The blooming marshmallow. One of the latest creations to blossom from the mind of Dominique Ansel, father of the cronut and general pastry high-wizard. This Insta-worthy treat graced our home pages last year and naturally there were tons of copy cats.

People made tutorials and videos showing their own attempts to make blooming treats at home. All the videos made it look so easy. I saw them and thought “I could do this. I could SO do this. In fact, I’ll come up with my own way to do it AND write a recipe for Spoon! I mean… how hard could it be?”

The answer is it's hard. Really, super, fu**ing, stupid hard.

My first strategy was to use store-bought marshmallows. That way the whole process could be done in the microwave from start to finish. I had mental images of college kids across the world churning out blooming marshmallows from their dorm room microwaves.

What an idiot I was. Melted marshmallow is one of the most ridiculous substances known to mankind. It has a mind of its own and it will stick to anything. Literally ANYTHING. I had gloopy, semi-set marshmallow in my hair, on my socks, all over my dining room table and floor—it was a sugar dusted nightmare.

So store-bought marshmallows hadn’t worked, but why would they? They were independent marshmallows that did not recognize me as their master. Surely if I made them myself they would be more obedient and would do as I say.

Mallini Kannan

Armed with my electric mixer, 2kg of sugar, and a can-do attitude, I charged head first into a sugar-fueled circle of hell. Over a week and a half, I made at least eight batches of marshmallow, failing almost every time.

It took four batches before I realized the vegetarian gelatin I was using was the culprit and was preventing my marshmallows from fluffing up. Scrapping the lot, I went out and got regular beef gelatin and tried again. The smell was nauseating, but I refused to give up.

sweet, chocolate, cream, dairy product, candy, milk
Mallini Kannan

As a pick-me-up I went back to basics, making a regular tray of vanilla-flavored marshmallows just to see if I could do it. Following the recipe step-by-step produced the most delicious memory-foam pillows to ever grace my tongue. They bounced and fluffed and did all the things good marshmallows were meant to do. Faith restored, I soldiered on. I would not be defeated. 

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn for a reason. Battling PMS, job application deadlines, and a mound of academic reading that refused to do itself, I was almost ready to throw in the towel on my marshmallow challenge.

It took three more batches, but I finally did it. I emerged from a cloud of icing sugar with my first useable sheet of marshmallow. Letting it set in my living room, I gave myself the night off. The battle was won, but the war wasn’t over.

cookie, sweet, cake
Mallini Kannan

I finally got to the stage where all my flower shapes were cut out and decorated. Victory was so close I could taste it. Bundling the petals up, I dipped the flowers into white chocolate and placed them into their flimsy baking paper collars to set. I had to spend another night waiting, but I was optimistic. The finish line was just a breath away.

cream, chocolate
Mallini Kannan

That morning I woke up and padded into the kitchen to see my handiwork. Slowly, I picked one up and peeled the baking paper away. The bud stayed closed, holding its shape, ready to be plopped into a mug of hot chocolate. I had done it.

Racing around my kitchen I fixed myself a hot chocolate and carried it into the living room. Whipping my phone out to film the magic moment I dropped the marshmallow into my mug with bated breath.

That's all I got. The damn thing didn’t even have the decency to bloom. It just swelled a little and then promptly dissolved into toxic, pink gunk. I was crushed. With tears in my eyes, I emailed Spoon to tell them I'd failed. My body and soul were weak. I never wanted to look at another marshmallow again.

And because they are wonderful people, they suggested I write this article instead and tell you all about what an #epicfail the whole experience was. So here I am.

I think I’ll take a break from blooming marshmallow making for the moment, but watch this space. I am going to rest. I am going to re-group. And when the time is right, I’ll be back for round two.

Until then, I’ll just let Dominique Ansel do his thing. Pass the Haribo, please.