The Trouble with Marshmallows

Marshmallows seems so easy. And maybe they are, and I just haven’t yet figured that out.

Gelatin and water, to soften, while you cook the sugars, then whip the egg whites, add some more sugar and start combining. Okay, you need to get the sugar to the right temperature, and you have to time everything just so to avoid scorching the sugar or cooking the eggs. Well, maybe not so simple.

The sugars, once scorched, made for a very pretty display when I dumped them onto parchment. What started as a big blob became a drizzle that could be drawn and swirled and spun into beautifully thin threads. And for some reason, it tastes a bit like cotton candy, which I suppose is really just spun sugar. Perhaps there’s another confection down that path — I’ll have to remember that.

So I start over with the sugar, and this time it seemed to work. Maybe the problem was with the gelatin, or the eggs. Whatever the problem, the marshmallows were too thin, not fully set, and incredibly sticky.

But tasty, and not like cotton candy. Not like out-of-the-bag marshmallows, either. Tasty like sugar and egg whites and vanilla (with lots of the tell-tale vanilla seeds just to prove the point). Heather sandwiched it between layers of chocolate, with toasted pecans on one side, which certainly is delicious. But when I get this recipe right, I definitely want to offer them au naturale as well.

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