Blueberry Marshmallows

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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.

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Cookies and Cream Eggs

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I have been completely uninspired for the last several months. I have very few people to eat my sweet creations therefore my oven has been dormant and I have been hibernating. But spring arrived and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to make Easter cookie bouquets, peeps, and homemade Cadbury eggs.

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Easter is the x-mas of spring in my family. The proverbial bunny doles out candy and presents. Ham instead of turkey (or grilled tofu instead of Tofurky in my case), double baked potatoes in place of mashed potatoes, and the pitter patter of paws instead of hooves. Everyone has their traditions. We are not god fearing folk so we celebrate the holiday by helping capitalism inch forward. It is an excuse to buy awesome things for the little ones and stuff our faces with unnecessary confectionery calories. Any excuse, right?

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I have to say I am glad to see daffodils, green grass and blue sky. I love the crazy midwest winters but even I was ready for some sunshine and bird noises.

Unfortunately I have no photos of the cream eggs. They just made it to our bellies too quickly. Slippery fellas, those cream eggs, you gotta watch out for them.

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Raspberry Marshmallows

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Very Vanilla Valentine

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).

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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.

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Brown Sugar Marshmallows

Because making one epic batch of marshmallows wasn’t enough…

Brown sugar marshmallowI’m running out of expletives that express manic fervor and delight. I’m a sugar zealot. It’s addictive and I logically know and recognize how mega-evil corporations are making consumers addicted zombies. I get it. I really do. Sometimes I feel guilty about peddling this substance. Sometimes I think my addiction is gross and embarrassing, that I have no will-power, that I’m ruining the environment, destroying my health, so on and so forth. To a certain extent that’s completely true and I want to give myself a high five for my desire to better myself and being an informed citizens. But really, who can say no to brown sugar marshmallows?

Neapolitan Marshmallows

These marshmallows are one hell of a tasty treat. I feel like an artisanal goddess after making these. A good friend of mine inspired me when he spoke about how he wanted Neapolitan smores. NEAPOLITAN SMORES!? Shut up and take my money. All I could imagine was how charming it would be to open a fancy candy box with tri-colored sugar puffs inside (cue stereotypical Italian music and picturesque backdrops). neapolitan close upI think I can speak for foodies everywhere when I say the quality of the ingredients used in a recipe matters. Mind you, this doesn’t mean your vanilla extract should be 25 bucks for a 4 oz bottle or that you have to use all organic ingredients. It’s the little things that count. For me, it’s knowing what is appropriate for each dish. For example: I pay attention to the percent alcohol content of my vanilla extracts. The lower the percent the more concentrated the flavor. When I want vanilla to take center stage in a dish I’d rather use a vanilla bean or a 35% alcohol content extract vs. 41%.  But a 41% alcohol content vanilla is more appropriate for other dishes when it is a supporting flavor. Whew, did that make any sense or am I having mad rambling from this sugar rush!?Neapolitan marshmallow

With that in mind, what really made these marshmallows over the top was the fact that I used a strong homemade strawberry syrup instead of a flavor extract. I boiled down 16 oz (two cups) fresh strawberries to 8 oz.  Wow my house smells good! There are even little strawberry specks! The strawberry layer should be a marshmallow all by itself. However, the fact that I used fresh strawberries shortens the marshmallow’s shelf life. That’s not a problem in my household. They won’t last til the end of the week

Neapolitan pyramidMaking these was time consuming. It helps if you have multiple bowls for your mixer, pre-measure all of the ingredients, and to time the sugar boiling.  I used bravetart’s marshmallow recipe. For the strawberry layer I bloomed the gelatin in 8oz of strawberry syrup instead of water. And I just add good coco powder to the chocolate layer. I just about overflowed a ½ sheet pan. My tastiest mess yet.

Chocolate, Chocolate, where art thou Chocolate?

Chocolate Marshmallows

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.