Whiskey Marshmallows and Cajun Maple Pecans

Whiskey, making marshmallows feel all grown up.

Whiskey, making marshmallows feel all grown up.

Marshmallows are one of my favourite foods. That’s going to turn some people off I realize but I don’t care. I love them plain, toasted, made into ice cream, or especially in some bar treat (think rice krispie) form. But even if you are a marshmallow hater you might find yourself changing your tune after trying this boozy variety. And if you think you hate marshmallows but have never had a homemade one before then my money says its not these sweet little confections you hate but the crap that comes in a bag at the store. I make mine from scratch at least once a year and whenever I’m going camping. My boyfriend never liked marshmallows, finding them to be “pointless” and “too sweet.” He went so far as trying to ban me from making them anymore. That is until I put a healthy bit of bourbon into a batch. They are light as air, sweet, and have all of the depth of flavor of whichever alcohol you use. My go to’s are bourbon, whiskey, or rum. The alcohol cuts the sweetness and now these are “the only marshmallows I ever want to see in this house, ever.” You can guess where that quote comes from.

Maple, smoked chili, salt, and pepper give these pecans a kick.

Maple, smoked chili, salt, and pepper give these pecans a kick.

Whiskey Marshmallows: Adapted from liquor.com

2.5 TBL unflavored powdered gelatin

3/4 cup whiskey

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 cup lite corn syrup (the invert sugar is too sweet for my liking in this instance)

plus powdered sugar and corn starch for dusting.

You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe and a pastry brush.

  1. In a mixing bowl mix together the gelatin and 1/2 cup of the whiskey. Allow the gelatin to soak up the booze and soften, about 10 minutes. Stir to avoid dry lumps.
  2. In a medium pot mix together the remaining ingredients, except for the final 1/4 cup of whiskey which should be set aside till the end (pour yourself extra if the thought of candy making is driving you to want to drink.)
  3. On medium high heat carefully stir the ingredients together so that nothing burns. Bring this mixture to a boil. Once you have reached 212°F stop stirring. Use a wet pastry brush if necessary to wash down the interior sides of the pot with water. The goal here is to remove any stray sugar that could cause crystalization.
  4. Allow this mixture to boil up to 242°F. Turn off the heat, and allow to cool to 210°F.
  5. Turn on the mixer on medium and slowly drizzle in the syrup. Lightly grease a 9×9 glass casserole dish. Once everything is in turn the mixer up as high as you can without it splashing hot syrup everywhere, eventually as the mixture cools it will thicken and you can run the mixer on high without fear of it getting out. Whip until medium peaks form, about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and using a greased spatula quickly smooth out the tops. Allow these to rest overnight. To serve cut them into squares and toss in a mix of equal parts powdered sugar and cornstarch.

There is no better combination in the world than salty and sweet. Think chocolate covered bacon, butterscotch and cashews, honey roasted peanuts, and cajun maple pecans. This is the kind of recipe you can whip up in 15 minutes, but if you’re not careful you can eat the entire batch in the same amount of time. I give to you:

Cajun Maple Pecans: I always have a batch of Donald Link’s Cajun spice blend on hand, but if you don’t you can just use a pinch of the seasonings and make sure to mix them well.

2 cups pecans

1 heaping tablespoon Cajun spice mix or pinches of smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, chili flakes, and black pepper

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tsp olive oil

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. On a parchment lined sheet tray spread out all of the pecans. Drizzle with the spices, maple, and olive oil. Mix to combine. Roast for 15 minutes, making certain to stir the nuts up every 5 minutes or so to keep them well coated in maple.
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