There is cooking. There is baking. And then there is culinary alchemy. There are several dishes that fall into that mysterious category. There is cinder toffee – you will likely know this better as honeycomb or the filling for those Crunchie bars, a tooth-achingly sweet confection made from sugar and raising agent that produces golden magma as if from a candy volcano. And there is Marshmallow, which expands in volume to fill your bowl with a fluffy cloud of sweetness.
The author of Marshmallow Madness knows first-hand that the public-at-large believe these airy treats to be impossible to replicate: she was stopped at US airport security (the very prospect of which starts my heart a-pounding) when carrying a tin of home-made marshmallows. They could not believe that it was possible to make them from scratch in a domestic kitchen. If you can charm a US security officer with food then I for one will be taking a batch of marshmallows on every trip.
The recipe and technique for making marshmallows is simple, but an electric whisk is essential. Gelatine, corn syrup (UK cooks can use substitutes such as Golden Syrup) and cornflour play key parts in their manufacture, along with the aforementioned appliance, and combine to create a mousse that sets to a cuttable consistency. Light, sweet and fun to eat.
The marshmallow virgin might like to start with the classic vanilla variety. These are the puffy white squares that we customarily buy in the supermarket. This recipe will introduce you to the process of mixing and beating the ingredients. Once you have the hang of that you’ll be able to progress to the other varieties on offer in Marshmallow Madness.
One might think that marshmallows are just fun munchies for kids, but there are some marshmallows that are strictly for adults. These are based on cocktails and they would be delightful as a petit four at the end of a dinner party. Margarita Marshmallows contain lime juice and, yes indeed, tequila. Buttered Rum Marshmallows would finish a winter’s night dinner in fine fashion, and the Crème de Menthe Marshmallows are stunning to look at as well as being delicious.
Marshmallow Madness will add to your culinary repertoire and surprise your guests. Marshmallow ingredients are readily available and won’t break the bank. They make unique gifts and can be adapted with flavourings and coatings for any occasion. A charming and attractive book.
Cookbook review: Marshmallow Madness
Author: Shauna Sever
Published by: Quirk Books
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018