Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Marshmallows

A marshmallow is a type of confection that, in its modern form, consists of sugar or corn syrup, beaten egg whites, gelatin that has been pre-softened in water, gum arabic and flavorings, whipped to a spongy consistency. The traditional recipe used an extract from the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow, a shrubby herb (Althaea officinalis), instead of gelatin; the mucilage performed as a cough suppressant.
Commercial marshmallows are a late 19th century innovation. Since Alex Doumak's patented extrusion process of 1948, marshmallows are extruded as soft cylinders, cut in sections and rolled in a mix of finely powdered cornstarch and confectioner's sugar.
Most commercial marshmallows are unsuitable for strict vegetarians, since the gelatin used is almost universally derived from animal sources.
Marshmallows are popular with children and adults alike, and can be eaten with or without accompaniments. In Thanksgiving, marshmallows are often placed on top of a dish of candied sweet potatoes. By far the most popular places to find marshmallows are as roast marshmallows, in jello salads, in Rice Krispies treats and in s'mores. Rice Krispies are a puffed rice breakfast cereal that are combined with melted marshmallows, produce a crunchy, sweet bar. S'mores are traditionally made by cooking a marshmallow over an open fire, especially a campfire, and then placing it with chocolate between graham crackers. Marshmallows are also often added to hot chocolate or café mocha (mochachino). Marshmallow is an ingredient of Mallomars

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