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Whoever said that herbalism had to be all teas, tinctures, and infusions? Does it really always have to be about therapeutic actions and medicinal uses? Does it really need to be so, well, clinical?
I think it would be a crying shame to dismiss all therapeutic herbs to the medicine cabinet. Herbs often offer intense sensory experiences. Soft sensual rose petals, crisp clean lavender, the cool numbness of peppermint. These are textural, olfactory, gastronomical pleasures to behold. And sometimes rich experiences are the best medicine.
Herbal marshmallows are an indulgence in just that – rich pleasurable experiences brimming with sensory delights. Our day to day rushing leaves us little time to experience anything other than the most basic of flavors – salty, sweet, sour, bitter (and umami, although that is a concept for another day). It seems increasingly difficult to meet the demand of daily life without just eating as means of sustenance. The pleasure of eating seems relegated for holidays, anniversaries, and special events. How better than to reawaken the more ephemeral, even sensual side of eating than with delectable little herbal marshmallows?
Marshmallows are best described as sweet – and your standard perfect-for-a-s’more marshmallow need be nothing more than that flavor-wise. But a marshmallow consumed as a stand-alone dessert deserves to be elevated. Herbal marshmallows fill all the gaps in the sensory experience. First, they are fragrant –a sense that alone changes the way we experience food. Then there is the texture – the pillowy softness of a freshly confected marshmallow is other worldly. And finally, there is flavor – herbs like rose, lavender, and peppermint offer such beguiling tastes that one cannot help but escape to a more magical place.
Herbal marshmallows are sure to delight. Such dimensional flavors floating on creamy white, sweet pillows are an undeniable step in the right direction of pleasurable eating. While I have experimented with the flavors of rose, lavender, and peppermint (and elderflower in this post), Mountain Rose Herbs offers a wondrous array of beautiful botanicals for you to flavor your own herbal marshmallows.
Herbal Marshmallows with Rose, Lavender, or Peppermint
Learn the art of pleasurable eating while enjoying these herbal marshmallows flavored with the likes of rose, lavender or peppermint.
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup dried rose petals OR 1 tablespoon dried lavender OR 1/4 cup dried peppermint
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin about 3/4 ounce
- 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
OPTIONAL for Rose Marshmallows (to boost rose flavor)
- 1.5 teaspoons rose water
Prepare an herbal “tea” by bringing one cup of water to a simmer, remove from heat, add dried herbs and cool.
When the elderflower “tea” is cool, strain and place 1/2 cup of the tea in the bowl of a stand mixer. Added the gelatin, mix and allow to “bloom”. Fit mixer with the whisk attachment.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of herbal tea to a medium saucepan with high sides. Add sugar and light corn syrup. Over medium high heat and stirring constantly, boil the sugar syrup until it reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
Immediately turn on the mixer to low speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture. When done pouring, increase the speed to high.
Continue whisking until the mixture is white, light, airy, and at least doubled in volume. For rose marshmallows, add rose water now and mix well to combine.
Prepare a non-metal 9×13 inch baking dish by lightly greasing the bottom and sides and then dusting the surface with a small amount of the powdered mixture to coat. Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared dish, smooth with a spatula, and dust the top with more powdered sugar.
Allow to dry in a dish for 12 hours or overnight. Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut through marshmallows to desired serving size. Toss individual marshmallows in more powdered sugar to coat.