One stormy February evening, I decided to try my hand at making guimauve. Actually, it wasn’t any old stormy February evening. It was the night of the harshest, scariest, and worst blizzard that I have even known. My roommate and I spent that afternoon making preparations: we got sandwiches and spicy mac & cheese at Costello’s in Lincoln Square. We also bought tons of Kit Kat bars.
We had the day off from work because we were planning to attend a tour of the Goose Island brewery (this was prior to the acquisition by Anheuser-Busch. RIP Goose Island), but it was surely going to be cancelled as the weather grew worse and worse, so all of our friends opted to stay home and avoid whatever fate awaited the overly brave.
As the night approached, we warmed ourselves in our cozy living room, watching court shows and episodes of Cheaters. I searched for marshmallow recipes as we waited for the storm to begin. I found what I was looking for at Bravetart.
No matter what the circumstances, I always find it soothing to be alone in a kitchen, whipping up some confection. That night, as my roommate nailed a sheet over a living room window that was especially drafty, I happily boiled sugar, knowing I was doing my part to ensure we’d be comforted that very cold night, in our now slightly less drafty apartment.
The owner of the recipe warns of a weird “barnyard” smell, if you opt to use honey in place of corn or maple syrup. I was all out of corn syrup, and maple syrup is like TWENTY DOLLARS (which is why i only use it on fake bacon and french toast), so I used some lovely local honey a coworker had given me. (I’d love to post some information about who makes the honey, as I hear it’s acquired by some awesome guy who rescues beehives from your house so you won’t vacuum them, and then he cultivates them. When I have that info, it’s yours.) It smelled crazy and malty, like we were brewing beer. We actually also brew beer in our apartment so we have a bit of an affinity for the aroma. :]
After a short boil, the mixture set in the fridge for a few hours. Then, a big pan of marshmallow was cut into uniform little cubes, and rolled in powdered sugar. Some went straight into the freezer, where they have kept beautifully for months now. Others went into the fridge, and several days later, when my work re-opened post-blizzard, were divvied up amongst coworkers. The rest were tossed almost immediately into jacuzzis of hot chocolate, prepared from some homemade “instant” hot cocoa I had made to get us through the winter.
In total, we spent about three days stuck in our apartment. My roommate crafted a sign for our snow lodge that we hung on the outside of our apartment door. We watched the commercial for Debt Stoppers until we liked it. We ate tons of marshmallows.