The marshmallow train moves forward as I finally brought a bit of my madness to the masses. A friend who directs a local culinary school had asked me on board to teach a class on boozy marshmallows and last Friday was the big day.
My plan was to treat the evening class like a cocktail party, so I dolled up and packed up and joined the brave souls who had committed their Friday evening to Marshmallow Madness.
Joan, my cooking school friend, and her staff did an amazing job creating that party vibe. On display (and yes, for sampling) were the batches of lager, margarita, and vanilla bean marshmallows I’d made earlier that day.
I whipped up bourbon ‘mallows in class and while it wasn’t my best hair day, the ‘mallows were a hit.
My objective for the class was to convince folks that making marshmallows is 1) easy and 2) fun. As well, I wanted them to feel comfortable improvising. Up to half (maybe more, I’ve yet to try) of the liquid in any recipe can be replaced by spirit, soda, or juice of your choice. Marshmallows are also good for stir-ins (mini chocolate chips, anyone?) and coatings (toasted coconut, please). Possibilities are limited only by the cook’s imagination.
We sampled a number of different recipes, all varying in amounts of egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and liquid. The Miette vanilla bean marshmallows were drier and less sticky to make, but the downside is that they don’t stay fresh as long. (Though fresh marshmallows tend to disappear quickly so shelf life may not be an issue.)
Shana Sever’s margarita ‘mallows were the most “wet,” which some people love and others not so much. Yet all of the recipes I’ve tried from Sever’s book have stayed fresh for as long as I’ve managed to keep them around. Sever’s don’t contain egg whites; Alton Brown’s (in which I substituted lager for half of the water) do.
There’s plenty of variety in marshmallow making and I encourage anyone who has even the slightest bit of interest to give it a go. The hardest part is the cleanup–and soap and hot water are all you need to dissolve the sticky, sugary mess left on beaters and in the bowl.
More marshmallow-making fun: