There’s something so irresistible about a soft, squishy marshmallow. Biting into one is like biting into a piece of small, sticky cloud!
Have you ever wondered how these delightful, pillow-soft treats are made? And what exactly are they made from?
Read on to find out a little about the history of marshmallows, how marshmallows are made, and what makes them one of our favourite sweets.
Marshmallow’s Ancient History
Marshmallow is one of the oldest known types of confectionery. Its earliest origins date back to ancient Egypt, where the roots of the marsh mallow plant (Althaea officinalis) were pulped, boiled with sugar until they thickened, and then combined with honey to create a luxurious sweet treat that was reserved for royalty and gods.
It may seem odd to think that a plant that grows in marshes could produce such a beloved sweet, but since the marsh mallow plant was found in parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia, it was used widely for medicinal purposes for centuries. Initially, only the very wealthy could afford marshmallow confections, but eventually, marshmallows became widely available for everyone to enjoy.
In the mid-1800s, French confectioners whipped up marshmallows using the sap from the mallow plant. This process was done by hand and took ages, so-much-so that confectioners couldn’t keep up with the demand for the sticky sweets. Then, in 1948, a confectionery hero emerged.
Alex Doumak created a way to mass-produce marshmallows using an extruder and running the mallow mixture through long tubes. Mallow root was swapped out for gelatin, and the stable, squishy modern marshmallow was born.
Modern marshmallows bear little resemblance to their earliest counterparts. In the 19th century, confectioners combined mallow root sap, egg whites, and sugar to make a fluffy, moulded treat. Today’s process is quite different.
Gelatin has replaced mallow sap, and it’s combined with sugar, water, corn syrup, and starch before being piped through long pipes and cut into equal-sized pieces. Corn starch is often used inside the tubes to prevent the heated marshmallow mixture from sticking. Some of the powdery residue remains on the marshmallows, giving them that dusty look.
Thanks to the manufacturing process created by Doumak, millions of marshmallows are enjoyed around the world every year. Because of his extrusion technique, marshmallows went from elitists treats to tasty tidbits that everyone could afford to enjoy.
What Makes Marshmallows Fluffy?
During the manufacturing process, marshmallow ingredients are heated, combined, strained, and then whipped into the fluffy, frothy texture we’ve come to know and love. Once frothed, the marshmallows can be up to three times their original volume thanks to all that added air.
Homemade marshmallows get their air the old-fashioned way, by whipping it in. Modern mixers with whisk attachments make the job a little easier, but picking up a bag of your favourite marshmallows from our online sweet shop is the easiest way of all to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Who Eats Marshmallows?
Although marshmallows are eaten in countries all over the world, Americans consume the most marshmallows every year. In the seventies, a combination of clever marketing and quirky recipes ensured that marshmallows were used in dishes ranging from salads to casseroles. And even British children have heard of the infamous S’mores that Americans love to eat over a campfire.
But the UAE do love a bit of the sweet, fluffy stuff, too. Marshmallow sticks and fluffy pink and white marshmallow confections bring back our fondest childhood memories. No matter how old you are, the sight of a marshmallow is bound to make you smile.
Sweet Marshmallow Uses
You can make marshmallows yourself, though the process is messy and time-consuming. Or, you could pick up a bag of your favourite fluffy sweets and put them into your own recipes.
- Pop them into a mug of hot cocoa for extra sweetness.
- Melt them between two chocolate-covered digestives for a very civilised version of S’mores.
- Combine melted marshmallows with puffed rice cereal to create fun treats the entire family will enjoy.
Whether you eat them straight from the pack or melt them into something delicious, marshmallows are a decadent treat that can make you feel like a kid again.
Enjoy Marshmallows and More
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy your favourite sweets, and you don’t have to live near a sweet shop, either. Our Sweet Factory Online Store makes it easy to get the sweets you remember from your childhood delivered straight to your door.
Whether you’re craving gummy candies, tasty pick n mix sweets, or fluffy marshmallows, we have them all and more. Visit our online shop today and bring home the taste of your childhood for your whole family to enjoy.