This post is part of Just Jot It January. Please join in! You can find everything you need here: http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/
‘Rithmatic? (the JusJoJan prompt for 11-20) I was never good with numbers. I don’t know why, I just never liked math very much. But I did a little math yesterday and today because I am doing a little experiment. A couple days ago, I found, par hasard a really cute recipe book on Kindle. ( Marshmallow Madness! by Shauna Sever )A whole book full of recipes for…marshmallows!! I’m not really a candy-maker. In fact, I have a deadly fear of caramel. (that’s another story…I promise to write it soon!) But marshmallows are so cute, and so soft and so sweet. The recipes in the book promised to be attainable for anyone with a little patience and a little sugar. The pictures are delightful, the text is well written, and I can now tell you from experience that I am having some little bit of success with the recipes.
I read the introduction, I read the history of marshmallows as we know them today (which we owe to les Français, bien sûr!) It turns out that there are recipes with and without egg whites. The author calls her egg-white recipe “Guimauves” which is the French word for what we call marshmallows. According to her, it’s technically “pâte de guimauves” but she shortens it to “guimauves.” I think it’s a lovely word, but then I think that about a lot of French words.
Then, I read the methods and I read the basic recipes. During the sugar-mixture boiling stage, one needs a candy thermometer. Check. And that’s where I get back to the ” ‘rithmetic.” Because you see, the temperature of the sugar mixture matters. And it’s relative to the boiling point. And water does not boil at 212ºF at an altitude of 6200’. This means that unless the candy thermometer that I just bought was created and calibrated at my same altitude, water will not boil when it reads 212º. I had a suspicion that the thermometer was not a “local” product, so that means I had to “calibrate” it, that is, boil some water, note the reading on the thermometer, and note the difference between that number and 212º, and then adjust all the candy-making temperatures in the book by that many degrees. Arrrggh! I have to do math in order to create these sweet, innocent looking, fluffy morsels of goodness? Uncool. Totally uncool. But they are so cute, so enticing, that I did it anyway. In case you are wondering, I have to subtract 15º from all the temperatures to make the candy.
So…did it work, you are wondering? YES! I have marshmallowy goodness in my house just waiting for some nice hot chocolate. Or maybe I’m just going to eat them as a little treat alongside my Nespresso. Because they have a French history, I have decided to take some to my French class tomorrow. Pourquoi pas? En fait…je crois que ce sera un bon exercice. J’ai déjà lu cet article sur Wiki au sujet de guimauves, et comme devoirs, chaque personne doit présenter un article en classe demain. L’idée est d’ouvrir la discussion avec cet article. Donc, je vais le présenter, avec quelques mots que je ne connaissais pas, (j’ai dû les chercher dans le dictionnaire.) Puis, ils peuvent goûter les résultats et voter pour leur favori ! Bonne idée, n’est-ce pas?
The “experiment” part of this was that I made two batches: one with egg whites and one without. The ones without were the more “basic” recipe and I made those last night. The batter (or pâte en français) has to “cure” or set up for at least 6 hours. So I made them last night and cut and coated them this morning. Then I made a batch with egg whites. They also have to cure for 6 hours. I will cut and coat them when my husband gets home tonight.
Then we will have the “Great Comparison.” My husband will get a vote, and I will take the vote to my class tomorrow as well !
Which one do you think will win? Tomorrow, I will “just jot” the results here for you, chers lecteurs!
P.S. When my husband got home, we registered our votes, which of course were not “blind” like they will be in my class tomorrow. After that, I had to go one step further: I made a quick chocolate ganache and we dipped some of these “guimauves” in that. Heavenly!