Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey marshmallows and other curious creations

Turkey and sweet potatoes. Sure it's on our mind these days. But in marshmallow glory?

That's right. At the Indy Winter Farmers Market opening this Saturday, I tried just that. Nestled among the raw foods, the fall veggies and the tea and meat vendors, was 240sweet, a local producer of gourmet marshmallow makers. We'd seen them at markets past and have been amazed by the varieties they'd come up with (and how spot on the flavors were). But turkey?

My husband and I tried a bite, just browned from a portal burner. Yes, the flavors were true to life, and a combination of packets of turkey and sweet potato marshmallows was the hot seller for hostess gifts that morning. Me, I think I'd have stuck with the salted caramel variety.

Owner Alexa Lemley gave me a window into her world earlier this year.

Why, of all things, did you decide to specialize in homemade marshmallows?

While searching the internet for recipes, I came across one for homemade marshmallows. Since I had never made them before, I decided to experiment. I started off with with Martha Stewart's vanilla flavor. Soon, I was creating my own recipes with ingredients that I found appealing. It was really just a way for me to play with flavors for fun.

How do you come up with the flavor combinations? What's the most unusual flavor you've made or had suggested to you?

I am inspired by the flavors of some of my favorite dishes. For example, Saffron and Pistachio is like kulfi. Avocado and Lime is from my favorite Vietnamese treat, avocado milkshakes. After making some Fleur de Sel caramels, I wondered what a salty caramel marshmallow would taste like. I'm not sure which would be most unusual. In my catering business, I use a variety of ingredients and flavors in my dishes to create foods that my clients request.

How do you get people past the idea of marshmallows being used for cocoa, smores or Rice Krispy treats? What other ideas do you have for them to enjoy these?

Actually, my marshmallows are great in cocoa, s'mores and Rice Krispy treats. However, they stand on their own as a treat. My puffs are also great as a dipper for fondues.

What ingredients are used, particularly for flavoring? Are they all-natural? Organic?

Whenever possible, we use local and organic. We use both granulated and powdered beet sugar from Michigan and Indiana corn starch. I make my own vanilla extract from organic vanilla beans. This summer, I made some delicious puffs using peaches from Double Oak Farms. We don't add any colors or artificial ingredients.

The marshmallows are admittedly a sweet splurge - three packets for $10 - but are a great idea for a stocking stuffer for your favorite foodie!

FTC Note: I received no compensation from 240Sweet for this article. I simply found it to be a fun idea!

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