Easily make marshmallows with six ingredients, her recipe says. Pulling off a homemade marshmallow recipe is easier than you think, she boasts.
My family puts marshmallows away like they are going out of style. Big ones for the massive amounts of s’mores we consume, little ones floating in hot chocolate, flavored ones just because, marshmallows for every season or holiday… you name it, we partake. I figured this would be a fun little experiment for the kids and I, not to mention a little bonding time done over our love for everything marshmallow.
It started out simple enough. The three-year old, MacKenzie, helped me by pouring the gelatin packets and water into a large bowl. Next, I measured sugar, corn syrup, and root beer extract into a pot and started to heat on the stove. The original recipe called for vanilla extract, but come on, root beer?! How awesome does a root beer flavored marshmallow sound? Um, pretty awesome. Everything is still on easy street. Jameson, my 9-year old, gets home from running an errand with his dad and asks to join in. Sure!! We are having so much freaking fun!
The kids get bored about five minutes into the cooking time of the sugar mixture, and decide squirting each other with water guns is more entertaining. Whatever. Get out of my kitchen. I am having fun.
The allotted cooking time elapses and I am instructed to pour this mixture into the water-gelatin mixture and mix on high for fifteen minutes with a mixer. I pull out my hand mixer, and get to work.
Five minutes…. The mixture is becoming fluffier. How come I have never done this before? This is so easy! “Oh cool,” I yell loudly, enticing the kids back into the kitchen to watch the liquid form into a light brown fluffy cloud in my bowl. James and MacKenzie throw their water guns in the sink and shimmy up to the counter to watch the spectacle. My 17-year old, Alaina, arrives home from work and she too, joins in on the show.
Eight minutes…. The mixture is getting stiffer. Hmm… stiffer isn’t necessarily the best word to describe my soon-to-be marshmallows. It is starting to resemble those salt water taffy pulls you always see at the state fair. In addition, my hand mixer is starting to make a funny whining sound. Is that smoke? The taffy-like substance works its way up the beaters of the hand mixer, and it takes everything in my being to force it back down into the bowl.
The doorbell rings, and my oldest goes to answer the door. She runs back into the kitchen, saying that another local beekeeper from the area saw my hives out front and wanted to talk to me. I pass the hand mixer over to my daughter and explain that she had another five minutes to mix. I head to the door, and as I am about to answer the door, I hear the mixer stop. Sigh. I should have handed the mixer over to the three-year old.
Finishing my conversation, I head back in the kitchen only to find my children had obviously had enough of the marshmallow-making game; they are gone. Alaina had left the blender in the bowl of marshmallow-goo. I flip the switch on the blender. It doesn’t turn on. The concoction has formed into a sort of adhesive that has worked its way up the beaters of the mixer and lodged itself in the gears, blowing the motor. I try to pull, pull, pull the mixer out of the bowl and again am reminded of the salt water taffy pull at the state fair. This shit doesn’t want to let go of the blender! It finally pulls free, flinging this sticky gum-like material when it releases. My hand blender is toast.
The recipe states to pour the mixture into a glass 8 x 10 baking dish that had been sprinkled heavily with confectioner’s sugar. Only one small little problem, Mar-tha: the marshmallow mixture has concreted itself to the bottom of the bowl. I cover my hands in confectioner’s sugar and attempt to scrape the sides of the bowl with my fingers. No go. It’s like trying to manipulate dried spackle.
I try a different route and spray cooking oil all over my fingers and hands. This seems to be doing the trick – I start pulling, pulling, pulling the sticky, gooey substance out of the bottom of the bowl. It comes out in strings, and once it separates from the rest of the mixture, flings across the room like it was launched out of a catapult. The oil from my hands makes the surface of the marshmallow-mix even gooier, if at all possible. Once this lovely fucking mixture hits a surface, it immediately melds itself to it: the counter, my arms, the floor, the sink, the ceiling, the kitchen cabinets, various kitchen implements. I press as much of the mixture as I can into the glass baking dish, dump in a bunch of confectioner’s sugar, and call it good. I sneak a quick taste, and my face fuses to the back of my hand.
My 17-year old finally came to my rescue about an hour later. I couldn’t move: by this point I had glued my face and one hand to the counter and my feet were planted in a pile of this adhesive on the floor. On a positive note, I was able to spend the hour reflecting on my marshmallow making debacle. I just experienced something somewhere in between The Blob and the attack of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Never, ever, ever again will I attempt to make something Martha states is easy, and that I can purchase for less than $2.00.
Fuck you Martha Stewart. You owe me a hand blender.