Candy cap marshmallows are exactly what they sound like, and they're one of the most creative candy cap recipes I've ever worked with. Credit goes to my favorite pastry chef.
I'm not a pastry chef, but I always loved collaborating with them, since they were the conduit that allowed me to speak to guests through the dessert menu. Don't get me wrong, I make plenty of desserts, I just don't have 10 years of experience making only desserts, like most of my pastry chefs did.
Love your pastry chef
I had my ups and downs (pastry chefs being notoriously nocturnal, introverted creatures). After a particularly bad run with a pastry chef who didn't bathe, smoked meth, and forced me to lock up the bottle of brandy we stuck vanilla beans in (seriously) I got a great pastry chef named LaVelle.
LaVelle was a veteran, a jovial friar-tuck of a woman, always laughing and joking, her voice bellowing through the kitchen. She effortlessly dished out the sort of sharp wit and kitchen insult comebacks you'd expect after surviving years of hard work in the culinary industry's cut-throat, alpha-male environment.
She was also the wife of one of my chef buddies who used to be the Chef de Cuisine at St. Paul's beloved Strip Club restaurant.
I'd just bought a pound of dried candy caps (you know they cost about 200$/lb, right?) and I'd encouraged Lavelle to make whatever she pleased for the menu with them. One day during prep time, she came up to me and handed me a marshmallow. "Candy cap marshmallows?!" "No F^&*%$# way!" I said. "Way" She said.
I bit into one, and tasted the marshmallow fluff I know and love, followed by the tell-tale maple syrup kiss of the candy cap mushrooms. They were delicious, and something I would've never, ever thought to make. I had her send me the recipe, and we started brainstorming on what to do with them.
Versatile, egg-less meringue
Since the marshmallow fluff is spreadable after whipping, like meringue, forming it into marshmallows is only one of the countless possibilities for working with these. Anywhere you could use a meringue, you can use this. Candy cap marshmallow pie? Yep. Pumpkin pie with a meringue topping glazed with a torch? You bet. And, of course, candy cap s'mores don't suck at all.
Unfortunately, the restaurant closed before we were able to figure out the best place for the marshmallows to live. That was 5 years ago now, and, considering that the chances of me running a restaurant soon are slim to none, the best thing for me to do is share them with you.
Dry the marshmallows to toast them
As for the obvious question here I know you all have, yes, absolutely, your candy cap marshmallows will make excellent s'mores! But, there's a catch: since homemade marshmallows are much more sticky than Jet-Puff, to make them easier to handle you must dry the marshmallows out a bit overnight (or longer) which will make them brown like a dream, and make for easier handling.
To dry fresh marshmallows, after cutting them into pieces, dust them with sugar and cornstarch, then allow them to dry on a baking rack, turning occasionally to desiccate them—24 to 48 hours.
Link above for the mold I use in this post. It's also great for things that don't need to be heated, just formed, like my hackberry candy bars.
Candy Cap Mushroom Marshmallows
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ light corn syrup or glucose *
- ½ cup ice water divided
- 1.5 packets gelatin or 6 sheets silver gelatin
- 1 tablespoon finely ground candy caps sift them for the finest result
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons each: powdered sugar and cornstarch
- Mix the powdered sugar and cornstarch and reserve.
- Pour half the water over the gelatin in a stand mixer with the whisk attached. Meanwhile, bring the corn syrup, sugar and water to a boil with a candy thermometer.
- Boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 240 F, then, working quickly, pour the mixture into a vessel you can pour from (I use a qt silicone measuring cup since it holds heat, but is easy to handle).
- Begin beating the gelatin on medium speed, carefully drizzling the molten sugar syrup into the mixture.
- When all the syrup has been added, add the vanilla, then beat on high for 15 minutes, or until the mixture holds medium peaks. Beat in the ground candy caps.
- Once the marshmallow batter is holding peaks, liberally dust a non-stick surface such as a 8 in x 8 in baking pan. In the restaurant, we used to dust sheets of cling film, allowing us to roll the marshmallows up into cylinders. You can also put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into molds dusted with the cornstarch-sugar mix, as pictured.
- Using an off-set spatula, spread out the marshmallow fluff, smoothing out the top as best you can.
- Chill the candy cap marshmallows until firm, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. The marshmallows can be cut with a knife dipped in hot water, then dusted with more sugar and cornstarch, or used as is like you would regular marshmallows (they’ll be a bit sticky).
- The marshmallows will last for a week in the fridge.