Sunday, August 16, 2015

Make Mine (Own) Marshamallow!

I've always loved marshmallows, especially the giant ones. The only brand I indulged in (especially after I left home for college), though was Kraft. Those other brands just didn't seem to have the right flavor or texture. That said, the only other brand I took a liking to was Stay-puft. I mean, who's going to argue with their spokesmallowman? 

"It's the Stay-puft Marshmallow Man."
When I was in college I discovered that there wasn't anyone who was going to tell me I couldn't buy myself a bag of giant marshmallows for my birthday, so for four years I did just that. Oh, I bought myself marshmallows at other times, but I made it a tradition to always get a bag specifically to celebrate my birthday. Share? Are you kidding? Those babies were mine, all mine!

Though I enjoy having marshmallows in my hot cocoa or just raw  out of the bag,  I don't care for s'mores. Milk chocolate? Ugh! 

A Word About S'Mores ("No Thank You"):

I didn't do any camping when I was growing up. In fact, my first time sitting around an actual camp fire didn't happen until I was in college. There I was, surrounded by peers from around the country, facing a blazing hot pile of flaming wood when the topic of s'mores came up. I had no idea what the heck they were talking about, I'd never heard of s'mores. Then they started making them. I watched in awe as these people proceeded to do what they all must have done around dozens of campfires as kids, resulting in a gooey mess of a "sandwich" that made me think they were all crazy. I understood the concept of toasted marshmallows but combining them with chocolate and graham crackers? Yeah, no. 

A Word About S'mores ("No, Thank You") Ends

As I said, I like marshmallows. Michele? She loves marshmallows. She'll eat cereal with marshmallows in it for a snack. She loves Peeps. She adores Rocky Road ice cream. Her favorite cookies are Mallowmars. A couple of years ago, I used the marshmallow recipe I found in the Bi-Rite Ice Cream recipe book to make her my own version of Mallowmars, but that's a different blog post. Let's just say, it was a qualified near-success.

A couple of weeks ago she was going to be out of the apartment all day at a work thingy. I knew I would have time to take care of some errands and to also prepare her a surprise batch of marshmallows. Actually, the idea came to me after watching one of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" episodes. It was about marshmallows and his recipe seemed like it would work perfectly for me. At the very least it wasn't as convoluted a recipe as the Bi-Rite's and that couldn't hurt.

When time came for Michele to leave for the work thingy, I very calmly kissed her good-bye and then set out to run my errands and get back in time to make the marshmallows so that they'd be ready by the time she got back. I don't think she noticed me practically shoving my proxy peach pie into her hands and pushing her out the door. I don't think.

I'm just getting into working in the confectionery world, and though there were areas of my process that could definitely stand some improvement and refinement (perhaps I need a different style of candy thermometer), what I ended up with was most definitely better than any marshmallows I've ever had before!


Chock full o' mallows!


Even better up close.

I think I might have to start a new birthday tradition.

When Michele (finally) got home, I had a bowl of marshmallows sitting ready for her. When she finally saw them – walked right by them, she did – the smile on her face let me know that I'd done a very, very good thing. And the look of ecstasy that replaced the smile when she popped one in her mouth let me know that the good thing was delicious. I took the bulk of the remainder to the standing Saturday night dinner engagement we have with friends and shared them with the table. I was left with very few to take back home with me. A good day, I think!

One question remained, though: Would they stand up to toasting? There was only one way to find out. Tonight we broke out the kitchen torch, found some bamboo skewers and Michele put the heat to the mallow.

Roasty.

Toasty.

Browny.

Caramely!
I think it held up rather well. And Michele pronounced it "delicious" so that settled the matter.

Someone mentioned that we should descend on the home of some friends in Connecticut and commandeer there fire pit and toast up a batch of these. I might just be up for that....

Currently listening to: Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go

 


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