Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marsh Madness: Fakin' Bacon and Eggs

Nibble Me This is a blog about my serious study of errr...misadventures in all things related to live fire cooking, such as; barbecue, grilling, cold smoking, "stir firing", and stuff like that, right?

So how in the world did I get involved in Marsh Madness - a contest in which 16 influential food bloggers (well, 15 and then there's me) from all over the country compete in regional brackets to create the most original marshmallow based on Shauna Sever's outrageous new book Marshmallow Madness?   

I guess I just have a hard time turning down a challenge!   Just the same, this was a fun departure from my usual stuff.  

I won't lie, I was intimidated by the thought of making marshmallows.   But Shauna's book is very easy to follow and lays out an easy game plan for making your own.  In fact, it was so easy, we made a second batch just for fun.  These aren't boring, white, Sta-Puft marshmallows.  These are wild colored, interestingly flavored, and creatively shaped bundles of sweet.  I couldn't believe how many ideas she packed into one book about marshmallows.  Who knew you could do all of that?  Marshmallows could be the "cupcake of 2012". 

So the challenge - most original marshmallow and how do I fit that into the theme of my blog.  

Plan A: was to make a layered sweet/savory marshmallow colored like a barbecued rib and topped with a caramel bbq glaze.  Problem: my colors were a bit off.  Instead of a dark outer crust and a smoke ring, we ended up with something that was light brown and pink.  *$(#)%!  

Plan B:  Hmmmm, it's made of mostly sugar, I could use a torch to caramelize the top like a creme brulee to give it a barbecued looking crust.  Problem:  It worked PERFECTLY and I got a nice crust, looked like a rib and smelled like a toasted marshmallow....for about 10 seconds until the carry over heat from the torching melted the sublayer and it oozed out with the colors mixing together to form a purple color that looked like someone made a smoothie out of Barney The Dinosaur.  Well *$(#(@!

Plan C:  As I sat there looking at the half slab of layered marshmallow sitting there, I said, "That doesn't look like ribs, it looks more like a slab of..."

"BACON!" Alexis chimed in.

So we made some fakin' bacon and eggs.  But the trick up my sleeve was hickory smoking the "bacon"

Everything on this plate is marshmallows.  Breakfast of champions.

Fakin' Bacon Marshmallows


For the bloom
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
 For the syrup
  • 2/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For the mallowing
  • 1/4 tsp BBQ rub*
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied bacon
  • 1/2 cup classic coating*
  1. Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Stir the sugar, syrups, water and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  You are wanting to cook it to 240f.
  3. In the mean time, microwave the gelatin until complete melted about 30 seconds.  Pour into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and start on low, leaving it running.
  4. When the sugar mixture hits 240f, carefully and slowly pour it into the mixing bowl.  Increase the mixer speed to medium for 5 minutes.  Increase to medium high and beat 3 more minutes.  Add the BBQ rub in the last minute
  5. Pour half the mixture into a second bowl.  Add pink gel coloring and chopped bacon to one bowl, folding in well.  Add brown gel coloring to the other bowl and mix.
  6. Pour 1/2 of the brown marshmallow into a greased 8 x 8 pan and spread evenly with a spatula.  Pour all of the pink marshmallow into the pan and spread out even with a spatula.  Pour the rest of the brown mixture into the pan and...yeah, spread out even.
  7. Sift some of the "classic coating" onto the top and allow to cure in a cool, dry place for 6 hours.  
  8. Use a metal spatula and free the sides from the pan.  Top the pan with plate, invert and allow the marshmallow to drop onto the plate.
  9. Use a pizza cutter rubbed with some of the classic coating and slice the marshmallow loaf into 1/4" slices.  
  10. Dust the slices with more of the classic coating.  
  11. Optional:  For an extra touch, do a quick hickory cold smoke of 20 minutes using a home made smoke generator or a Smoking Gun.

Since it didn't turn out to be ribs and was bacon instead, we made up a batch of the Classic Vanilla Marshmallow from the book to make "fried eggs" to go with the bacon.  For each egg, I took 1/4 cup of the marshmallow mix and poured it onto a greased surface so it could spread out in it's own shape like an egg would.  For each "yolk" I took about 2 Tbsp of the mix and added yellow gel coloring and put into a 1/4 cup silicone cup.  We let that cure for 4 hours and it was ready.  I inverted the "yolk" onto the "fried egg" and then shaved some sweet chocolate over it as the "pepper".  

Any recipe that has pig candy as an ingredient has got to be good!

I was worried when it first started off as a sugary liquid but it thickened up exactly as the book said it would.

Since bacon is often hickory smoked, I put strips of the "bacon" on a plate under a large container and then used a Smoking Gun.

Where'd the bacon go?  I can't see it in the smoke!

Sometimes, failures turn out to produce some awesome results.