A few months ago (six to be precise) I was sent a cookbook on how to make marshmallows. As I am a little big of a gannet-gob when it comes to marshmallows, I jumped at the chance to find out how to make them. Unfortunately it's taken me until now to review it because I don't review items without trying them out first (otherwise it's a press release and I'm not a magazine) and I've had great difficulty finding pectin to use as opposed to the traditional gelatine; being a vegetarian I do try and avoid gelatine where possible, especially in my own cooking. Last weekend I found some (in an Asda I don't normally visit. Asda of all places!) and set to follow one of the yummy recipes.
Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever is a very attractive recipe book with intriguing marshmallow recipe beautifully written up and photographed.
The puffy cover gets you in the mood for marshmallows straight away, the inside cover provides a very comprehensive diagram of the different flavours and how they are split into four main base flavours with additional ingredients added. The Kahlua filled chocolate malt marshmallow grabbed my attention straight away! There are a huge range of other flavours from classic vanilla through to pumpkin spice, via margarita and the intriguingly titled fuzzy navel!
The main thing to note about this book is that it is written by an American author and therefore measurements are American (cups and ounces) and a few of the ingredients are different (corn syrup and confectioner's sugar). However, Google is a good friend at times like this and while Britain doesn't stock corn syrup, golden syrup or maple syrup are just as good, and confectioner's sugar turns out to be icing sugar.
I had a go at the deeply chocolate marshmallows which need dark unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder along with the usual ingredients. Well, in time honoured tradition in this house I didn't have any unsweetened cocoa powder so used normal drinking chocolate, and as I wanted The Boy to try it I used decaffinated coffee powder. The other notable difference, as previously mentioned, was the pectin as opposed to the gelatine, and golden syrup not corn syrup.
The recipe wasn't too hard to make, and involved four main parts of making 'the bloom' (softening the pectin), making the chocolate syrup, boiling the sugar mix up (difficult to know when you've reached 250°F without a thermometer) and beating the mallow ingredients together to make it rise to three times the volume. This is the only part that went a bit wrong and it could be for any number of reasons, most likely because I wasn't using gelatine.
After six hours of setting time, the end result was the final picture above. It tasted more like a chocolate jelly sweet than the fluffy sweet I'm used to, but it was tasty and moreish. The golden syrup was a very strong taste alongside the coffee, so possibly next time I'll use maple syrup instead.
I will be attempting other recipes from this book because it's quite a fun thing to make, and they'd be a nice delicacy at a party over the Christmas period, especially the buttered rum marshmallows. The author also includes a range of other recipes at the back of the book like Lemon Dream Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Marshmallow Roulade and Blonde Rocky Roadwhich would be great fun over the forthcoming months with Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night and Christmas coming up.
After well, what speaks more of Autumn and Winter than hot chocolate with marshmallows on top?
Marshmallow Madness is available from Amazon here or you could win a copy by filling in the Rafflecopter form below.
I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. My opinion is honest and unbiased.