When I made my first batch of marshmallows, they were good, but I couldn’t help thinking that they needed something more. Something other than plain-vanilla-flavored puffiness… something that would make you say “Oooh!” as you put one in your hot chocolate.
Yesterday I did a couple more batches (half-batches, really), and this time I jazzed them up a little. One batch was peppermint, complete with crushed candy canes lining the bottom of the pan. The other batch was orange. I wanted to drizzle the orange ones with chocolate, but since they had a layer of powdered sugar on them, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t stick. And the effort to fully enrobe them in chocolate wasn’t what I was looking for on a laid-back winter solstice.
These are good. The orange ones, admittedly, taste a bit like orange Runts; I think I need to use a natural orange flavoring instead of the artificial one that I found in the bottom of my extract bag. But they are still pretty tasty, and Ryan prefers them to the peppermint ones. These latter pack quite a punch. I probably only needed to use four candy canes instead of eight. Still, I think they worked out well as a proof-of-concept; the candy softened slightly from contact with the marshmallow, but still provides a satisfying chewy-crunchy layer next to the softness of the marshmallow.
I packaged a bunch of them up in little half-pint jars to give out to neighbors. I’ve no idea how well they would travel, but my experience with the last batch was that they were best in the first few days. (This is why I didn’t send any to you, family members!) They were fun to do for Christmas gifts because they’re a bit unusual, very easy, and (on a highly practical note) dirt cheap to make. My go-to quick-gift candy before was truffles, which are delicious and very easy, but which also depend on the quality of the chocolate used to make them — not exactly the cheapest option around.
These marshmallows are pretty good simply eaten as a candy (in small quantities; after all, they’re pretty much pure sugar). But their highest and best use is undoubtedly to be put into hot chocolate. I tried a cup today with the peppermint ones, and was very pleased with the results: the marshmallows melted slowly into the hot liquid, adding just a hint of peppermint to it, but leaving a little island of peppermint candy bits (since I’d put them in candy side up) to be slurped down with the dregs of the chocolate.
I’ve been pondering other flavor options all day. Butterscotch? Cinnamon? Raspberry? A quick Google search suggested lemon, mango, maple syrup, sweet potato, lavender, and, of course, chocolate. I also saw a suggestion for cutting them into interesting shapes. Hmmm… I have a little snowflake cookie cutter that I indulged in a while ago. I may have to start drinking more hot chocolate.