“You can make marshmallows?!”
That was a question that was thrown at me yesterday in awe when I said that I had just finished making marshmallows. Yes, in fact, you can. Apparently, this person thought that marshmallows could only be purchased, much like I used to think about items like ketchup. But alas, you can make your own (although I’d advise all restaurants to stop making their own ketchups immediately. Please. If there’s horseradish in it you can no longer call it ketchup - that's cocktail sauce. And it’s an unpleasant surprise for unsuspecting patrons. I speak from experience. But I digress.) Marshmallows are quite easy if you have gelatin on hand, and if you don’t you can always find some at the grocery store, right next to the boxes of Jell-O.
So now that we’ve established that it is quite possible to make marshmallows, I need to ask you a question: how do you feel about coffee? I’ll share a few photos about my personal opinion on it:
Obviously I’m pro-just-about-anything-coffee, which is really convenient if you have a friend in the industry who gets free coffee beans. One of my best gal pals is now a roaster (not rooster) at this super cool new organic coffee place out in the Teton Valley called Alpine Air. When I mentioned to her that I had mocha s’mores on the brain, she didn’t hesitate to tell me all about the blends they make that would work well with the flavor profiles of the marshmallows and chocolate, and then she immediately asked for my mailing address so she could ship me some.
And holy moley does this stuff smell A-MAZ-ING. She sent me a sneak peek taster of their Honduran Honey blend and I shamelessly ripped open the bag and threw it in my coffee pot the very morning it arrived. I didn’t even have all the ingredients for the marshmallows yet, but this was all about taste-testing (purely for research!). It was the happiest cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.
But then this weekend came around and I had to get down to business. First step was to brew another round of this delicious java.
It was heavenly. I almost posted a blog just about this cup of coffee, but I figured I should do something a little more involved so I pressed on with my plan. I made a batch of marshmallows as per usual but instead of just adding vanilla to the mix, I added a hefty amount of this delicious brew. So much so that I was afraid the marshmallows wouldn’t set (this is why extracts are so useful - the flavor is very concentrated so you don’t end up adding much liquid to your recipes, which keeps them in working order).
Fortunately the marshmallows did set overnight, which was exactly my plan.
To help with the "setting", it's recommended to dust the marshmallows with powdered sugar. This draws out some of the moisture but also gives the outside of the marshmallows a dry surface so they are easier to handle. I took my dusting a step further and also added coffee grinds to the powdered sugar to give the coffee flavor an added boost.
Something to note about homemade marshmallows is that they are so much stickier than you will ever dream of. Imagine a time when you roasted a marshmallow over a campfire and then touched it. Remember how it stuck to your fingers, and then to the napkin that you tried to use to clean it up, and then if you’re anything like me you 100% got it in your hair. Because, wind. So imagine starting with that level of stickiness for homemade marshmallows, and then think about how much worse it got once I roasted it. They became liquid so fast! That’s part of why I used two skewers to hold each marshmallow before I toasted it - if I had only used one it would have completely fallen off of the skewer and created an even bigger mess.
Which brings me to my tip of the week. If you’re ever going to use a wooden skewer or a toothpick with any sort of heat element - whether it’s for kebabs on the grill, stove top marshmallow roasting, or anything else - it’s a good idea to soak your skewers in water before exposing them to heat and/or open flame.
As I showed in my video, the skewer quickly burned in just a few seconds of exposure to flame. Now imagine how it would go up in flames if you put it on your grill for kebabs! Always be safe when cooking, and think about how your tools are going to react in the environment you’re going to use them.
Also, I am probably the only pastry chef on the planet without a kitchen torch. I got a brand new torch and full bottle of butane just before I moved to Maui, but the movers wouldn’t ship the butane since it’s flammable. That wouldn’t have been a big deal except that they didn’t tell me, they just threw out my brand new tank of butane before I was ever able to use it. Great. So when I got to Maui, I tried to order a new butane tank for my torch, except that no one ships flammable products to private residents in Maui. There was no way around it aside from asking the people who smuggle fireworks into the island to smuggle a butane tank for me, and I just couldn’t do that (literally couldn't because I didn't know who they were). And now that I’m busy building a new life in California, I never even thought about buying a new tank. Until yesterday. #PoorPlanningOnMyPart 🤦🏻♀️
Fortunately I have a gas stove so I was able to improvise, but this project would not have been nearly as messy if I could have just torched the marshmallows.
So here they are, my very un-photogenic mocha s’mores made with some of the best darn coffee I’ve had in quite some time!
Happy eating, y’all!