after all, they are America’s Favorite

I speak to you of none other than….marshmallows! They are a baffling food in every way. But there is no arguing the delicious taste of a marshmallow.
They are exquisite over a campfire when eaten off of a stick you found in the woods (and you pray that you found a stick long enough so you don’t singe your eyebrows off and that you found one that a nearby woodland creature didn’t recently use to relieve himself upon) and also equally exquisite when placed on chocolate and a graham cracker to create s’mores. They are tasty in the microwave when making a microwave s’more…no it doesn’t provide you with a blackened marshmallow the way the campfire does but it is delicious in the middle of winter when all you want to do is go outside without 4 layers of clothing on. There are a number of delicious recipes using marshmallows (a few will even appear at the end of this rave) try a few, you’ll be surprised at what a marshmallow can do for your spirits! There are also alternate uses for marshmallows. Besides being an acceptable food group while camping, hiking, and snacking you can also have no fear while throwing them at your friend or even family member.

There is one disclaimer that the Jet Puffed company (a Kraft family member) wants you to know: Only eat one at a time, there is a choking hazard! This means that some foolio tried to jam numerous marshmallows in their mouth and (surprise!) had trouble breathing. So don’t be a fucking moron, eat them on at a time. Hell, even cut them in half so that the kind Jet Puffed people can feel safe about you enjoying their product.

I will say that a marshmallow is divine. But stopping at the average marshmallow is not enough (they get all the glory anyways), there are flavor, size and consistency differences that need to be in the lime-light!

We have a popular hot cocoa and rocky road ice cream partner, the mini marshmallow. While there is no difference between the mini marshmallow and the average marshmallow besides their size, there is something delightfully child-like about eating a mini! Even if they are floating in your warmed winter cocoa or if you eat them by the handful as a snack they make you giddy while popping a few in your mouth. I did mention ice cream as a dandy of a partner for the mini’s…this is a combination that should go down in the record books. My favorite? Cotton Candy ice cream with mini marshmallows mixed in (thank you cold stone). But marshmallows are great and incredibly easy as an ice cream topping, remember this next time you want a topping change! And contrary to what my good friend M thinks, adults can order cotton candy ice cream with mini marshmallows in it and still be proud of her order! hehe

The elusive flavored marshmallow. The flavors are hit or miss at most grocery stores. The flavors are as follows: toasted coconut, chocoMallow, strawberryMallow and funMallow. I understand the coconut, chocolate and strawberry but what is a funMallow? And what does it taste like? What do you do with it? Until I can find a grocer that carries a funMallow I am left to amusing myself by thinking of a flavor. Perhaps orange? Or maybe Lemon-Lime. Who knows. But I will be losing sleep over this until I find the answer.

I have just recently found out that the Jet-Puffed brand has put out seasonal marshmallows. Did you know that? I live under a rock I suppose. They tag them as ‘holiday shaped marshmallows, perfect for snacking and decorating’. Holiday Mallows (holiday season of course) and Bunny Mallows (spring/Easter). I have never seen them (once again it is apparent that this grocer doesn’t care about our needs. Yes I said needs. Marshmallows are a need in my house.) They are actually quite delightful looking and I would not hesitate to pick up a bag or 3 to mindlessly eat in front of the tv.

Speaking of eating in front of the tv….my favorite variety of marshmallow is not in the shape of a marshmallow at all. It is marshmallow creme. It comes in a jar and normal people use it for baking I guess. I never have. For over 10 years I have eaten the marshmallow creme out of the jar by the spoonful. It is the best snack ever. Whatever. Don’t judge me. Have you tried it? No? Well, it rocks. But a jar for only $1.99 and discover how fantastic a shapeless blob of marshmallow is to snack on. Certain people (you know who you are) have been sworn to secrecy about how many jars of marshmallow creme I actually eat in a month, week or even a day.

Onto homemade marshmallows. And by this I do not mean ‘what you can make with marshmallows’. I mean making marshmallows from scratch. Hey, if Ina Garten can do it you can, right? RIGHT! It is easy! And they taste better than anything you can buy at the store.
Here is my favorite Ina recipe for Marshmallows:

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows (thank you Ina Garten and food network)
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 recipe Homemade Marshmallow batter, recipe follows
Confectioners’ sugar

Sprinkle half the toasted coconut in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners’ sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.

Homemade Marshmallows:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

And how great would strawberry or chocolate rice krispies treats be? Fantastic in my world! I also think that marshmallows are a staple in the dessert and fondue world. I cannot imagine a chocolate fountain or fondue pot that is complete without the addition of a funMallow. Unless they actually taste like spaghetti, earthworms or ear wax. But I guess those wouldn’t be very fun would they?

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