Saturday, March 2, 2013

when the 'mallow's flaming...

Ten homemade marshmallow points for anybody who can name that movie...

Once you've had a real marshmallow, it's so hard to go back. I have nothing against Jet Puff. I was raised in a home where a proper cup of hot chocolate always had a mound of tiny marshmallows on top. And summer childhood dinners on the deck ended with a large flaming marshmallow roasted over the grill. Store marshmallows have their place, but if you have a stand mixer - make your own! The difference in texture and taste have turned me into a marshmallow snob (who still has store-bought marshmallows in her pantry for back up...).

The process to homemade marshmallow perfection is a tad bit messy. You have to work quickly to get the marshmallow fluff out of the mixer while it's still warm. Otherwise, be prepared for a giant hard-lava-like marshmallow mass in your bowl. This is the time to set aside the compulsion to get every last drop out of the bowl and into the pan. You won't do it. Don't attempt it. If you ignore my advice, you will be one hot sugary mess...I may know from experience...

If the process isn't simple, then why make your own? Three reasons you should give it a whirl:

1) The texture is radically different then store bought. When stirred into a cup of steamy hot cocoa a homemade marshmallow s l o w l y melts. Store bought will lose their shape and melt into the abyss in five minutes.

2) The flavor of traditional homemade marshmallows is deliciously vanillay. If you'd like you could use other extracts instead. Perhaps peppermint or raspberry - both great combined with a cup of hot chocolate.

3) The satisfaction that making candy-like things is not only for chocolate shops and kitchen divas. There is indeed beauty in the homemade. For the record: homemade marshmallows are not cost-efficient. It's cheaper to buy the store marshmallows when they go on sale for a dollar, but there's no adventure in store-bought. (unless you count navigating a cart through the narrow aisles of the supermarket on a Sunday an adventure...)

I use Bon Appetit's recipe and my marshmallows turn out perfect each time, but there are tons of similar recipes on the web. The only substitution I make is cornstarch for potato starch because I'm cheap and have never bought potato starch in my life.

Snuggle in with some homemade marshmallows floating in a dreamy swirl of hot cocoa and enjoy the last few remaining weeks of winter properly - hot cocoa in one hand, book in the other, and a blanket in your lap.

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