"We are allowed to be bad in the kitchen."
That's what Ricardo Larrivée said to the audience at the Taste Canada food writing awards this week. That's an odd statement from someone who has built a career out of being awesome in the kitchen. It was even stranger considering that he said it to a room full of cookbook writers, editors and culinary professionals.
What he meant, he explained, was that we shouldn't put pressure on ourselves to be great in the kitchen. He gave the example of a single dad, who refused to bake birthday cakes for his son for fear of failing. That's a bit sad, isn't it?
I'm sharing this story because it resonated with me. As a food blogger, sometimes I feel like I can't share a recipe or show you a certain photo unless it's good. I worry that someone will look at my work and think, "what the heck is that?" or "that girl doesn't know what she's doing."
This post fall into that worrisome category. The photos of these blueberry marshmallow bats aren't the best. The recipe didn't turn out the way I had expected. It was destined to be buried in my unpublished files. But, if Ricardo says I can be bad in the kitchen, then I guess it's ok... it was his recipe that I was messing around with anyway 😉
My mom makes wonderful marshmallows. Delicate little fluffy squares that are ever-so-slightly flavoured. These marshmallow bats are not them.
I love to have cute and crafty Halloween decorations at my house, and I thought marshmallow bats would be a fitting treat to feature on my blog. Not that I've ever made anything like this before... but I figured, how hard could it be?
First of all, these marshmallows are a bit too soft and too sticky. I really wanted to put these on sticks, because I thought that would look cute, but it really doesn't work. The marshmallows were so soft that the sticks started poking through the bats heads, resulting in a whole different kind of Halloween look. Sticking them in the freezer helps a bit, but you have to eat them really quickly or they will slide off the stick.
The second issue with these marshmallows it that they kind of taste like blueberry - but not really. I used blueberries and blueberry juice to colour the marshmallows because, in my mind, all Halloween bats are purple. The only way I could think of to get purple marshmallows without using food colouring was to use blueberries. The resulting colour wasn't bad, but the flavour of the blueberries was lost in all that sugar.
The third problem with these treats is that they don't really look like bats... The cookie cutter I used was perfect, but I ruined them with my drawing skills. I didn't realize until I was shooting these that if you draw the lines of the wings too straight, they look more like crabs than bats.
I made purple crabs. (Once you see it, you can't un-see it, right?)
The marshmallows also dried out under my photography lamps, and ended up looking old and wrinkly.
Wrinkly purple-crab marshmallow bats.
On the bright side, the marshmallows are perfectly edible. Sure, they weren't what I thought they would be, but they're still good. They even taste good in hot chocolate, miraculously.
Of course, they do melt pretty quickly... just something to keep in mind.
I used some nifty Wilton products to decorate my bats, but you can just use royal icing if you prefer. Personally, I enjoyed using the Wilton Candy Eyeballs, Wilton Dab-N-Hold Edible Adhesive and the Wilton Halloween Food Writer. Is there anything that company can't make?
Here's the recipe for these marshmallow bats. I'll be sharing the recipe for my mom's delicious coconut marshmallows sometimes before Christmas, so keep an eye out for that.
Purple Marshmallow Bats
- ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup 60 ml icing sugar
- ⅓ cup 60 ml cornstarch
- 2 envelopes gelatin
- ½ cup 125 ml blueberry purée
- 2 tablespoon blueberry juice
- 1 cup 250 ml white granulated sugar
- ½ cup 125 ml light corn syrup
To Decorate Your Bats:
- Wilton Dab-N-Hold Edible Adhesive
- Wilton Candy Eyeballs
- Wilton Halloween Food Writer in Black
- Line a 9 x 13 inch rectangular dish with plastic wrap and lightly brush on the vegetable oil.
- In a large baking tray, sift together the sugar and cornstarch, and cover with plastic wrap. You will need this later.
- In a medium saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin on the blueberry purée, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will allow the gelatin to soften.
- Add the sugar to the saucepan, and bring to a boil*. Stir the mixture to dissolve the gelatin.
- Remove the pan from the heat and cool for about 3 minutes.
- Pour corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer (i.e. KitchenAid) and turn on to a slow speed. Quickly add the slightly cooled syrup in a thin stream, as the beaters are moving. Once all of the gelatin mixture is added, whip for 15 minutes on a high speed. The mixture will increase in volume, and become light and fluffy.
- Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared dish, and leave for about 6 hours to set. You can also chill the mixture in the fridge for about 3 hours.
- Once the marshmallow has set, turn out onto the prepared tray (the one with the cornstarch and icing sugar).
- Use a bat shaped cookie cutter to carefully cut out the marshmallows. You will need to rinse the cutter under hot water frequently in order to get clean cuts. Be sure to dry the cutter thoroughly after washing.
- Dust each marshmallow bats liberally with the cornstarch and icing sugar mixture from the tray, this will prevent the bats from sticking to each other.
- When you're ready to decorate your bats, make sure they are laying on a flat surface. You can't move them until the glue dries, so make sure you're happy with your set up before you start.
- Dab a tiny amount of the edible adhesive behind each eye, and press down gently on to the marshmallow. If you press too hard, you'll make a hole in your bat. If you use too much glue, it will leave a smear on your bat. Also, be careful because the adhesive (and water) will cause the black on the eyeballs to smear. Work slowly and carefully for best results.
- Use the black food writer to draw a mouth, teeth and/or wings on your bats. You could also use royal icing to add dimensional details to your marshmallows.
- Allow the bats to dry throughly before eating or storing.
- Store in an air-tight container up to one week.
Please read the blog post for detailed tips and explanations.
Nutrition Disclaimer: please note that the nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate, and has been calculated using a plugin.