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The best marshmallows of all time - and marshmallow fluff?

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What makes for a perfect home-made marshmallow? (Plain only, please - no fancy flavors or coatings. I want the pure, unadulterated taste of marshmallow.)

Although I've never made my own, I've been greatly disappointed in the past. I recently splurged on some "gourmet" marshmallows at a local upscale store, and they were extremely meh. (They were Laura's - http://www.lcandy.com/product.php?cat... .) I ended up throwing most of them away.

On the other hand, I once had a marshmallow in my hot chocolate that was so amazing that I saw stars. (It was at Hot Chocolate in Chicago - http://www.hotchocolatechicago.com - a nice enough place with good hot chocolate, but that marshmallow was truly earth-shattering!)

So, what was the difference? Why were Laura's marshmallows so mediocre when Hot chocolate's marshmallows were so fabulous?

Is it the ingredients? Perhaps the choice of liquid sweetener (corn syrup or honey or agave or who knows)? Egg whites vs no egg whites? The quality of the sugar? The vanilla?

Or is it the recipe? Martha Stewart VS Alton Brown? Barefoot Contessa VS Eileen Talanian? Better than Storebought VS Cooking for Engineers? Epicurious VS chowhound?

I'm overwhelmed by possibilities...

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/h...
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...
http://www.cookingforengineers.com/re...
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/566516
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433298
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/430521

Please help me find the ultimate recipe and/or ingredients that produce a truly heavenly marshmallow. I need to replicate that divine experience from Hot Chocolate in Chicago.

As a side question, can one make marshmallow fluff from a marshmallow recipe? I have a friend who's nuts about fluffernutter sandwiches, and would love a jar of marshmallow fluff. (OK, I cannot tell a lie - it's really me. A jar or two of stellar marshmallow fluff in the pantry would make me a very happy woman!)

Thanks,
Anne

P.S If I find the perfect recipe, I plan to make my own caramel-coated marshmallows for holiday treats next winter. (Mostly because they're fab, but partly to use up all the egg whites left over from my husband's famous toffee bars.)

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  1. I followed Alton Brown's recipe, and it worked out pretty well.

    I prefer my marshmallows without egg whites, just gelatin. Makes for a bit more chewier marshmallow, which I prefer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      AB's Recipe is awesome, best marshmallows ever. And to get rid of leftovers, make the best rice krispie squares ever.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        timely resurrection of this topic. I made marshmallow cream yesterday using an egg white recipe. While the result was delicious it was so difficult to work with, sticky, thick and impossible to get off the knife/spoon. I was using it to make pb and fluff cups and ones with a caramel/marshmallow center a la See's scotchmallows. They were yummy but so fussy to make that I probably won't tackle it again.

        wondering if it's just the nature of the beast or did I overwhip?

      2. Great post. I'm curious about marshmallows too. Unfortunately I don't have any advice to impart, but rather another query to add.

        I'm interested in making a marshmallow coating similar to the one used for Hostess brand Snoballs. So far, this is the most detailed recipe I've found. I
        http://www.grouprecipes.com/71596/hom...

        t looks sound, but I'm considering trying the just gelatin method too. Any advisory words would be appreciated.

        1. This really depends on what kind of marshmallow you want.

          Recipes made with egg whites will be fluffier and sweeter, with an almost melt in the mouth lightness. I personally think this style is better suited to marshmallow fluffy rather than marshmallows.

          The types with no egg whites, but rely on gelatin for structure are going to be denser and chewy rather than fluffy.

          Laura's Marshmallows are the no-egg white style, and they are dense and chewy and are not overly sweet. I happen to like them a lot myself, but it is easy to get a not-so-good box of them (the plastic wrapping easily tears, causing them to dry out around the edges--wish they would find another way to package them.)

          I have seen recipes that vary the amount of sugar used as well. The only way to find out what type you like is to try several different recipes. Some recipes are fluffy and sweet, some are fluffy and not so sweet. Others are denser, chewy, and sweet; others are not.

          Personally, I prefer dense and chewy marshmallows, especially in hot chocolate because they don't melt as fast.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rokzane

            I don't see why recipes using egg whites would necessarily be sweeter. Can you explain what you mean, please, rozkane?

          2. I know it has been many years since you posted this, but by now you should be a marshmallow making expert!
            I also tend to like the fluffier-is-better egg white version, but I'm not sure which recipe to try. Contemplating using the David Lebovitz version, but any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!!! Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: learningslo

              Just last night on the news one of the series reporters was talking about how marshmallows are the NEW cupcake.

              Timely to bump the thread!