Marshmallows are a soft, airy confectionery often used in the top of hot chocolate. These days there are a few variations on the plain white ones – multi coloured, swirls, pink and miniature. I have tried keeping all varieties in stock, however the best selling ones are the fruit flavoured swirls and multi-coloured ones, so now that is what is readily available all year round. I can always get supplies of the plain white, pink or miniature ones for your special occasions and cake decorating.
It is easy to think that because of their light texture you will get lots more than the average lolly in 100g. You will actually get 13 multi-coloured marshmallows in 100g or 26 swirl marshmallows. They contain cane sugar, wheat glucose syrup, invert sugar, gelatine, colours, wildberry, passionfruit and vanilla flavours, cornstarch. Marshmallows are suitable for dairy and nut free dietary constraints/choices.
The modern marshmallow is probably a version of a medicinal confection made from Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow plant, to treat sore throats. The use of marshmallow to make a sweet dates back to ancient Egypt, where the recipe called for extracting sap from the plant and mixing it with nuts and honey. Another pre-modern recipe uses the pith of the marshmallow plant, rather than the sap. The stem was peeled back to reveal the soft and spongy pith, which was boiled in sugar syrup and dried to produce a soft, chewy confection.
Confectioners in early 19th century France made the innovation of whipping up the marshmallow sap and sweetening it, to make a confection similar to modern marshmallow. The confection was made locally by the owners of small shops. In the late 19th century, French manufacturers thought of using egg whites or gelatin, combined with corn starch, to create the chewy base. This avoided the labour-intensive extraction process, but it did require industrial methods to combine the gelatin and corn starch in the right way.
Another milestone in the development of the modern marshmallow was the extrusion process by the American Alex Doumak in 1948. This invention allowed marshmallows to be manufactured in a fully automated way. The method produced the cylindrical shape that is now associated with marshmallows. The process involves running the ingredients through tubes and then extruding the finished product as a soft cylinder, which is then cut into sections and rolled in a mixture of finely powdered cornstarch.
By far, my most favourite way to enjoy marshmallows is by placing a couple of warmed ones on a Furry Friend chocolate and sandwiching this between two Nice biscuits…………….mmmmmm