Monday, November 05, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Marshmallows

Page 267 in the old book / page 293 in the new book

No more cookies, but Maida ends the book with a couple of lagniappes. First up - marshmallows. If you've never made marshmallows before, it's worth doing at least once. It's really not difficult, and the end result is very satisfying. Maida points out that few people know what marshmallows are made of, and my experience was similar. In fact, one person seemed to think I had made my marshmallows from... marshmallows!

Marshmallows are made from gelatin and a sugar syrup (actually a combination of sugar and corn syrup). The hot sugar syrup is beaten into the gelatin, forming a dense foam that sets as it cools. Maida's recipe uses only vanilla as the flavoring, but Jocelyn over at Brownie Points gives a recipe for strawberry marshmallows along with lots of flavor variations. When you figure in coatings, etc., the possibilities are truly limitless.

I have it on good authority that Maida Heatter's mixer of choice is an old Sunbeam, so I was a little concerned that the 15 minutes beating time would be too much with a Kitchenaid. I decided to use the paddle rather than the whip (the last time I made marshmallows the recipe called for a whip attachment and had a beating time of 5 to 7 minutes). Beware - there'll be hot syrup flying around at first, so I wouldn't crank it all the way up right away. I started at 6 and moved up to 8, then briefly to 10, but decided to keep it at 8. I didn't think about using the pouring shield until afterwards, but if you have one use it. I beat the mixture about 13 minutes and then started worrying about the mixer overheating and decided that was enough. In fact, it was probably too long - I had trouble spreading the mixture in the pan. Rather than using aluminum foil and shortening, I lined the pan with parchment and oiled the parchment lightly.

Here's the panel ...

Suzanne: "Yum! These were delicious. I could definitely have a few of these. The marshmallows had just the right amount of sweetness. I’d love them in hot chocolate or roasting them over a fire. Rating - 5.0"

Denny: "I'm not a marshmallow person, except for s'mores, but these were very good. 3.0 with -1 penalty. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "Yummy and gooey... like a spoonful of fluff dipped in powder sugar. Rating - 4.5"

Terri: "These are much better than the store-bought-in-a-bag type marshmallow. The difference is they aren't as airy and they're softer. Absolutely delicious! Can't wait to try them on hot chocolate tonight. Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.4

Next week - Cheese Pennies

Nutrition Facts


santos. said...

i'm with denny on this one, just not a marshmallow person--homemade or not. still, you're right, it's worth doing at least once (to find out if you like them or not!).

Nupur said...

Those look like such a treat! And I learnt a new word from you today: lagniappes. such a cool word :)

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to make marshmallows. I think I'll have to finally give it a try.

I can't believe there's only one week left! Mondays are going to be a bit of a letdown after next week!

Rowena said...

You know, I think this is the first time that I noticed any mention of a panelist trying a sample later at home. Lucky people! So they do get to keep the leftovers!

reid said...


I am not really big on marshmallows, but I do want to try and make them. I have heard that they are super easy to make, and if I could just make them in flavors I enjoy (durian? blueberry?), maybe I would like them.

Who knows.

Sorry to see the Mondays with Maida project ending. Perhaps you will be able to secure a book deal like Julie Powell did. :)

Heleen said...

Hi Cathy,
The marshmallows look delightful. I love them myself, and made raspberry and strawberry marshmallows before, with succes. They are over the top if dipped in bitterweet chocolate ;o) (but what isn't, ha!). Your look delicious, like a soft cloud of sweet goodness ;o).

I'm so sorry to see the Mondays with Maida end! Have you got anything in else in mind as a project, or are you just going to enjoy your weekends off first?

Cathy said...

Hi Santos! I'm not much of a marshmallow person either, but I've always gotten a kick out of making things that you don't normally think of as homemade. I do love a chewy marshmallow generously coated in dark chocolate though :)

Hi Nupur! Thanks! I don't get many chances to use that word, but this seemed like a good one :)

Hi Ann! They really are easy and fun to make. They would be so wonderful dunked in chocolate, but I've never tempered chocolate... I'll have to try that someday!

Hi Rowena! Oh, I work hard to get rid of all the goodies before I go home :) With the marshmallows I was pretty sure there were far more than we'd consume that day, so I put my trusty box of sandwich bags out next to them right from the start.

Hi Reid! I've never tried making flavored marshmallows, but the idea fascinates me. I don't see (or want, actually) a book deal in my future, but I've got some ideas for a new project that hopefully everyone will find interesting!

Hi Heleen! Oh my, raspberry marshmallows in bittersweet chocolate - my mom would be in seventh heaven! Yes and yes - I think I will take a little break, but then I do have something new planned. It will be quite different from Mondays with Maida - I give some hints shortly after Mondays with Maida wraps up.

Anonymous said...

I am a big marshmallow fan but I never bothered to find out what they were made of. Interesting. And Maida prefers a Sunbeam mixer? That, too, is interesting. I guess I'm always curious about what great chefs/bakers use.

Leigh said...

I've never really cared for marshmallows, but I really want to try this! Thanks for the idea and the recipe link.

Cathy said...

Hi Mari! Hmmm... maybe you could expand your cookie line and make beautiful decorated candies! How about a chocolate-coated marshmallow with a Mari-styled tiger or dog on top :)

Hi Leigh! I'm so tempted on those flavored ones as well. What great Christmas gifts they would make!

Jocelyn:McAuliflower said...

glad those went over so well!
I agree- they make great presents, esp as they last for awhile before going stale.

Last christmas I gav away tasting kits with green tea, ginger lemon, peppermint and sesame marshmallows. It was alot of fun.


Cathy said...

Hi Jocelyn! Wow, that sounds ambitious - I was thinking maybe one flavor ;) I'll bet your friends were thrilled with their gift - it really does sound like fun!

Anonymous said...

Well, count me as one of those who didn't know how to make marshmallows. You are very brave :)

Anonymous said...

I've yet to make marshmallows, but now that it's starting to cool off, I'm definitely considering it :). Your are persuading me to make some, they look great!