Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Plush Puffs: Gourmet Marshmallows Three Ways, Followed by a Hail Mary Marshmallow Pass

In the 4th grade I liked marshmallows, because I could pull them apart and stick them on my lunchbox, giving Garfield big bulgy eyes.

But that's not really a good basis for a lasting relationship. Though does give you a window into what I find amusing.

Since then, me and marshmallows have just had a passing acquaintance. I know them, I run into them occasionally, usually when they're in the company of smores and rice krispy treats, but I'm not going to become their fan on Facebook. Marshmallows are okay, but they're nothing to get all excited about.

Of course, I've only really known the ordinary marshmallows. (I have also met the colored, dried up marshmallows which reside in certain breakfast cereals masquerading as green clovers and other such nonsense, but they are an abomination of which we will not speak.)

So when I was offered the chance to try the gourmet Plush Puffs marshmallows, handcrafted and all-natural, I was hopeful.
Could marshmallows be tasty? Could we be friends?

I had three flavors: S'more, a kind of everything in one package flavor, Vanilla Bean, the "classic", and the Caramel Swirl.

We tried them 3 ways initially:

  • Straight up
Eh, no. The vanilla tastednot much different from any other marshmallow. Powdery. Sticky. Sweet. The vanilla flavor did not enhance this in any way.

The Smore tasted like a mouthful of candy parts. Candy that wasn't finished. The marshmallow and hard chocolate and chocolate powder, unmelted, didn't really blend together particularly well.

I had hopes for Caramel Swirl because ... it's caramel. Straight up, ohmygod, so gross. So not good. Oh no no no.

What's wrong with it? A quick glance at the ingredient list and we've narrowed it down to the honey. The note of honey is weird, off, and a little too earthy.

That's okay. Perhaps marshmallows were never meant to be eaten straight up.

  • In coffee
It said specifically on the box that the marshmallows would be good in coffee.

That is not a suggestion I would be promoting.

If you like your coffee, and if you like your coffee black, as Foodgoat and I do, you may find that a giant hunk o' sticky sweetness and it's overpowering vanilla taste sitting in your delicious cup of strong hot Guatemalan totally repulsive, as Foodgoat and I did.

The caramel with its note of honey tasted even worse with coffee.

I couldn't even try the Smore flavor in coffee after that.

  • Smores
It's gots to be melted. Just consider marshmallows raw and inedible until a specific heat point.

Besides being fun to make, the smores made with Plush Puffs turned out better than when they were eaten cold or in coffee. The Smore flavor turned out the best, not needing any additional chocolate and firing up and getting all melt-y very nicely, and the Vanilla Bean did well too. Still, I'm not a huge fan of smores, and have gourmet marshmallows didn't change that.

The Caramel Swirl? Better than in coffee, but not much. Seriously, that note of honey was just weird.

It depressed me, and more than ever I wanted to save that marshmallow. There must be a place for it.

Redemption for the Caramel Swirl marshmallow was found in my one last marshmallow effort ...

  • Bacon Marshmallow Grilled Sandwich

Yeah, you read that right. Bacon ... and marshmallow.

I didn't have much hope. This was my Hail Mary marshmallow pass. I didn't take a photo. [ETA Turns out I did get a photo!] I made it when Foodgoat was at work. I used the grocery store bacon instead of the really good bacon.

But ... it worked. The earthiness of the Caramel Swirl honey notes actually tasted good with the a couple slices of meaty, just-fried bacon on some crisp bread. The sweetness of the marshmallow complemented the fattiness of the bacon surprisingly well.

Would I make this again, ever? Well, no, probably not. I'd take a bacon sandwich plain or with anything else first, unless I'm in a totally goofy mood, or pregnant.

Ultimately, though, the fancy gourmet Plush Puffs marshmallows were a disappointment. They didn't make me like marshmallows more at all.

Plush Puffs just taught me that bacon can save almost anything, even gawdawful marshmallows.

Per FTC disclosure guidelines, we got these marshmallow samples for free. Thankfully. Because I totally would have hated paying for them.

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