on March 7, 2012
If you make and share anything from this book, prepare to be overwhelmed with people asking you things like, "you can make marshmallows at home?", "how did you do this?!", "how is it possible that these are so much better than marshmallows from the bag?!"...
My favorite thing about the book is that there is absolutely no ambiguity. The author tells you what brand of ingredients were tested, what she recommends, the exact temperatures required, which mixer setting to use and for how long. None of that, "mix on medium until it looks like some obscure substance you're not familiar with as a comparison." These details make the recipes so foolproof and will give you amazing results even on your first batch!
The book itself is also just so charming. The front and back covers are squishy, the images are beautiful and full of vibrant colors, the writing is witty and sweet. The recipes range from vanilla, which is simply amazing, to creative combos like maple bacon marshmallows - how fun! The book also includes a section of desserts that utilize marshmallows as a component if you're not into eating an entire pan of marshmallows... Not that there is anything wrong with that.
If you've ever had a fresh, made from scratch marshmallow, you know the flavor and texture is so different from the store-bought bags that it's like a different food entirely. The fresh one, that's what a marshmallow should be.
Shauna Sever starts her book with an introduction to the key ingredients, sugar, gelatin, water, salt, vanilla extract , coating and corn syrup. The corn syrup is used for consistent results in small amounts, substitutes can be tries and she suggests a few. I used an organic non-HFCS type that has worked well for me in the past, golden syrup would probably work as well. The coatings are the powders you cover the finished marshmallows in to keep them from sticking.
Then the tools, including tips on how to calibrate your candy thermometer and why you need a stand mixer.
She also explains how the recipes are broken down, starting with the "bloom" which is the process of blooming the gelatin, the syrup, which is what the candy is made from, and the mallowing, which is where you start mixing your bloom and syrup into a gorgeous mass of marshmallows, and the ingredients you might mix in at this point.
Then you get to the good stuff. The recipes. Almost all the recipes have variations listed as well.
She starts with nice, basic marshmallows. Vanilla, chocolate and filled marshmallows. She also includes a vegan recipe and one that uses egg white meringue. The meringue is my favorite for it's light, fluffy incredible texture. Also a recipe for the best marshmallow creme ever. It's the recipe I'll use most since it's very simple to make, and tastes amazing. She suggests it for frostings and fillings. I recommend it with peanut butter on crackers. She also has 2 recipes for graham crackers, one of them is gluten free and vegan.
The next chapter is fruity marshmallows which use purees, juices and essential oils for true to the original flavors. These can get some coloring from the juices used and would be perfect for parties.
Tips for shapes explains how to make very attractive marshmallows like the twisted ropes on the cover.
Happy Hour as alcohol infused treats for your next adult get together. Inspired by classic drinks with tips for mallowing with alcohol in the mix.
Then my favorite chapter. Gourmet treats. These are the marshmallow recipes that made me think of friends who would appreciate them, and this is the chapter that inspired my daughter. I like the salted ones, caramel and peanut too much. She likes the maple-bacon and the spicy Aztec chocolate. She gives tips for gift giving in this chapter.
Kids in a Candy Store are the brightly colored, candy flavored puffs that will thrill children with fun ideas for presentation.
The last chapter is full of recipes that use marshmallows, rice crispy treats, hot chocolate, a spicy hot vanilla, and a wonderful s'more cupcake that's toasted with a kitchen torch.
If you've had an interest in making your own marshmallows, I really recommend this book. It's gorgeous, with a softly padded cover, bright pastel illustrations and lots of full color photos. It also contains a lot of great ideas that can be a starter point to your own creations.
[I received a complimentary copy of the book to review on my craft blog- Don't Eat the Paste. My reviews are always my honest opinion]
on January 23, 2013
I don't purchase as many cookbooks as I would like because I usually feel that they aren't worth the 3-4 decent recipes I get out of them, but I am glad I made this purchase. Sometimes it's nice to have the book in hand rather than searching the net for good recipes and let's face it, this book is just cute.
Last night I made Passionfruit marshmallows. This particular recipe variation isn't actually in the book, but I based it on the Strawberry recipe and got great results. I'll admit, I was a bit wary of how they were going to turn out based on two factors. One, I have never made marshmallows with dividing the corn syrup like this book calls for. Then I wasn't sure if the amount of Passionfruit puree was going to be too acidic or watery. My fears were cast aside when this morning I turned out a nice pan of amazing treats! The tartness of the Passionfruit(Bioron brand)is amazing with the sweetness of the marshmallow.The texture of this marshamallow recipe is just perfect.
One thing that my husband pointed out in reading the recipe to me as I was keeping watch on the bubbling syrup was a slightly confusing reference regarding the bloom and gelatin. The recipes are broken down into Bloom, Syrup and Mallowing.I added the gelatin to the fruit puree which is now called the Bloom, but when the directions call for melting the gelatin in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften, my husband stopped and asked if I had already added the gelatin to someting. He pointed out that it should have been referred to as the Bloom. I could see how this could confuse someone. Once the gelatin has been added to a liquid, the remainder of the recipe it should be referred to as the Bloom.
