I wasn’t raised a camper. When I mention my outdoor adventures to my loving family a state of confusion clouds their eyeballs; “why would anyone want to pay to sleep outdoors?” was the sentiment uttered by my Sister when she realized that camping at a Provincial park does in fact have a fee attached to it.
Now let me be clear, when I call myself a “Camper” I am most certainly offending those that seriously partake in this outdoor activity. I drive up to my campsite, buy some firewood, pitch a tent, and chill out while drinking wine by the fire. By no means strenuous, but just the right amount “unplugging” a girl needs sometimes. Plus I exclusively camp in Wine Country so that kind of sweetens the deal a little.
Speaking of sweet, I also pretty much exclusively eat marshmallows on this yearly adventure into the wild. Why? Well normally “corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, dextrose, water, gelatin, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial flavour, and colouring additives” falls pretty low on my “things to eat” list.
I have longed for quite sometime now to whip up a batch of my own gooey delights, but when they say you need a stand mixer to make these bad boys, they are not lying. If you attempt this by hand, 12 minutes of whipping a mixture that thickens exponentially with each whisk is nothing short of excruciating, both mentally and physically -take a page from my book and trust me on this one. This year though my dreams came true. Armed with my new ruby red stand mixer my arm workouts could be saved for PIlates, and the chemical food additives could be kept out of my bod, but I was stuck with another problem…. corn syrup!
What is a little corn syrup in a recipe that is nothing more than a sugar bomb, mixed with gelatin and tossed in more sugar? A lot if you are sensitive to corn, which as it turns out, is quite a few of you.
Talking about food sensitivities/intolerances and the not so nice affect they have on your digestive system is common place for nutritionists, and after an amazing (and inspiring chat) with a friend/nutrition mentor of mine Lisa Kilgour at Eat More Real Food I came to realize the extent, and shall we say “explosive” outcomes for those that are suffers. I am no gambler but I bet years of eating processed foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup, modified corn starch and various other corn derived preservatives and flavour enhancers, is bound to have some hand in this growing problem. In fact corn is so ubiquitous in the North American food system that some 45,000 grocery store items are reported to contain some form of corn/corn derived ingredient in them. Even the meat we eat, (when not purchased from local butchers who source that which is ethically, naturally and sustainably raised) contains corn via the diet the animals are fed. Sure the animals would probably be healthier on a diet of what they were naturally built to eat, but corn (an energy dense starch) fattens them up that much quicker… Ugh!
Without digressing from my feel good camping story too much and getting into the gooey wonder that is a homemade marshmallows, I urge anyone who suffers from some digestive upset to take a good hard look at their corn consumption, and try eliminating if from their diet to see if that provides any relief. For a list of some food ingredients that contain corn you can check out this list here.
Never go camping without wine, marshmallows, and the one you love.
Honey Sweetened Homemade Marshmallows
3 envelopes of organic gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar, for dusting (if you are sensitive to corn make sure it doesn’t contain corn starch…sneaky)
- Light grease a 9×9″ pan with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper allowing some to hang over the edges
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer combine gelatin with cold water. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes
- In a medium size sauce pan combine sugar, honey, vanilla and salt with 1/4 cup of water. Over medium/high heat bring to a boil and let roll for about a minute (keep your eye on this puppy as it has a tendency to want to boil over)
- Remove saucepan from heat, and with your mixer on medium speed, gradually add the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl to avoid splash back (nothing burns quite like hot sugar does)
- Gradually increase your mixer speed to high, and let whirl for about 12 minutes, until soft peaks form
- Using a rubber spatula transfer the gooey mixture into your prepared pan and allow to set for at least 4 hours in the refridgerator
- When set, dust cutting board with powdered sugar, turn marshmallow cube (because that is what it is now) onto board, and cut into desired marshmallow size
- Toss marshmallows in powdered sugar so your new marshmallows don’t stick to eachother and clump back into their pervious marshmallow cube form
Note: To make cutting easier I greased my knife with a little more coconut oil and dusted lightly with powdered sugar. I also got crazy with my s’mores concoction and made them with a little mint chocolate. Last year it was a touch of raspberry jam. Why be boring? xo