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Food and Wine Best Pastry Chef winner Stella Parks recreates and re-imagines childhood favorites into sophisticated modern desserts.

Bravetart: How To Make Lucky Charms Marshmallows At Home

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[Photographs: Rosco Weber]

I always felt incredibly sorry for Lucky the Leprechaun. First of all, as a magical creature, he probably struggled with confidence issues growing in up a world where no one believed in him. It's a bitter pill, knowing people don't believe in you. Imagine if they didn't even believe in your existence? But after finally working up the courage to introduce himself to a group of children, hoping to find acceptance with the most innocent and unprejudiced of us all, they cornered him on a bridge and forced him to jump.

Kinda heavy for an 80s cereal commercial...

Who raised these ungrateful brats? What gives them the right to take his lucky charms? They're available for purchase, kids. Didn't your parents teach you not to gang up on...leprechauns? Or, say, not to steal from others? These snot nosed jerks relentlessly pursued Lucky, blatantly endangering his life on many occasions and nearly killing him more than once. How he ever survived landing on his neck after that hang glider accident, I'll never know. Lucky charms indeed.

But it has to stop. Peaceful human-leprechaun co-existence begins today.

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Today, I give the world homemade Lucky Charms marshmallows.

That's right. You can now make little Styrofoam pellets of pure joy. Crispy, toothache inducing marshmallowy delight. I'm talking about marshmallows so crisp they get mistaken for astronaut ice cream. Any color you can imagine. Any shape. No leprechaun hunting required.

But this is about more than a bunch of tiny, crunchy marshmallows. I'm talking about tiny, crunchy marshmallows that taste like they've been aged for six months in a cardboard box with a bag full of cereal. Did I mention that they're crispy? That they'll give you that nails on a chalk board, half pleasure, half pain sensation as they turn to dust between your teeth? That they'll plump in milk, absorbing that dairy, bleeding dye, and softening into a slippery delight? That if you squeeze one too hard it will explode into a pile of dust?

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You can use them in other recipes to make, say, cereal marshmallow Rice Krispie treats. Or cereal marshmallow ice cream. Cereal marshmallow cupcakes. Cereal marshmallow steel cut oats (ironic breakfast!). Cereal marshmallow pot de creme. Okay, that last one's a stretch. But with your own bag of homemade cereal marshmallows, the possibilities do tend to seem endless.

You'll need two things: corn syrup and time.

No, not that corn syrup. This corn syrup. See, real stuff from the grocery store is, how can I say this, too good? See, corn syrup (not to be confused with HFCS) is an invert sugar. This means that it won't crystallize. Ever. Stays smooth flowing no matter what you do to it. Perfect for making fluffy, creamy marshmallows, which is not at all what we're after. Homemade corn syrup (ok, technically corn-flavored simple syrup), on the other hand, has a tendency to crystallize, especially if it's a few days old. And this is exactly what we want: a batch of grainy, crystallized marshmallow bricks.

But beyond that, homemade corn syrup is made with actual corn, giving it the pronounced cereal flavor so crucial to the authenticity of these little treats.

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To up the cereal ante, we'll also steep the marshmallow base with oats. Between the two, you'll swear those marshmallows spent half a year snuggling with box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.

It's over, Lucky. You can come home now. They'll never be after your lucky charms again.

Get the Recipe

Crispy Cereal Marshmallows »

About the Author: Stella Parks suffers from an unhealthy obsession with recreating the mass produced snacks of her childhood, but ironically is employed by a Frenchman to make the high brow desserts of his childhood. She blogs that dichotomy at bravetart.com and can be followed on Twitter at @thebravetart.

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