After weeks of rabid pinning on Pinterest, I finally realized that I had yet to attempt a single project on any of my boards. Unless you actually attempt to do some of your pinned items, the whole thing is kind of like day dreaming. Sure, I’d like to visit Antarctica, recycle everything I own into a fabulous piece of furniture, and live by the moral code of E-Cards, but it’s impossible unless you actually step away from the computer and do something. In real life. With real objects.
Inexplicably, I decided that the first Pinterest Project I would tackle would be homemade marshmallows (click here for the recipe), and I announced to my husband that he needed to buckle his seatbelt because we were about to have homemade (almost) s’mores!
Except that’s not really the way it turned out. While marshmallow preparation takes about 12 minutes, marshmallow science take about 12 hours, so we had to go to sleep and dream marshmallowy dreams until this morning. When we awoke at the crack of 11:30, we had one giant 8″ x 8″ marshmallow sitting in our kitchen, just waiting to be divided into a bunch of miniature squares of fluff! But it turns out that there are a few things about homemade marshmallows, other than the tedious waiting process, that the recipes do not share with you.
Firstly, cutting a giant marshmallow into bite-sized pieces is trickier than one might think. If I were to guess, I would say it was kind of like cutting a slab of Silly Putty. As soon as you pull the knife out of the glob, it fuses itself back together. Try as I might, I couldn’t get an actual shape to come out of the pan. Thankfully, Vann stepped in and developed a sort of “press-and-pull” technique that worked pretty well. If it weren’t for his patience and precision, we would have a kitchen full of ripped shreds of marshmallow, like the remnants of some sort of Peep holocaust.
Another important thing the recipes don’t warn you about is this; after you’ve made them, waited for them, and used an entire day’s worth of curse words cutting them, no one is going to react to your homemade marshmallows with the kind of wonder and awe that they might reserve for other homemade treats. Show up at a party with homemade croissants or baked alaska, or, say, roast a whole lamb on a spit in your front yard, and people will praise you for days. Hand someone a homemade marshmallow and the reaction seems to be pretty much the same. “Oh, it tastes like a marshmallow!” Honestly, even the exclamation point is a bit of an exaggeration. The thing about homemade marshmallows is that, unless you’ve taken the time to make some fancy-schmancy-gourmet-vanilla-watermelon-and-sardine-vodka-infused variety, they just taste like marshmallows. No better, no worse. End of story.
The last piece of left-out information is this; jet-puffed, chemically-enhanced marshmallows are more microwave friendly than the homemade variety. I’m not quite sure why, but our little guys just couldn’t handle the pressure. Vann assembled all the pieces for his first s’mores attempt, and our beautiful little marshmallow went from a solid cube to a gooey puddle in exactly 3 seconds. No joke! One second it was there, the next it was gone. The top graham cracker didn’t even stand a chance; it just plummetted to the bottom, creating what amounted to a chocolate sandwich on a plate of marshmallow soup. Don’t get me wrong; we grabbed our forks and made the best of a gloppy situation. And then we did it again just to watch the marshmallow disppear, acting more like a vanishing Houdini than a slowly melting Wicked Witch.
Years ago, Vann and I resorted to melting a chocolate Easter bunny in our fondue pot because, well, we wanted chocolate fondue and he was the only specimen in the house. Whenever the subject comes up, we still laugh about the torturous way that we watched him sink into a pool of his own being, leaving just two little candy eyes floating on the surface. David Copperfield marshmallows are even funnier. Trust me.
In closing, if you have a free 12 minutes, make yourself some homemade marshmallows and go to bed. Then find someone who has a really great sense of humor and invite them into your kitchen for some ridiculously sticky fun. Try cutting the marshmallows with knives and then resort to scissors. Try heating them in the microwave, with a butane torch, and lastly, with a normal Bic lighter. Try eating them with a fork, with a spoon, with graham crackers, and with both hands. Ruin your shirt, get gelatinous sugar stuck in your hair, and finally resort to a shower. Then, settle down on the couch and watch GhostBusters. You’ll thank me later.