The transformation from the rather dull and vaguely sweet combination of whipped sugar, corn-starch and gelatine (veggie alternatives also available) to slightly charred, wonderfully browned, crisp, gooey, aromatic delight is staggering in its speed, simplicity and magnitude.
What kind of marshmallow should I buy?
The best marshmallows to use are the archetypal white or pink kind; about the same diameter as a fifty pence piece that usually come in large bags that can be bought almost anywhere (veggie ones tend to be more readily available online). Don’t be tempted to buy the colourful, unnecessarily over complicated versions. A true master of marshmallow toasting is a purist – simplicity of shape and colour are essential in obtaining the perfect finished article.
What you will need
Some marshmallows – we prefer white ones.
A fire – let your fire burn down to brightly glowing coals.
Something to sit on – brilliant toasted marshmallows takes time; squatting can cause legs to ache and the job to be rushed. A suitable stump or log to sit on allows everyone to concentrate on the job in hand.
A sharpened stick – something at least as long as your forearm and somewhere between a pencil and your little finger in thickness; sharpening a stick is a brilliant job by which to learn how to use a knife safely. Children sat around a fire with their elbows on their knees using a knife under direct supervision will be able to safely fashion their own superb toasting tool.
Optional extras – Hot chocolate, wide open spaces for burning off the inevitable sugar rush.
What you should do
Light a fire – use the best wood you can find, dry quality wood will give you the best possible coals and great quality coals will give you the best possible toasted marshmallow. Let your fire burn down until there are few flames and lots of coals.
Once you’re sat around your brightly glowing embers with sharpened sticks, carefully insert your point through the very centre of your marshmallow, accuracy is all – the ability to ‘roll’ your marshmallow for even cooking will give you brilliant results.
Use your sharpened stick to hold your marshmallow a few centimetres from a likely looking area of glowing embers; don’t let your marshmallow touch any part of the fire, subtle texture changes should be obtained by careful crisping and NOT by picking up great chunks of charred wood and grit.
Slowly rotate your marshmallow over the embers trying to give each side an even amount of cooking time and heat, your marshmallow will become shiny then slowly start to brown as it toasts, keep rotating as this happens or you will overcook and char one side.
The Perfect Marshmallow
A brilliant toasted marshmallow is one that is lightly browned all over with the occasional ‘extra’ cooked area for a little more flavour and texture.
The outside of your marshmallow should be crisp, browned and blistered. The inside will be molten, gooey and HOT.
Blow on your marshmallow, leave it to cool a little, MAKE sure that your tribe allow their marshmallows to cool:, molten sugar stuck to your chin is hardly ever pleasant.
Feast on sticky, warm, sugary, caramelised goodness!
For real luxury take a packet of your favourite biscuit and sandwich the molten marshmallow between two of those biscuits then enjoy, we strongly recommend a chocolate coated, knobbly, oaty biscuit for this task.
Toasting marshmallows is the best way to end a great day of bushcrafting.
11 September 2019 by Owen Senior