Have you ever made Marshmallows from scratch? If not, as soon as you finish reading this post, check your pantry to make sure you have corn syrup and unflavored gelatin, because it won't be long before you are overcome with the compulsion to jump into the puffy abyss!
I have made Marshmallows a few times now. I started off with Ina Garten's Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. Making those a few times gave me the confidence to play around a bit, so I made pomegranate marshmallows (would be great in a tropical Ambrosia). If you've been following this blog for any length of time now, you are aware of my more recent uber-failed attempt at mallowing. As part of a Marx Foods challenge, I made homemade puffed brown rice and attempted a cocoa/chile pepper mallow to use with the rice in some krispie treats but managed to just drown the rice in a gooey mess (used waaaaay too much marshmallow for the amount of rice I had puffed).
Shauna Sever, who blogs as The Next Door Baker, has transformed mallowing into an extreme sport! With 90+ pages of crazy good ideas, Marshmallow Madness: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes offers up something for everyone -- several somethings for everyone actually.
Where to begin??? Okay, okay, at the beginning. Shauna opens with the basics, an introduction into the history of marshmallows and their primary ingredients, followed by what equipment you will need to have handy and her recipe for Classic Coating ... that stuff that lets you enjoy marshmallows without them getting stuck in your hair, on the sofa, your dog, etc. After that, she goes Willy Wonka on us! Heck, even the book itself is soft and squishy like a marshmallow. Here's a sampling of what I'm talking about:
|See how happy she looks. :)|
- Rootbeer Float Marshmallows
- Spiced-Cherry Marshmallows
- Maple-Bacon Marshmallows
- Mango-Chile-Lime Marshmallows
- Bubble Gum Marshmallows
- Chocolate-Filled Vanilla Marshmallows
- Pineapple Rosemary Marshmallows
- Jam Filled Marshmallows
Are you drooling yet? That's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Shauna has created vegan options, adult (boozey) mallows, drinkable delights, you name it. She covers everything from mini-marshmallows and braids to homemade graham crackers and everyone's favorite chickadees.
|I wasn't kidding about the Booze - Margaritas anyone?|
Not a drinker, what's wrong with you?! I mean, no problem! There's always the ....
|Sea Salt Caramel Swirl|
As soon as I flipped through the book, I knew immediately which recipe I wanted to try first - Shauna's Minty Mallow Cookie Sandwiches. I was actually planning to make minis, but I couldn't find those little boxes of chocolate cookies Nabisco used to put out. Do they still make those? Remember the kid-sized boxes of chocolate cookies like the little boxes of animal crackers with the string handle? I punted back to their Famous Chocolate Wafers, but I apparently messed something up.
They were as delicious as I was expecting, and I was certain I had followed the directions exactly, right down to making sure my candy thermometer read 240 degrees, but the mallow was too stiff to pipe. So stiff as a matter of fact that when I was trying to squeeze it through the icing tip, the seam exploded! I ended up scooping blobs of the minty confection onto the wafers, so they're not nearly as pretty as Shauna's. I tried to hide those messy edges with some toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, etc. I must have whipped for too long or something. :(
Aside from her awesome mallow creations, I also got a kick out of Shauna's bio, which notes:
"When not writing, baking, or taking care of her husband and their little girl, Shauna can be found hunting for great pastries, kitchen gadgetry and cookbooks and running the hills of San Francisco. She covets bowls that nest, cookbooks old and new, great cofffee and well-chilled moderately priced white wine, as well as laughing so hard that no sound comes out and singing loudly to classic rock."
I love the part about the laughing, but then I once laughed myself unconscious!
Easter is quickly approaching. Remember the Easter Basket Cheesecakes I made last year? Thanks to Shauna, if I decide to make them again this year, I can make my own braided marshmallow basket handles.
Truly, if you enjoy marshmallows, you need to pick up a copy of this book!
A big puffy thanks to the folks at Quick Books for providing me with a review copy. To coincide with the launch date for the book (released 2/28), they also have a Marsh Madness campaign going on...
"Quirk is also excited to announce Marsh Madness, a campaign that has wrangled up sixteen influential food bloggers from all over the country, each in the traditional March Madness brackets; West Coast, Southwest, East Coast, and SOutheast! Each food blogger will create their own spin on Shauna's Classic Vanilla marshmallow, competing to create the most original mallow. Major food blog Serious Eats will recap each week and announce Shauna's pick at the end of the bracket. Follow on Twitter using the hashtag #MarshMadness starting February 20th!"