Rose water marshmallows
Once, a boss we had took us to the “Rosewater Supper Club,” to say thank you by giving us a Christmas lunch. He was a nice enough boss, but it just so happened that at the time he asked us, another boss of ours had just been let go and we were all pretty broken up about it. The boss who was treating us asked, “So, how do all of you feel about Craig being let go?” He hadn’t gotten along with Craig, and I think he was looking for a good-riddance type response. Contrary to what he expected, we all went around the table and basically gave living eulogies for a guy who had motivated and supported us. The boss who had taken us out concluded by saying something like, “Oh,” and then we all slurped our soups quietly.
I remember Craig in particular because I used to freak out about some customer something that had blown up, and he’d call me into his office and say, “Now Ann, sit down,” and I’d sit across his desk and worry that I was about to get laid into, before I knew what Craig was like. And then after a few minutes of smalltalk, he’d help me work through the problem, concluding the conversation with, “And Ann, we must remember that we work at the phone company. No small children will die.” Later, we’d drink too much beer.
Be a good boss. People appreciate it.
But back to cooking. When I saw actual rose water in the international spices section of my grocery store, I thought of Craig’s living eulogy and had to snap it up as my next dangerous ingredient in honour of him. The Rosewater restaurant is still open, and I just checked out their menu — the only thing I can see on it that may include rose water is “Rosewater French Onion Soup,” and even that might just be a specialty of theirs without any in it. Disappointing. When I started Googling, I learned that usually rose water is used in cooking desserts, traditionally in Persian and Middle Eastern cooking. That ol’ white witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe probably doused her Turkish Delight with a mess of it, because it’s usually one of the ingredients.
I couldn’t resist using it to make homemade marshmallows when I saw a recipe for them (which I promise I won’t use to entice anyone into my sleigh. Unless anyone can point me to Liev Schreiber‘s house, because then I might not be responsible for what me and my sleigh might do).
Anyway. The other nice thing about making homemade marshmallows is that I knew my kids would probably love them, and it’s not often that they will actually eat something I’ve made on my blog. Cactus? Nope. Calamansi? Nope. Kangaroo? They’d rather read about Kanga than eat her. Weirdos.
They were so excited to help me make marshmallows that I had to wait for days until we were all free to do it together.
And then by the time we actually got around to getting it all together it was too dark to get good photos, so apologies about that. Stupid winter is coming and it gets dark early. Bet there are no good photographers in Sweden.
Here’s how the recipe went down:
Rose water marshmallows
(Modified only slightly, especially to add the Canadian “u” to colour)
Special equipment: Candy thermometer, and a good mixer with a whisk attachment was stellar
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- ½ cup powdered sugar, divided, plus more for dusting
- ½ ounce unflavored powdered gelatin (this was 2 packets for me)
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon rose water
- 1 drop pink food colouring
Lightly coat a 13×9” baking pan with nonstick spray and sprinkle with ¼ cup powdered sugar. Combine gelatin and ½ cup cold water in a small bowl. Let stand until gelatin has softened, 10–15 minutes.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, fit a medium heavy saucepan with thermometer.
Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush (I bailed on the pastry brush part and it worked just fine). Boil sugar mixture, without stirring, until thermometer registers 250°, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved.
With mixer running, drizzle hot sugar mixture down side of bowl into egg whites; add rose water, increase speed to high, and beat until mixture has cooled slightly and tripled in volume, 5–7 minutes. Beat in food coloring, if desired (you do want them pink, trust me).
Spread marshmallow mixture into prepared pan.
Let cool at least 4 hours or overnight.
Dust tops of marshmallow with remaining ¼ cup powdered sugar. Turn out of pan and cut into 1” pieces; dust with more powdered sugar.
Pretty homemade marshmallows
Results: They certainly did taste rosy. Like, they tasted like the rose perfume I got for Christmas when I was eight. But my daughter is eight, so I guess now she gets to eat my perfume. Full circle. The kids liked them, though. And they were extremely pretty — you could omit the rose water or flavour them with something else, make them in many colours, and boom, best potluck contribution ever. Just don’t be that guy who goes camping and says, “Oh, these? Yes, I brought homemade marshmallows for the campfire.” People hate that guy. Rating: 3 Yums.
PS — A word of caution. Be sure to advise your children before making this that it works like jello, and they won’t be eating the finished mallows for at least four hours. Mine kind of lost their minds when I told them they had to wait.