Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Instant Coffee plus sugar syrup = DISASTER

In preparation for the markets this weekend, I decided to add another flavor of marshmallow to my customizable s'mores. I already have 4 types of chocolate to choose from (milk, white, dark and dark with mint) and several other add-ons to make them special (Nutella, peanut butter, raspberry jam, orange marmalade and my recent addition of blackberry Merlot from Saucy Spirits).

Adding another marshmallow option was next on my list. Coffee and chocolate are a great combination and would have a wide appeal.

Here's a brief run through on how to make marshmallows. Soften gelatin in some water in a large mixing bowl with a whip attachment. Make a sugar syrup and heat to 240 degrees and slowly add to the softened gelatin. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer on high and whip for 10-20 minutes, or until thickened. Add vanilla or other flavoring and transfer to a greased pan to set up.

I toyed with where to add the instant coffee crystals. Whether I should add them to the water in which the gelatin softens or to the sugar syrup or at the very end. I didn't think the crystals would dissolve very well if I added them with the vanilla, even though one recipe I found chose to add it then. The water for softening the gelatin needs to be cool and I wasn't sure how the coffee would affect the gelatin.

So I just made my simple syrup in my same pot as usual and added two teaspoons of coffee granules. It made sense and things were going well until it reached a boil. At which time it majorly boiled over in half a second. Which spilled all over the hot stove, which caused a lot of smoke, which made the house fire alarm go off, which made the company call the house, but the house phone's battery was dead so I couldn't answer it, while trying to keep the sugar syrup from running onto the floor, running over to the alarm panel 5 times to shut it off, the dogs were upset at the smoke and the sound, then the garage door starts to open...my husband is coming home, the house phone starts ringing again at the same time as my cell phone, I am able to tell the guy not to send the fire department just as my husband walks in to the mess, all the while he is getting phone calls about the alarm. Then both our cell phones go off at the same time, our friends were calling to see if we were ok since they were evidently our emergency contacts through the alarm company.

Did you follow all that? And it all happened in a span of 2-3 minutes. Needless to say I am more than a little embarrassed about it all. And it doesn't help that I wasn't alone to clean up all the mess and no one would ever know better. Or that I could fix it all then tell people and laugh about it after the fact. But it is what it is. And now I am telling all of you about it.

So what do you think, should I give coffee marshmallows another shot? Maybe I will add the coffee crystals in the end and see how that goes. I am a little gun shy after the disaster I just made, but it happens to the best of us. I just need to pick myself up and keep trying because I never know what I can do until I try.

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