. Turning the speed to medium, slowly pour in the syrup on the side of the bowl.
  10. Once all the syrup is in the mixer, turn heat to high and whip until thick, fluffy, and opaque, about 8-10 minutes, adding the coconut oil in between.
  11. While the marshmallow is whipping, oil a 9×9 inch pan, a rubber spatula, and a sheet of plastic wrap.
  12. Transfer the whipped marshmallow to the pan and flatten using the oiled plastic wrap.
  13. Allow marshmallow to set overnight at room temperature.
  14. To make the palitaw coating, combine shredded coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  15. Once the marshmallows have set, cover a surface in the coating mixture.
  16. Turn out the marshmallows from the pan and onto the dusted surface.
  17. Cover the exposed marshmallow in more coating.
  18. Using a greased knife, cut the marshmallows equally into large squares. You should have 16 large pieces.
  19. Coat all sticky surfaces of the marshmallow with palitaw coating and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.​
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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