Saturday, December 8, 2012

This Week's Experiment: Marshmallows

My wife wanted to toast marshmallows in the fireplace, so after a couple of weeks of saying I'd try to make some I finally pulled the trigger.

Why make 'em when a bag can easily be picked up at the store?  Other than that they taste better, three more reasons:
  1. They're extremely easy.
  2. Have you seen what's in store bought marshmallows? Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Corn Starch Modified, Water, Gelatin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate A Whipping Aid, Flavor(s) Artificial, Color(s).  Sounds good huh?
  3. Make any flavor you want. Dark chocolate, key lime, coffee, salted caramel, and uh, boozy flavors too like Grand Marnier or Bourbon.
For our first batch, we went with Earl Grey Tea, a corn syrup free recipe, and pulled out my Mom's seriously old school candy thermometer to assist.

We toasted some in the fireplace last night and made s'mores.  Delish.

A little history about the marshmallow from Local Milk...
The original Marshmallow from which all other marshmallows sprang was a mysterious, honeyed confection of ancient Egyptian origin, possessed of magical, medicinal properties. The marsh-mallow plant, so named because it could be found growing on the banks of salt marshes does in fact possess cough suppressant & wound healing properties [and is good for indigestion too].  
The evolution of the marshmallow can be later traced to France, where French confectionaries would whip the sap with sugar to make a fluffy candy that bears more resemblance to the modern mallow. This candy, called p√Ęte de guimauve, was lightened with egg white meringue and commonly flavored with rose water. Made by local artisans, it was a labor-intensive process to extract the sap, but with the advent of new technology and the substitution of gelatin for marshmallow sap, it became possible to mass-produce them. As such, there is no actual marshmallow in modern marshmallows.

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