I was never a marshmallow person. That was my sister, who could eat a bag in a day when we were kids. I liked marshmallows fine in my hot chocolate, but I never considered them anything special the way that Jackie did. Until I saw this book. I was attracted by the lovely fuzzy cover and by the idea of homemade marshmallows. It was just so…out of the box. Original. Marshmallows would be something a little bit different to share with people, especially as a gift idea.
So when Quirk Books offered me the opportunity to review Marshmallow Madness, I was incredibly excited. Obviously, this book is for people who enjoy marshmallows. But I will admit, if you’re slightly above ambivalent about marshmallows, give it a try: as with any sweets, homemade is always nicer. The book starts with a simple vanilla marshmallow recipe and then leads to more complicated recipes: peanut butter and jelly marshmallows, creative marshmallow shapes, marshmallow creme and then finally to recipes which include marshmallows such as s’more cupcakes and cookie sandwiches.
Marshmallows can be difficult (a lot of different steps have to be taken simultaneously) and the book is good about describing them quite well – my one criticism would be that I would have enjoyed more photos of the different stages. To give you a bit of taste of the delicious marshmallows, I tried the chocolate filled marshmallows (and was forced to give them away because Beardy Boyfriend was over in Ireland and needed to come bearing gifts). That made me very sad. BUT then I remembered I could make more because we were now “out” of marshmallows and I felt much better. Beware this doesn’t happen to you…
Chocolate Ganache Filled Marshmallows (from Marshmallow Madness)
1 packet of gelatine (I buy the Dr Oetkers packets)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I buy the light Karo stuff from Ocado.com)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of classic coating (2/3 of it is icing sugar, 1/3 is cornflour)
2 ounces chocolate
2 tbsp heavy cream
Make sure you have 1/2 cup of cold water. Mix together with the gelatine in a small dish – be sure to whisk for several minutes. Place this to one side.
In a mixing bowl, place 1/4 cup of light corn syrup. Place to the side.
In a saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup light corn syrup. Heat and mix over a low heat until sugar has dissolved into liquid. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the contents into the mixing bowl. You will definitely need either a hand mixer or preferably, a stand mixer for this. Spoon mixing is not enough! Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes and then on high speed for 5 minutes. It should just be holding soft peaks (since there are stuffed marshmallows, you don’t want them to be as stiff)
In the meantime, heat the chocolate and cream for about 45 seconds, then stir together until the chocolate is totally melted and forms a smooth ganache.
Once this is all ready, lay out half of the marshmallow into either a paper-lined pan or into a mini muffin baking sheet (depending on if you want individual round marshmallows or a line of more square ones.) Add about 1/4 tsp of ganache into the centre of the marshmallow. Cover the ganache with the other half of the marshmallow.
Brush the coating (icing sugar and cornflour) on both sides of the marshmallows and cut them up.
Then, sadly…you may need to pass these off to be sent to friends in Ireland. But if you buy Marshmallow Madness, you can always make more! (Apologies for the grainy photos taken at the pub!)
Marshmallow Madness is available on Amazon and from booksellers across the US and UK. While Quirk Books were lovely enough to provide me with a copy, all opinions are my own!
I also published a guest post over at Rock Salt while she works away on NaNoWriMo. Check it out here if you’re interested! It’s a lovely Curried Apple Soup.