These Boozed-Up Marshmallows by Spiked Tickle Both Your Inner Child and Present Adult SelfJune 14, 2017
In the midst of #adulting’s many complications, there are times you can’t help but look back to the innocent days of your youth—when happiness came in the form of simpler things, like licking the frosting off a cupcake, or maneuvering a crayon to impart life into the pages of a coloring book. Being a kid again in the literal sense might be impossible for most of us (unless you’re Tom Hanks, and you’re probably not), but you can at least reach for a compromise: a sweet that celebrates the finesse of adulthood, while paying homeage to a classic childhood treat.Imagine marshmallows, the nostalgic treat of your childhood in all its fluffy, pillow-like glory. Now imagine it tinged with the flavors of some of your favorite happy hour libations: Bourbon (paired with brown sugar to highlight its natural caramel notes), Rum (coupled with dark chocolate, because how can you ever go wrong with rum + chocolate?), Campari (along with grapefruit, with which the herb- and fruit-infused liquor is incomparably harmonious), Calamancello (a calamansi-based take on limoncello they make themselves, with a mouth-puckering tang shining through the alcoholic hum of vodka), even a Gin & Tonic (whose vegetal sharpness and bitter edge does justice to its namesake highball cocktail). Better yet, these mallows are made fresh from their very own kitchen, making them infinitely airier and more delicate—with just enough stickiness that it barely clings on your teeth before dissolving completely on the tongue—than the factory-made, styrofoam-like gunk you find at the supermarket. Hailing from the same duo that brought us Brownie Bar, the game-changing liquor-infused brownies we’ve been spazzing about since it made its debut at the annual Best Food Forward fair in 2015, is Spiked: their foray into the world of homemade candy, given their signature boozy twist. Joby Provido, one-half of the Brownie Bar team, admits neither of them were into marshmallows before diving in. “The liquor marshmallows were a result of Jomel [Salas, the other half of the pair] trying to figure out what to bring to a party,” he reveals.
As a cake decorator, Jomel has had plenty of experience working with marshmallows as he includes it as an ingredient for making fondant. “Other than that, the only times I’d try I’d try a commercial marshmallow is in a hot chocolate or when I make rice krispy treats . . . ,” he shares. But as a candy-making aficionado, he took the party as an opportunity to try his hand at making his own marshmallows—rose and dark chocolate truffle marshmallows, to be exact, which Joby shares “were [completely] gobbled up in minutes.” The positive feedback encouraged them to continue on the mallow-making path as a “natural progression” to their existing brownie line, as standalone sweets or with the brownies to form s’mores. “[But] to differentiate it from other artisanal marshmallows, it has to have alcohol,” shares Jomel. “It’s a fun way as well to take a childhood staple like a marshmallow and give it an exciting, adult edge.”
There’s just something so inherently fun with playing with alcohol. It makes one feel a little bit naughty and daring that many people find quite alluring. I also find adding liquor to food and desserts unlocks another dimension of flavor. Adding liquor also seems to elevate the product—suddenly the chocolate milk you added a splash of Frangelico feels luxurious and sophisticated.”
Creating the winning formula wasn’t easy. “Different liquor reacts differently to sugar and chocolate so there is no master recipe where you replace liquor with another one,” shares Jomel, and for each variant, the proportions of the ingredients had to be tweaked such that they not only held together as candy, but allowed their namesake alchohol’s flavors to shine through. “Not all liquor combinations work [either],” Joby continues, explaining that certain liquors, such as gin, lack the natural robustness to stand up to chocolate. “There [were] also many failed attempts that ended up that ended up with [us shouting], ‘yuuuucky!’,” shares Jomel, citing one time they experimented with a sangria-flavored variant that a taster instead compared to a “fruitcake marshmallow.” After several trials however (Joby confesses he actually loves the preciseness that comes with candy-making), they finally got the formulas and flavors down pat, and the rest, as they say, is history.While these treats are perfect just munched on as they are (try not to get carried away—while most of the alchohol is burnt off in the mallow-making process, a touch of fresh alchohol is sneaked into the finished mix before it firms up, they share, “for a little oomph”), they are especially splendid added on to other forms of indulgence: atop a steamy mug of hot chocolate, during which each mallow surrenders its initial jellified body to form a frothy foam; on a cocktail, with which it functions as the proverbial cherry on top. Or, of course, on their brownies, its edges lightly kissed with the fire of a blowtorch, to form S’mores—which is how they serve it at bazaars and pop-ups.
“There are plans of adding more flavors,” Joby reveals—as of writing the duo has released an additional Irish Cream variant to the Spiked lineup, as well as Callebaut-Cointreau and Irish Cream Guinness variants to their main brownie line. Now looking into doing events such as weddings or birthdays, and venturing out to partner up with bars and cafes, the two have come a long way from their small, solely online-based beginnings. But, they assure, their vision—of providing liquor-laced gems that turn the simple into sublime—remains unchanged.
Spiked Mallows by Brownie bar
Homemade marshmallows, laced with alchohol, to indulge both your inner child and present adult self.