Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mellow on the Mallows Already

Marshmallows are popping up all over the place.

I'm not talking about your average, everyday, run of the mill marshmallows. Oh no. These are "vegan" marshmallows... they are "old fashioned", they are "hand made", they are "artisan flavored", they are just expensive enough to make you feel like you are getting "something special".

I'm going to call them... Designer Marshmallows.

I'm seeing them in magazines, on cooking shows, in natural food stores.

To be honest, I am insanely jealous that I don't have a marshmallow factory so that I can take advantage of what I have determined is the current "Designer Marshmallow Craze". I can see the dollar signs now. I could have made millions (Not to mention the fact that I would get to say "I have a marshmallow factory" which is pretty bad ass).

Having said that, there is just something queer about it all.

I mean, honestly, I have known since I was a kid... since I was crapping my own pants, that there is something about marshmallows that just ain't right. The consistency just doesn't seem like something that god intended... it's just not something that occurs in nature. Plus, they are just so... American, so "Fat Free", so... Kraft.

Even then I clearly understood that they could only come from one of two sources. They were either the poo of magical fairies OR they came from a beaker. It was one or the other I just wasn't sure which at the time.

Later on, as I approached adulthood, I unconsciously concluded that they must in fact be made in a beaker and I left it at that. Which of course is true, although it wasn't until very recently that I realized that real marshmallows are just gelatin, sugar, and corn syrup beaten in a mixer.

Crazy, I know.
Anyone can make marshmallows!

You don't need a laboratory and an arsenal of creepy ingredients (although your grocery store brands still do include ingredients like artificial colour, artificial flavour, dextrose, modified corn starch, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, etc.).

Nope, all you need to make them at home is just some good old fashioned sugar, water, gelatin, corn syrup... get ta' whippin' and... bada bing, bada boom you got yourself some Designer Marshmallows. If you're feeling ambitious you could even give them as gifts this holiday season.

Of course Martha's makes them. Here's her recipe if you want to try 'em on for size:
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)
Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let it stand 30 minutes.

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust an 8 x 12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out.

Oww Girl, put those bitches in some hot chocolate this winter for a real mind bender.

So, yes. The marshmallow's making a comeback. That's great. Really. I'm totally supportive and truly happy for the marshmallow.

If for nothing else roasting marshmallows is second only to a barrel of monkeys on the fun spectrometer. That alone proves it's worthy of a lifetime of praise.

Viva la marshmallow!

... although I still think it's kind of queer. Just saying.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE marshmallows. They're the quiet snack.

swandalake said...

I love marshmallows...the quiet snack.