Use Those Marshmallows
As I was cleaning out a kitchen cupboard, I came across a bag of stale marshmallows. They had been purchased just a couple of weeks ago, but had not been sealed properly after opening and now were dried and no longer soft, fluffy, and yummy. I started to throw them out, but then remembered the hard, dry marshmallows that came in the package of hot chocolate mix. Hmmm.... I'm always open for a cost-savings, waste-reducing experiment.
I made a cup of hot chocolate (extra large and lots of chocolate, for no good reason, except the excuse of this being an experiment.) I then sprinkled a good handful of the dried marshmallows on top. Moments later, I was enjoying a very delicious cup of hot chocolate with tasty good marshmallows. I even decided that I liked the reconstituted marshmallows better than the fresh ones on the hot chocolate.
The dried marshmallows should stay useable for a long time. If they seem to be starting to stick together, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them before storing. They can be stored in an airtight bag or container and can even be frozen.
Cost savings - a bag of marshmallows will cost from $.99 (generic) to $2.50 (Kraft) at our local Martin's Supermarket. Note: Amazon.com has Kraft Mini Marshmallows 10.5 oz - 8 Unit Pack for $19.95 which is also about $2.49 a package. That's a lot of marshmallows, though!
Saving half a bag would then save $.50 to $1.25. Not bad for virtually no time and trouble and a delicious result. And best of all: a good excuse to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.
More ideas for stale marshmallows ...
Dry marshmallows can actually be renewed. Take one or two slices of fresh, moist bread and put them in a plastic resealable bag with the marshmallows. After one or two days, the marshmallows should be soft again. Keep them that way by tightly sealing them and storing them in the freezer. If your family does not like the heels of the bread, then this is a great use for them.
This is also a good trick for preventing the marshmallows from drying out in the first place.
You might also try putting the stale marshmallows in the microwave with a dish or cup of water on the side and heating both for about 10 seconds to refresh the marshmallows.
Unstick a Clump of Marshmallows
If your bag of marshmallows is stuck together in a big clump, try this trick to unstick them: Sprinkle 1-2 tsp of corn starch or powdered sugar over the marshmallows in the bag. Seal the bag and shake vigorously to evenly distribute and coat the marshmallows. They should begin to come apart in a few moments.
10 - 13 small marshmallows equals one regular marshmallow
9 - 11 regular marshmallows equals one cup
10 oz bag marshmallows equals about 40 regular marshmallows
4- 1/2 cups marshmallows + 2 tsp light corn syrup equals one 7-oz jar marshmallow creme. Melt slowly in a double boiler, stirring frequently.
NOTE: Marshmallows contain gelatin which allows them to keep their shape. Marshmallow creme does not; instead it usually contains egg whites. For many or most recipes this will not be a problem, especially if the marshmallows are going to be melted before using in the recipe. Note also the corn syrup adds extra sweetener, so you may experiment with either cutting back slightly on other sugars in the recipe, or even eliminating the corn syrup
Marshmallows measurements in a recipe tend to be a little forgiving, so using slightly more than called for will usually give the same results.
Make Your Own Marshmallows
Of course I now felt compelled to do some research on marshmallows. Here are some of the results:
Martha Stewart has a recipe for making your own marshmallows. (Is there anything she doesn't do?) Martha Stewart's Homemade Marshmallows.
Cooking for Engineers also posted a good illustrated recipe for homemade marshmallows.
Here is a recipe for making your own Marshmallow Cream or Marshmallow Fluff from whatscookingamerica.net: Homemade Marshmallow Fluff / Cream
As a Toy
Several sites recommended that stale marshmallows can be used as ammunition in children's sling-shot type toys. Really.
When Transporting an Iced Cake
They can also be used to keep frosting from touching the plastic wrap or foil when wrapping an iced cake. Put marshmallows in strategic places over the top of the cake, wrap or cover and then when you remove the foil or wrap, just take off the marshmallows. Ta da! ... the frosting is on the cake and no mess on the foil or wrap.
Baking With Stale Marshmallows
Many of the sites indicated that if you are using the stale marshmallows in a recipe that calls for melting the marshmallows, then the recipe will turn out fine with stale marshmallows. I have to disagree ... I've tried dried out marshmallows in a Rice Krispy Treats recipe and they just turned into a gooey mess. I am going to try again, though, using either the soft bread or microwave and water methods of reviving the marshmallows first. I'll let you know how it turns out.
See our page of recipes for marshmallows, including Cranberry Apple Salad, Marshmallow Cinnamon Puffs,
Use Dried Marshmallows in Cereal
It just occurred to me that dried marshmallows are used in cereal. I'll try chopping them up and adding them to a bowl of cereal with milk. The marshmallows can be a substitute for sugar and I'm expecting them to taste as good as the marshmallows in Lucky Charms.
How to Dry Marshmallows
Another site (boingboing.net) had a reader offer this recipe for drying the marshmallows to crunchy, like the kind found in cereal:
1. Microwave marshmallows for 10-15 seconds until they swell up into horrible bloated sugar-shoggoths.
2. Allow to cool.
3. They deflate into hard, shriveled little lumps, similar to the kind found in cereal (although often the shapes are more interesting).
Oh my! I just stumbled on a site that SELLS dried marshmallows ... cerealmarshmallows.com. (Note, the site looks a little abandoned.) Better yet, they have a whole page of recipes for stale or dried marshmallows. They include:
- Stirring them into homemade ice cream ... think Rocky Road!
- Using them as a topping on ice cream
- Stirring them into the brownie mix batter before baking
- Stirring them into pancake batter before frying
- Stirring them into oatmeal - stir into the oatmeal for melting and using as a sweetener or sprinkle them on top of the cooked oatmeal to use as a topping
- Adding them to cookie recipes
- Stir them into frozen yogurt (the site says this is their most popular use)
- Use them in popcorn balls
Of course, Amazon also has dried marshmallows.
I don't even have enough stale marshmallows to try all these, but now I'm looking forward to discovering my next bag of dried out marshmallows so I can start experimenting again. I think I'll start with stirring them into brownie mix first .. or maybe I'll sprinkle them on some oatmeal. Oh, where to start first!
Summary Cost Savings:
About $.50 to $1.50 for saving a half-bag of marshmallows. Not a huge amount of savings, but sure a lot of fun using them. Learning to save money while having fun is The Fat Dollar way.
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