Of course the Marshmallow Madness cookbook came to me when I was training for a boxing tournament and had to maintain weight. The cookbook itself was inviting, with its foam cover, cute fonts, and girly colors. I devoured the colorful photos and drooled over the creative recipes. I don’t know what is more unbelievable, the fact that a girl like me boxes or the fact that I didn’t gain five pounds from all the marshmallow experimenting.
Quirk Books, publishers of Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Server, came up with the sweet idea to launch a Marsh Madness campaign. For those of us who don’t care for basketball’s March Madness, this is the fluffier alternative where everybody wins! (Sort of—at least everyone gets great recipes, but there is technically one “winner.”) The competition began with 16 bloggers set up in regional brackets. We were asked to create our own spin on Shauna Server’s Classic Vanilla Marshmallow recipe and go head to head each week with fellow food bloggers. Each week, Serious Eats will recap the mallow recipes and Server herself will choose the winning marshmallow at the end of the tournament.
Marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make. Really the stand mixer does all the work. The only thing I had to do was follow directions exactly and be quick, otherwise I’d end up with a sticky mess. And speaking of the mess, that was a lot easier to clean up than I anticipated. True, I had a couple bowls of fluff and a pot of boiling sugar, but all I did was fill them with water and let them sit in the sink overnight. When I went to wash them in the morning, the sugar had dissolved and all I had to do was a quick wash. Marshmallow Madness is a fool-proof guide to impressing anyone. Just tell someone you made marshmallows and they’ll think you’re magic. I got a lot of surprised reactions along the lines of, “Wait, you can make marshmallows?”
I guess you could say my inspiration came from my training diet. I could have gone all out and loaded my recipe with chocolate and nuts and caramel, but just thinking about it made me feel heavy. Marshmallows should be billowy and light with a hint of flavor just like Server’s original Classic Vanilla Marshmallow recipe. So I added a little grapefruit juice and honey (the breakfast of dieting champions) and and shaped the marshmallows in a small bowl. After the mallowing process, I cut the marshmallows into wedges and coated the “rinds” in raw cane sugar and zest. The result was a delicate and sweet grapefruit marshmallow with a crunchy edge reminiscent of Easter peeps. Check out the recipe (and Marsh Madness bracket!) below.
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Alexia Detweiler loves to travel and is an advocate for eating and shopping locally. She hopes to one day open her own breakfast cafe in Lancaster, PA.
Honeyed Grapefruit Marshmallows
Makes about 16
Adapted from Shauna Server’s Classic Vanilla Marshmallows
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
red food coloring
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup corn starch
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
zest of one grapefruit
Lightly coat four four-inch bowls with cooking spray.
Mix together corn starch and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the coating.
Whisk together the gelatin, grapefruit juice and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 minutes.
Stir together the corn syrup and honey in a small bowl. Pour about half the mixture in an electric stand mixer and the other half in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar, 1/3 cup of grapefruit juice, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F.
Microwave gelatin mixture on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.
When the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 3 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 3 to 4 minutes more and beat in the vanilla and red food coloring; the finished marshmallow will be opaque, fluffy, and tripled in volume.
Pour it into the prepared bowls, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over the top. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.
Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the bowls. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface. Make the “rind” coating by mixing together cane sugar and zest. Roll the rounded side in the “rind” coating.
Cut into quarters like grapefruit wedges. Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.
To follow along with Marsh Madness, check out the bracket of participating bloggers!