Marshmallow

Marshmallows are a fluffy confection with a history dating to early Egyptian times. The long list of marshmallow favorites includes Peeps, Mallomars, and candied sweet potatoes.
The fluffy marshmallow with its spongy texture and sugary taste is a perennial favorite. Popular for roasting over an open fire or for “S’mores” and Rice Krispie treats, they’re also a delight bobbing in hot chocolate or mixed into Jell-O salads.

As a confectionary treat, marshmallows are just as appealing – and fun - eaten by themselves.

History

Marshmallows were originally produced from the roots of the “marsh mallow” plant. The sap was blended with sugar and cooked until it thickened. Modern production no longer includes any plant products.

Varieties

Marshmallows are sold in plastic bags in large or small puffs and in dehydrated form. They are available as solid white or in a range of pastels, in seasonal colors, and in shapes. Gourmet shops also offer marshmallows dipped in chocolate, covered in coconut, and with fruit flavorings.

Marshmallow creme (also called fluff) is used for baking and toppings. Creme is gluten-free for vegetarian use and is also kosher.

Buying Tips

Gently squeeze the bag for freshness. Marshmallows feel much like fresh bread with no resistance and should bounce back.

Storage Tips

Bagged marshmallows will typically remain fresh for about three months if tightly sealed.

Creme should be refrigerated after opening and will keep for up to one year. Bring to room temperature for easier serving.

Usage Tips

To melt marshmallows, combine one 16-oz bag (either large or small puffs) and ¼-cup corn oil in a double boiler. Stir over low heat until smooth.

Creme will soften easily when warm water is added. Use for toppings and add flavorings if desired.

Marshmallows are easy to make at home with corn, egg whites, gum arabic, and gelatin. Experiment with food coloring and different extracts for unique flavors.

Add to chocolate fondue for a double-rich dipping sauce.

Precise measurement of marshmallows in recipes is not critical to the end result.

One cup of creme weighs about 3 ounces.


Try one of our favorite marshmallow recipes:
Butter-Marshmallow Eggs
Cookies N Creme Pie
by BigOven editorial team
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