Walk down the aisles of any major grocery store these days and every special display is heralding the all-American summer pasttitme of eating something you’ve grilled outside on your patio. I dare anyone to show me an endcap right now of pumpkin pie filling or cranberry sauce. Right now it’s all about hot dog buns and kettle chips and baked beans and marshmallows for S’mores.
The basics don’t change shape from year to year; that’s usually something you can count on. Hot dogs are perennially tubular, baked beans come in cans, chips come in bags not boxes. So imagine my surprise when I saw yesterday (while buying hamburger buns which are unquestionably round) that marshmallows for S’Mores are now square. The plugs are still available, but they are in the baking aisle for making Rice Krispie treats. The marshmallows in the BBQ aisle are square! I get it, of course. Graham crackers are square, Hersheys are square. Why not square marshmallows? But it kinda messed with my sense of nostalgia, looking at those foursided confections. I bet they look stoopid on a skewer, I thought to myself, angry that retailers trifled with cherised objects of my childhood.
I came home a bit disillusioned and commented on Facebook that the sky was falling, I mean, that marshmallows are now square. I was comforted by FB friends who assured me they do not look stupid on the skewers, they make a nice S’More and more importantly, that homemade marshmallows have always been square. Homemade marshmallows? Is there such a thing?
Yes, a good friend told me and reminded me that I have her recipe for them in the cookbook she gave me. So to the cookbook I went and there they were!! I hear once you’ve had a homemade marshmallow you will never want a store-bought one again. So now of course, I must try them. I need to go shopping though. Hey ! Let’s all try them and share the love here. Yes! KEEP READING! Here’s my friend Linda Letellier’s Homemade Marshmallows:
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Oil a 9×13 baking dish. Line with file and lightly coat with more oil. In a large mixer bowl sprinkle the gelatin onto 3/4 cup of the water. Let stand to soften.
Place the sugar, corn syrup, 3/4 water and salt into large heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Add the vanilla.
With beaters at full speed, beat the syrup slowly into the gelatin and continue beating until mixture is stiff, about 15 minutes. Pour and push the mixture onto the foil-lined pan and smooth the top. Allow the mixture to rest, uncovered, at room temperature, 10-12 hours.
Sprinkle a board with powdered sugar. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the sugar. Remove the foil. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar. Cut into squares, roll each surface in more powdered sugar and put into airtight container. They keep only a few days at room temperature, but you can keep them frozen for months. Also, instead of just cutting them into squares, you can cut them into shapes with oiled cookie cutters.
I feel a contest coming on! Make Linda’s marshmallows. Send me a JPG at susan [at] susanlmeissner [dot] com. I will post the pictures to the blog, unnamed, on July 4. The winner with the most amazing square or non-plug shaped marshmallows – voted by you fine people – will win an advance reading copy of my next book, A Sound Among The Trees, which doesn’t even hit shelves until October!
(The book is rectangular by the way, just like all the rest.)
Let’s have your picures to me by midnight July 3, Pacific time. Go for it. I have the advance reading copies in my possession. You could be reading the new book by mid-July if you win.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to go buy a candy thermometer. I am thinking the one I used for grilling pork loin (which is tubular, in case you are interested) won’t work. . .