Last week, we featured marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) flowers in our post on edible flowers, this week, we used marshmallow root to make some tasty marshmallows!
Though the modern marshmallow mainly consists of sugar and gelatin, marshmallows used to be made with marshmallow root. The plant's genus name Althaea comes from the Greek althein, which means "to heal." Because of the its demulcent and emollient healing properties, the original confection was created for medicinal purposes, to soothe sore throats and calm irritated digestive tracts. The use of marshmallow both medicinally and as a treat can be dated back to Ancient Egypt, where they would make a concoction using sap extracted from the plant and sweetened with honey. Years later, another version of the candy showed up in France made with egg white meringue, called pâte de guimauve.
These marshmallows are infused with marshmallow root and sweetened with local organic unpasteurized honey, so they are not only a delicious treat, but might actually help next time you have an irritated throat, dry cough or an upset stomach.
We included rose petals in our infusion to add a subtle floral flavour, and because roses are a calming complement to mallow and can also be used as a traditional home remedy for sore throats.
But that doesn't mean I'm going to wait until I have a cold to eat these marshmallows. I just put some in my dandelion "coffee" and they made the most dreamy, fluffy, sweet, marshmallow foam.
- 4 tbsp organic gelatin powder
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp marshmallow root
- small handful of dried rose petals
- 1 cup organic honey
- 1 tsp rose water
- cornstarch for dusting
- line your baking dish with parchment paper
- place marshmallow root and rose petals in a small bowl and add hot water. Let sit for 15 minutes, strain and reserve the infused water (make sure it still equals one cup)
- pour 1/2 cup of your infused water into a large bowl or mixer. Add the gelatin and mix quickly to ensure it is evenly incorporated. Let it sit while you continue with the honey syrup. The gelatin mix will solidify
- meanwhile, pour the other half of your infused water and your cup of honey into a medium saucepan
- bring the honey mixture to a boil. Once it boils, stir constantly for about 7-8 minutes - make sure it does not boil over. (If you are using a candy thermometer, remove the pan from the heat as soon as it reaches 240°F, or the soft ball stage)
- use the mixer or handmixer to begin breaking up the gelatin mixture and slowly begin pouring in the honey syrup along the side of the bowl
- once all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to high and whip for about ten minutes until the mixture fluffs up and begins to form gentle peaks
- during the last minute of mixing, add the rose water
- working quickly, pour the marshmallow cream into your lined baking dish and smooth with a greased spatula (or place a layer of cling film on top, and smooth the surface with your hands
- let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours
- remove cling film - dust a cutting board with corn starch and turn the marshmallow pan onto the cutting board
- slice into individual marshmallow cubes with a greased knife
- dust marshmallows with cornstarch to keep them from sticking