Valentine’s Day: Make All the Marshmallows!
I’ve been on a marshmallow-making kick lately. I’ve made vanilla bean, chocolate-Grand Marnier, amaretto dipped in almonds and chocolate, and chocolate covered strawberries. Next I plan on lemon, stuffed marshmallows and vegan marshmallows. Why, you ask? Because happiness and marshmallows are pretty close to being the same thing. Fluffy, pillowy, flavorful, fun to melt on a stick and smoosh in between pieces of chocolate and graham cracker. There are a lot of similarities between the two.
Also, it’s surprisingly easy.
I’ve tried a few recipes, but my favorite is this one from Cooking Light. It gives me consistently good results even when I vary the flavors.
For the vanilla bean marshmallows, I skipped the coconut and added in the seeds scraped from two vanilla bean pods. You could also use a hefty tablespoon of vanilla bean paste. They’re delicious and perfect for a cup of red velvet hot chocolate.
For the chocolate-Grand Marnier marshmallows, skip the coconut and vanilla. Once you’re at the stage where you’ve basically created “marshmallow fluff” (just before you go to spread the batter out into a prepared pan), add in a tablespoon of Grand Marnier and half a cup of cocoa powder. Don’t add too much of the alcohol and definitely don’t add it before the batter is super thick and fluffy, and essentially “done.” Otherwise it won’t set up right. Instead of powdered sugar, dust the marshmallows with a mixture of cocoa powder and cornstarch.
Same thing for the amaretto. Skip the coconut; keep the vanilla. Add a tablespoon of amaretto at the end of the mixing stage. Then, after the marshmallows have set and been cut, dip them in melted chocolate (thinned with a bit of crisco if necessary) and chopped almonds.
And for the strawberry, skip the coconut and vanilla. Near the end of the mixing time, add in a couple tablespoons of good strawberry extract (and taste the batter once it’s mixed in; see if you want to add more) and 12-15 drops of red food coloring (more for a darker color). Mix until that is thoroughly incorporated. If you’d like, after they’ve set and been cut, dip them in some dark chocolate.
Once your marshmallows are set, you can cut them however you like. I usually get 16 pretty big marshmallows, or 25 reasonably sized ones. They’re dense and chewy and have great texture, and they’ll make a fun homemade gift for friends and loved ones for Valentine’s day…or any day. Enjoy!