There’s marshmallow, and then there’s toasted marshmallow. Two entirely different beasts. Toasting brings out the best in an otherwise bland puff, caramelizing the sugars and giving the marshmallow a delightful crunch.
But how to get that tell-tale toasted flavor into ice cream?
Turns out it’s as easy as throwing some toasted marshmallows into a blender with the warm custard base. Well, not quite that easy, there were some issues with my initial process I needed to resolve, but the result is a rich and creamy ice cream that tastes like it just came off a campfire.
My first attempt was a bit of a mess. I didn’t spray the baking sheet before broiling, and what I ended up with was a sticky mass that could not physically be removed without bringing half the aluminum foil with it. The second time, I used parchment paper and generously sprayed it with cooking spray. After cooling for 10 minutes or so the marshmallows came off fairly easily. Still messy, but at least this time they were usable.
My second mistake was the marshmallow swirl. For the first batch I used straight marshmallow fluff. In theory it seemed like it would work, the fluff texture was about what I wanted for my swirl. Except it wouldn’t really swirl. I dropped dollops of fluff into the ice cream container with the freshly churned ice cream. The fluff floated to the top, barges of gelatin that were far to thick to swirl and froze harder than the ice cream itself. Oh don’t worry, we definitely ate that batch, but the top half of the container was basically solid frozen fluff.
Plan B. This time I used marshmallow topping (you can find it in the ice cream aisle of the grocery store with the other ice cream toppings). You can also make your own by microwaving some marshmallow fluff with water and stirring until smooth. You want it to be about the consistency of honey, so it can easily be drizzled in to the soft ice cream. When you transfer your freshly churned ice cream into the freezer container, alternate spoonfuls of ice cream with drizzles of marshmallow topping. The result will be scoops of toasted marshmallow ice cream with ribbons of gooey marshmallow throughout.
I borrowed a technique from Jeni’s for the ice water bath, since I mistakenly got rid of an excess set of mixing bowls that were the best water bath bowls I had. Jeni’s ice cream recipe is much different than what I used here, but her technique of putting the ice cream base into a zip-top freezer bag is quite convenient and cools the mixture down much quicker than a traditional ice water bath and prevents a skin from forming on the custard with no extra layers of plastic wrap needed. And once it’s thoroughly chilled, it is very easy to just snip a corner and pour all the base into the ice cream maker without any drips or mess.
I had big plans for this ice cream, exactly what I won’t share just yet because I may see it through to fruition. But the ice cream itself was so good it deserved a post of its own.
*Marshmallow topping is a thin sauce that can easily be drizzled into the ice cream base. Do not substitute marshmallow fluff (it's too darn thick). You can make your own topping from scratch or by microwaving marshmallow fluff with a few tablespoons of water (as needed) and stirring until it is the consistency of warm honey.