Everyone has a preference on how they like their marshmallows roasted. Some folks are charcoal, burnt confection lovers, while others strive for golden perfection.
Marshmallows aren't just delicious goo, they have historic beginnings as the luscious sap of the Mallow Plant that grows four to six feet tall in saltwater marshes near large bodies of water. As early as 2000 B.C., the ancient Egyptians reserved the candies for their pharaohs and gods. Even back then, they knew a stand-by confection like the Marshmallow would be timeless.
Whether you prefer vegan marshmallows, fancy ones infused with herbs, or the old-school ones that you find in the general store outside of a national park, we all agree that roasting is the classic way to eat them. Roasting has its challenges but with the right tools and tips, a truly tanned outside and creamy inside is one puffy confection away.
First, find that perfect stick. A roasting stick should be long enough to reach the fire without your hand getting hot, about a yard or so long. Make sure it is at least semi-straight. If it is too curved, when roasting the opposite side, it’s likely to slide off into the flames. A roasting stick can have one, two or as many prongs at the end as you prefer, or can find! Just make sure the prongs are the no wider than a pencil, as too big of a prong will damage your marshmallow.
Prep your stick next. Make sure all of its prongs are free of dirt and debris. If you have a knife, go ahead and whittle it to a point so the marshmallows can be pushed through with ease. Finally, stick it in the fire to “season” it, or at least burn off any bits of splintering wood or bark.
Next, prep your marshmallow! This is the step that most golden roasters miss. Whenever I teach it to a child, they are delighted to do it. Adults often grimace.
You need a wet marshmallow to ensure it doesn't burn. The handiest method to wet your marshmallow is by giving it a thorough lick. Whatever you do, don’t lick it ON the stick, as it might be hot from already being exposed to flames. Instead, give it a good once around lick (or a suck, if you are so inclined.)
Put one, two or as many marshmallows as you’d like on your prong. As you roast it over, and in the flames (it won’t burn because it’s wet,) keep rotating it so all sides get toasty. Once you’ve sufficiently made it crispy and achieved the illusive not-too-dark taupe, you are ready for the next step.
Gentle as a breeze, pull off the outer layer from the top of the marshmallow. Your crispy exterior should pull away, leaving a layer of creamy goodness on your stick.
Once cooled, pop that candy in your mouth and make a hard decision. Do you eat the interior goo, or go for a second roasting?
If you crave another crispy roasting, follow the initial steps again, except this time you won't have to lick the marshmallow as its already moist and melted prohibiting scorch. With over-sized marshmallows, the process can be done three or four times!
Kids who have limited sweets especially love this trick. After all, it gives them three roasted marshmallows for the sugar in just one. Not to mention, the joy that comes with acceptable licking and playing with food!
All roasting methods are as different as the sticks foraged for roasting tools. Whether you like them charred or slightly tanned, this method with certainly delight long-time and new roasters alike.