Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero 
Prop Styling by Ayesha Patel

Burnt: Smell

Cashew Butter Marshmallows

Desserts from Issue 12 - Winter 2018 – The Senses

Though the marshmallow plant has been used medicinally since the 9th century BC, it was the ancient Egyptians who first saw its confectionary potential. Any fan of this veritable nectar of the gods knows that, as a Kraft Jet-Puffed ad from the 1960s decreed: “They’re the most to toast.” The mesmerizing smell and taste of toasted marshmallows is thanks in part to the Maillard reaction, which occurs between sugars and amino acids when certain foods (also coffee) are slowly roasted. Our rich, cashew butter-based versions are a modern paean to the campfire classic.

makes 16

  • 3 (¼ oz each) packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cashew butter
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • confectioners’ sugar for cutting

  • 1

    Lightly coat a metal 8-x-8 inch cake pan with oil or baking spray. Stir together ½ cup water and gelatin in the bowl of a mixer and let stand 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup, and remaining ½ cup water in a medium pot and stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Raise heat to medium-high and cook until temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 240°F, stirring occasionally.

  • 2

    With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour hot sugar mixture down side of mixing bowl carefully avoilding the beater. Once incorporated, raise speed to high and whisk until outside of bowl is cooled and marshmallow is almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

  • 3

    Remove about ¼ of the mixture and stir cashew butter and salt into it. Return it to the bowl and quickly fold it in. Spread mixture into prepared pan and set aside at room temperature, uncovered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

  • 4

    Run a dull knife along edges of pan to help release the marshmallow then invert it onto a board generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into squares with a very lightly oiled knife, turning marshmallows in the sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container.

  • 5

    Before toasting, coat again in confectioners’ sugar. Skewer the marshmallows and carefully torch. Toasting emphasizes the nuttiness of the cashew butter.