I had to laugh at the two 1 star reviews. Come on people! One person obviously can't follow a simple direction if they were cooking a syrup and saving it for use days later. That doesn't warrant a 1 star review if you can't follow basic instructions. The other 1 star review was just weak! The person claims to be a professional chef and instructor and can't teach his/her students because the recipes aren't converted into metric measurements. Please!! This is a book for the US based home candy maker, not a professional kitchen. I spent 16 months at a very well known culinary academy and we were taught how to convert a recipe. It's called simple math.
on March 13, 2012
I've been eyeing out this book before it was actually released. I got my book today and it is so cute! The colors are vibrant and girly and the recipes are very thorough. The cookbook has a ton of fun marshmallow recipes like: Margarita Marshmallows, Sea Salt Caramel Swirl Marshmallows, Kool-Aid, Birthday Cake Marshmallows and more. There are also recipes for: Lemon Dream Whoopie Pie, S'mores Cupcakes and White Chocolate Malt Crispy Rice Treats. From cover to cover it is brilliantly put together. I am so happy I made this purchase!
Every cook should know how to make marshmallows, and this fine little one-topic cookbook will help you master the technique quite easily. It is nicely put together, and with at least 60 marshmallow recipes, the book provides a very nice assortment of marshmallow flavors. Plus, there are plenty more recipes and ideas for incorporating your marshmallows into other desserts, creating interesting shapes, and working the marshmallows into cones, on sticks, etc. In other words, besides the actual flavor recipes, the author provides plenty more recipes, ideas and inspiration to fuel your marshmallow madness.
The author utilizes a technique with which I was unfamiliar. It is quicker and easier than the method I had previously used. This author uses gelatin; not egg whites. She's got the process divided into three parts: Melting the gelatin (the bloom); creating the syrup, and "mallowing" (putting it all together). She incorporates flavoring in all three steps. Dividing the process into three steps seems to help simplify the recipes for me.
I got interested in making marshmallows after reading an article in one of the cooking/food magazines several years ago, and I'd been using those few recipes with my own variations to make marshmallows for my Christmas cookie trays. I liked the variety that the marshmallows provided. But the process was time-consuming. Now, with these new recipes, I might just become a marshmallow-makin'-fool!
And, last but not least: You've got to just love the puffy hard cover of the book!
on April 29, 2014
Everyone thinks marshmallow-making requires some unattainable kitchen magic; this books shows you how easy it is to make fantastic homemade ones. Great variety of recipes and lots of helpful techniques. Pretty, too! The chocolate-filled ones and boozy peach ones are my favorite.
***WARNING*** Once you try homemade marshmallows, you're ruined. You'll never eat another store-bought one again.
on July 16, 2012
I've been making homemade marshmallows for years using a recipe I got from Martha Stewart magazine, but it's for a plain vanilla marshmallow. The only way I felt confident flavoring it was with LorAnn oils, which are hit or miss in their flavor. I was really excited about this book's wide variety of unique flavors and ideas. I haven't been able to put the book down since I got it. It's so much fun to flip through!
The only snag I ran into is that even though I calibrated my candy thermometer precisely and followed the author's tips regarding temperature, I found that when I cooked the syrups to her recommended temperatures they got too hard and turned to hard candy as soon as I poured them into the mixer. However, when I ditched the candy thermometer and warmed the syrups just enough to melt the sugar I got PERFECT results. I'm enjoying the maple bacon marshmallows right now. So delicious! I can't wait to try every recipe in this book!
on May 17, 2012
So, I never thought that I needed to learn to make marshmallows. A. I don't love marshmallows from the bag, and B. It had to be hard, right?
Well, turns out...homemade marshmallows are DELICIOUS and nothing like those things you had a camp to make s'mores.
Shauna walks through every step, I really felt like she was holding my hand, and she makes making marshmallows FUN!!! Not to mention, the flavors she comes up with?!? I want to make every.single.one. I received my book YESTERDAY and have already started.
Think you don't need, or can't make, homemade marshmallows? You're wrong. You need this book.
on April 11, 2016
As a marshmallow aficionado with a highly developed palate for marshmallows, it is my expert opinion that the recipes in this book make the best marshmallows ever. A huge variety of flavors and very clear recipes. Even directions for fluff and mini marshmallows. I also appreciate the author's great sense of humor. I have made a lot of these marshmallows and they have been a big hit. I made "Peeps" for Easter and my family actually preferred them to the real thing. I get requests for different flavors. I also appreciate the tips and suggestions for getting creative with your own ideas for marshmallow making and using the marshmallows. A word to the wise though, candy making can be tricky so it's important to follow the recipes precisely and it really helps to have the right tools.
on July 3, 2012
Ever since making a recipe from Martha and experiencing how amazingly light, fluffy, and flavorful homemade marshmallows can be, I've been a convert - and overall, the recipes in this book don't disappoint. I've made several of the flavors so far (salted caramel and layered marshmallows with peanut butter and grape jelly) and they've all been fantastic. My only issue is that I've had some difficulties with the consistency/curing of the marshmallows. The author tells you to spray the pan you're using with nonstick spray, but I've found that this makes my mallows oily and seems to prevent them from curing entirely; I prefer Martha's method of coating the bottom of your pan with confectioner's sugar. (Another difference - Shauna tells you to use cornstarch as the coating, but I've always used confectioner's sugar.) Also, with the swirled marshmallow recipes (like the salted caramel), if you don't mix enough of the marshmallow batter with the "mix-in", that part of the marshmallow won't cure - I found this out the hard way when I cut into my marshmallows and they were gooey and not set (but still delicious).
Overall, I would recommend this book - and that everyone make some homemade marshmallows immediately!