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Up front, this is a beautiful and very inspiring book, however, some recipes may need some rework and testing in my humble opinion. I have been making divinity candy for nearly 2 years and wanted to try something new to add to my product line so I tried the Guimauve (French Marshmallow) recipe. That said, it is safe to say I can speak with some experience about how tricky meringue based confections can be.
This is a beautifully laid out book. Gorgeous, inspiring photos that make you want to try everything. I don't wonder how many of these recipes are actually tested (maybe more than once) before making it into print. I have made the Guimauve 3 times now and after a few days, the marshmallows became a sloppy, wet mess with severe crystallization every time. The author describes under whipping as a possible culprit for this type of failure but I know how meringue is supposed to look and I don't believe whipping time was the issue. As is, I would say this recipe is better suited to a marshmallow fluff and great for frosting your cupcakes, beyond that, baker beware.
After trying another very similar recipe that looked to be about double this recipe (with a couple of exceptions), I am happy to report perfect marshmallow. The differences between the failed recipe in this book, which I will call MM Recipe and the one I ultimately had success with, which I will call Successful Recipe, appear below:
Observation 1 MM Recipe: 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin bloomed in 1/2 cup water
Successful Recipe: 3 tablespoons gelatin bloomed in 1/2 cup of water.
Analysis: The successful recipe uses less water per teaspoon of gelatin. This makes me think the MM recipe has too much water in it, which may have prevented my guimauve from setting properly.
Observation 2 MM Recipe: 1 cup granulated sugar
Successful Recipe: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Analysis: The successful recipe, even though most of the ingredients in it are double what is called for in the MM recipe, uses only 1.5 times the amount of sugar called for in the MM recipe instead of 2 times. It is possible that the granulated sugar amount in the MM recipe could be decreased to 3/4 cup of sugar in order for the corn syrup to effectively interfere with and prevent later crystallization? My sloppy, crystalline mess says very likely yes.
While both recipes call for bringing the syrup to 240 degrees, I have seen other recipes that say to boil the sugar syrup to 250 when making marshmallow.
I'm just sayin' that every time I made the MM guimauve recipe from this book while following the recipe instructions and even doing nothing different except boiling the sugar to 250 instead of 240, it failed. You do the math! Doh! I think I just did. Best of luck to you! As for me, I'll be sticking with the free YouTube recipe that so far has had a 100% success rate and building on that using some of the creative and wonderful ideas for flavoring offered up in this book.
Ever since making a recipe from Martha and experiencing how amazingly light, fluffy, and flavorful homemade marshmallows can be, I've been a convert - and overall, the recipes in this book don't disappoint. I've made several of the flavors so far (salted caramel and layered marshmallows with peanut butter and grape jelly) and they've all been fantastic. My only issue is that I've had some difficulties with the consistency/curing of the marshmallows. The author tells you to spray the pan you're using with nonstick spray, but I've found that this makes my mallows oily and seems to prevent them from curing entirely; I prefer Martha's method of coating the bottom of your pan with confectioner's sugar. (Another difference - Shauna tells you to use cornstarch as the coating, but I've always used confectioner's sugar.) Also, with the swirled marshmallow recipes (like the salted caramel), if you don't mix enough of the marshmallow batter with the "mix-in", that part of the marshmallow won't cure - I found this out the hard way when I cut into my marshmallows and they were gooey and not set (but still delicious).
Overall, I would recommend this book - and that everyone make some homemade marshmallows immediately!
I have made the marshmallows twice and am having so much fun making these. I took some to a going away lunch for someone and everybody loved them, they had no idea you could make your own marshmallows. They all want the recipe. I do have one problem though. I am not sure how to store them. I have put them in a pan with a plastic lid and cracked the corner open but by morning I had to re-dust them as they got moist. I also tried covering them with wax paper and the same thing happened. I had to dust them twice, once when I cut them and once the next morning due to the moisture. If anyone knows how to solve this problem please let me know the best way to store them. Also I did them in dry conditions so that humidity was not a problem. I would still highly recommend this book to anyone. My grandchildren loved the bubble gum and raspberry flavored ones I made for them. Carol Kipp
Great little cookbook with lots of fun ideas. Also has a list of tools needed and lots of suggestions and color photos. Plenty of ideas for baby/bridal showers, desserts, special occasions or anytime treat.
I really like the cover of this book. It is what made me choose among many others. The recepies are good, I think it lacks more pictures about the resulting dessert. And for some recepies, the ingredients dosing is not correct.
While I haven't had a chance to try any of these, I have read quite a bit about the process and it sounds quite do-able. Can't wait to give it a try. The ingredients are mostly those I had on hand with the exception of plain gelatin and I made sure I had "pure cane sugar" since I don't pay attention to that when buying usually. Can't wait to try it on my fellow teachers at school this fall.