Marshmallows are one of the most rewarding confections to make at home. The process is easy once you get over the fear of cooking sugar, and the transformation of syrup to pillowy treat is incredible to watch every time.
Throw in some bourbon and maple syrup as Max and Eli Sussman suggest in This is a Cookbook, and you've got an even better adult-style treat. The brothers take their marshmallows one step further by incorporating them into a year-round take on s'mores (with ganache instead of Hershey's).
These are no girl-scout dessert. They're boozy, sweet, and just look at the sheer size.
Why I picked this recipe: I love making marshmallows and equally love s'mores. This was a must-make in my book.
What worked: I'd never made marshmallows sans corn syrup and the maple syrup substitute here worked surprisingly well. The flavor of the bourbon and maple was subtle but delightful in the final 'mallows, and the presentation really couldn't be beat.
What didn't: The marshmallows are a teensy bit on the soft-side, but that's par for the course when you're stirring in extra booze at the end. In addition, the recipe doesn't specify a speed for beating the marshmallows; I had the best luck beating on the highest speed of my stand mixer.
Suggested tweaks: You could certainly play with flavoring the ganache (make it doubly-boozy with extra bourbon!) and switch up boozy additions at will. I'd also like to try going totally DIY with homemade graham crackers.
Reprinted with permission from This is a Cookbook by Max and Eli Sussman. Copyright 2012. Published by Olive Press, a division of Weldon Owen, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:makes 9 s'mores
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:5 hours
- Vegetable oil cooking spray (not olive oil)
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup bourbon, plus 3 tablespoons
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 9 graham crackers, snapped in half
Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil. Coat lightly with cooking spray and dust generously with powdered sugar. Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over and stir to dissolve.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the 1/4 cup bourbon, the maple syrup, and the granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and cook and cook, stirring often, until the mixture registers 240 degrees on a candy or deep-frying thermometer.
Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one. Add the dissolved gelatin and the remaining 3 tablespoons bourbon. Using the paddle attachment, beat until stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters out 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, use a handheld mixer, but be sure to pour the hot syrup into a heatproof bowl for mixing, and be prepared for a little arm fatigue, as the beating time is substantial. Using a rubber spatula, scrape into the prepared dish and spread in an even layer to the edges of the pan. Let cool at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.
Tip the marshmallow out of the pan and remove the lining. Trim 3/4 inch off each edge, then cut into 9 squares. Sift a scoop of powdered sugar in a bowl, add the marshmallows, and toss to coat.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the cream until just barely boiling. Meanwhile, arrange 9 of the graham cracker halves, top side down, on a baking sheet and place a marshmallow on top of each. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Drizzle some of this melted chocolate mixture over each marshmallow, close the s'mores with another graham cracker half, and serve.