I first ran across this recipe on the web and was intrigued; Max and Eli Sussman’s S’mores with Maple-Bourbon Marshmallows. The Sussmans add Bourbon and maple separately but we conveniently have a bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup that already has the flavor in it without the alcohol. Confectionary is an intricate and precise dance of science and art using sugar as a medium. Dare I try to mess with the recipe? I dared.

The result turned out pretty damned well, if I do say so myself. I was actually a bit lazy and tried it with our rye barrel-aged syrup because it was the closest at hand on that particular day but I’m guessing the rum or bourbon barrel-aged syrups would work equally well. It helps to have a standing mixer or, at the very least, a hand-held electric beater.

This is one of those recipes that you have to follow precisely and have faith that if you don’t deviate it will turn out well even if you don’t understand why. There is some magic that happens when mixing sugar, heat, air and gelatin which results in the pillowy wonder that is a marshmallow. I paired it with Lindt bittersweet chocolate and graham crackers. Our photographer, Carol Sullivan happened to have some chocolate sauce on hand and that wasn’t awful either.

One note about these marshmallows; they are not good for roasting over a fire or subjecting to any kind of heat – they will just melt. A small price to pay for an otherwise very cool homemade confection.

Vegetable oil cooking spray
Powdered sugar, for dusting
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
¾ cup Bourbon, rye or rum barrel-aged maple syrup
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
Lindt bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate sauce
graham crackers

Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper or foil. Coat lightly with cooking spray and dust with powdered sugar.
Add the gelatin to 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the maple syrup, and the granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture registers 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Choose a pot that is fairly deep to prevent boiling over.

Remove from the heat, pour into the bowl of a standing mixer and add the dissolved gelatin. Using the paddle attachment, beat until stiff peaks form, about 15 minutes. Pour into the prepared dish scraping out the last bits with a rubber spatula and spread in an even layer. Let cool at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.

Pull the marshmallow out of the pan using the lining or a spatula. Cut into squares of desired size. You can dust the squares with extra confectioners’ sugar to keep them dry.

Place a square or two of graham cracker on a dessert plate. Put a marshmallow on top, add a piece of chocolate and then top with a little extra chocolate sauce. Place another graham cracker on top to make a sandwich.

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