I have a friend whose family owns a local blueberry farm. Because blueberry season is so short I threw caution to the wind and was like, “What the hell! Why not order 10 pounds of blueberries?” So I did. Do you know how many blueberries are in 10 pounds? A LOT. So here I am trying to figure out what am I going to do with all these very perishable, exceptionally delicious, and insane amount of blueberries. First, I made blueberry yogurt. That only used up half a pound. Besides having a giant bowl of blueberries with every meal and snack I still have find uses for the berries. Obviously marshmallows were one of the first goodies to make on my list.
Making marshmallows has become second nature to me. They are quick to make and, to be honest, you can charge a lot more for them because the price of the ingredients can be pretty cheap. However, using fresh local blueberries and Lye’s Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup really make these a luxury treat. That’s OK. I ground up freeze dried blueberries to coat them. Because blueberries. These are some of the most tender mallows I’ve ever made. They practically pop in your mouth like a real berry would. With the right marketing I could sell them as a healthy sweet treat- mostly because people will create excuses to eat bad things. Shut up and take my money.
Blueberry waffles for breakfast. Blueberry Jam. Blueberry Smoothies. Blueberry ice cream. Not even Iron Chef would know what to do with this many blueberries.
I’ve been dying to make raspberry marshmallows for ages. I wanted to use freeze dried raspberries. I thought I could pulverize the raspberries to powder with my vitamix and coat the marshmallows with it. I was right!
I’ve had a very difficult time finding freeze dried fruits, though. On my last trip to Trader Joe’s I stumbled upon them by the nuts and literally squealed while doing a little dance. Holy Mother of God and All Her Wacky Nephews, I couldn’t believe my luck! The women next to me said “Damn, she’s excited about fruit!” She looked more than a little embarrassed for me. I couldn’t care less you Motherless Goat of All Motherless Goats.
I filled my cart with freeze dried raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. They had some freeze dried mango too- but my pockets aren’t that deep.
These marshmallows are so fruity, tart, and unberryibley (haha you get it?) delicious. I added some of the raspberry powder to the marshmallow as well. Their texture is a little chewier than normal. I couldn’t get all of the seeds out of the powder. My seive’s mesh wasn’t fine enough to filter out all of the seeds so there are some strays in the marshmallows. It’s charming. Makes them rustic like. They’re extremely pink. I should have made these for V-day.
I honestly don’t care about what people think about Valentines day anymore. You have your beliefs and that’s awesome! Regardless of your stance on V-day, everyone seems to agree that it is the one day of year you can eat as many sweets as you want guilt free. Lonely: stuff your face. In a relationship (what the hell does that mean these days?!): stuff your face. Anywhere in between: stuff your face. We’ve got so many sugary choices these days: chocolates (in any form, shape, or size), cupcakes, mini-cupcakes, cake balls, a million type of fancy-smancy candies and marshmallows. Donuts have not made it on the list yet. We should change that.
I was pretty busy at work making people’s last minute sugar platitudes. Who wants to actually place an order? No one. People seem to think that this day doesn’t actually mean anything to anyone until the last moment and change their minds. I was ahead of the game though, you see? I sent my delicacies before the holiday rush. Although, weather conditions might have delayed the arrival of a few… cupid and Chicago airports were snowed in (again).
I can’t ship anything uber parishable via snail mail to all of my friends and family. I had been looking for an excuse to make an unreasonable amount of marshmallows for awhile and they fit the bill. They’re light (although bulky), have a very long shelf life, and I could flavor them anyway I wanted. I went the safe route and made vanilla marshmallows. I wanted them to be out of this world vanilla so I used 6 vanilla bean innards to flavor the marshmallow and the pods in the boiling sugar elixir. To cover all my bases I also added a dab of some good vanilla extract. I also added some pink food coloring. For some reason pink and red are the colors of the season, so what the hell, why not? I took the photos with some bricks of chocolate. They have another fate. The photos don’t really have a realistic size perspective. The mallows were about 2″ high and 1 1/2″ wide.
Every holiday season when my paternal grandmother would visit for x-mas she would bring dense homemade fudge in holiday tins. She made everything from scratch 1000 miles away and toted it across the country to bring it to us. Not the boxed cakes and bagged marshmallows I was use to. The only time I’d eat fudge was when she brought it from the family farm. I remember how it melted in my mouth.
I didn’t appreciate those gifts the way I would now. My strongest political belief on food is that the food you eat should be loved. Bitter, resentful, jealous and angry meals will never nourish you, regardless of how good they are for you. When someone uses food as a vehicle to express their feelings I understand the phrase “A way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.” A good meal builds your bones and will stay with you long after the meal is over. A truly divine meal fuels your memories for years.
Why o’ why didn’t I make these sooner? Chocolate marshmallows! Why aren’t there more gourmet marshmallow suppliers? I have no doubt that I eat my weight (at least) in chocolate every year. What did people enjoy before chocolate? Maybe this is a supremely naïve worldview but a life without chocolate would be like never seeing a rainbow, experiencing fluffy snow, or smelling the rain. I just cannot imagine my life without it. What other types of flavors would we use to explain the fine notes that underline the earthy tones of wine and beer? The entire culinary field would be devoid of one of the worlds’ most influential ingredients! Relationships everywhere would fail because no one would have chocolate to emotionally regulate their overwhelming feelings. I cannot bear to think about it. I better eat more chocolate to ease my nerves.
Candies are not my forte. That being said I’m getting much better. Tempering chocolate will always be a hassle. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. After wrapping a majority of my caramel I thought of all the candies I have had over the years. Growing up, candy was strictly reserved for holidays and special occasions. It wasn’t that we didn’t love candy it just wasn’t our thing. We’re cookie people. We also dress up like Endorians and have a Star Trek x-mas tree so I’ll leave it up to you to judge our sanity. But that’s beside the point.
The scarcity of chocolate covered goodies made candies a special treat. It might be the perfect little boxes they come in. Or maybe it’s that you need an experimental codex to figure out what is inside each one. It is common knowledge that you should always eat candy with someone you trust and don’t mind sharing proverbial cooties with. If I take a bite into that chocolate and it’s filled with something I find distasteful then I know I have a loved one that will finish it, Sweet Jubilee DNA included.
I had to get rid of this caramel. Candies seemed like an appropriate elevation. I inherited all of my mothers chocolate molds a few years ago and haven’t really used them. Maybe that is because I associate them with white chocolate candy melts. I dislike the taste and texture of white chocolate 99% of the time. It’s a character flaw I just can’t seem to right.
I made a huge mess making these candies. I need to hone my technique (I see several hours on youtube in my future). I’m not sure if I like the look of them. They’re not factory perfect, nor do they have the imbedded charm inherent in artisanal chocolates. What can I say? I’m a bonified n00b. Leet spelling necessary to express just how much of a novice chocolatier I am. In spite of this, they came out really well and taste exquisite. Homemade honey-vanilla caramels really take center stage in this dessert (or perpetual snack in my case). Unfortunately, I only had 60% Dark chocolate on hand. I think they would be even better with a darker chocolate.
I still have a lot of caramel left… Please someone tell me what to do with it!