PAN-GRILLED MARSHMALLOW TOASTS WITH SEA SALT
SOME SAY WONDERFUL THINGS ARE BORN OUT OF DESPERATIONS.
BEFORE TODAY, I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT SPANDEX.
There is something I want you to know about Beijing, or perhaps, about this entire country in general.
If someday you too find yourself living as an angry tick inside the thick filthy furs on this enormous, hyper-capitalism beast, at least you’ll know this to your comfort. Which is, fret not, because it is not only possible but entirely effortless to maintain all daily functions of life (whether a happy or miserable one…), up from remodelling your kitchen down to keeping yourself groomed, all of it … without stepping one foot outside the front door.
This is a city that takes consumer economy, bloody seriously. You can get almost anything, luxurious or middle-class or just plainly dirt-cheap, anything, with a simple click of a button and have them delivered to your front door with fees next to nothing. Order groceries online at 3 AM and have someone, messaging you minutes after, to ask you if you want your pork ribs chopped. Type “yes, please” or “no, thank you”, and the next day at 4 PM, you’ll have everything you need for an all-out BBQ party including a brand new grill. It is a, if not the only perk, of living here.
Then, there’s something else I also want you to know about Beijing, or perhaps this entire country in general, during the Chinese New Years.
Which is, that last, precious ounce of will to live that you’re holding onto so tightly through petty convenience and e-commerce therapy? That will all… and I mean aaall, come to an abrupt and screeching halt, every year, at the first light of dawn on Chinese New Year’s Eves.
Then. Lasts. For. Weeeeeks.
OK, perhaps you don’t know what this means. It means online grocery shop, stops. Online anything, stops. Deliveries, half of them at least, stops. My lifeline of this entire city, stops. Right, of course I can remove myself from my bunker and physically go to an actual market to evade my impending starvation, but did I also mention… that it is cold here during CNY? The kind of face-biting, ears-stinging coldness that makes the 15 minutes bike-ride between my apartment and the nearest market, feel like miles. So thanks but no thanks. Times like this, when desperation strikes, I could only resort to the emergency convenience store downstair.
Yes, well, that convenience store… that fucking convenience store that, when I needed it the most such as say… today, presented me with the mere company of a moldy broccoli and its desperate plea for a merciful death. “Solly, Chinese New Years.”, the dude shrugged. Was he serious? I wouldn’t know what to do with a fresh broccoli let alone a moldy one. Houston, it’s official. You will find me stiff-cold by a torn bag of dog food in the bathroom…
Some say wonderful things are born out of desperations. Before today I’ve always thought they were talking about spandex. But now, now I know they were talking about things like this. The transformation of an exhausted pantry to unexpected, glorious beauty. What can you make from half of a baguette, a bag of marshmallows, some butter and flakey sea salt? Apparently, much more than the sum of its parts.
As I stared into this little stack of pan-grilled marshmallow toasts with crispy edges and caramelized crusts, chewy and gooey layers of sweetness with pops of brininess, I marvelled at human’s sheer will to, not just survive, but survive well. It took more than basic animal instincts for a blood-sugar thirsty female to patiently stood by the stove, gently pressing down the butter-browned baguette in a slow and warm embrace with the melting marshmallow, then the last 30-seconds push for it to caramelize into a gorgeous crust. But it was all worth it. Buttery, crispy, sticky and chewy with sparking saltiness. A dignified end on the last day of this CNY’s starva-thon.
Tomorrow, the pulse of this city will slowly start to tick again as holiday ends. But I have a feeling that this marshmallow toasts with sea salt is going to last much long than that.
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- Thinly sliced baguette
- 1 large marshmallows for each toasts
- 1~2 tsp unsalted butter for each toasts, melted
- Flakey sea salt for sprinkling
- I sliced the baguette diagonally because that's what I was use to, but in hindsight, round medallion-shaped slices may work more naturally with the shape of marshmallows.
- So, slice however many toasts you're making in round shapes, then brush one side with melted butter. Toast them buttered-side-down on a non-stick skillet (this is when you really really want to use a TEFLON skillet instead of cast-iron) over medium heat until golden browned. Set aside.
- Brush the skillet with more butter to coat it, then place 1 large marshmallow with 1 toast over the top (with the browned side facing up). You can do 2~3 at the same time but do not over-crowd the skillet. At first the toast would have trouble sticking to the marshmallow, but just give it 10 seconds, then gently press it down as the marshmallow melts and expand. Once the marshmallow expand to the edge of the toast, stop pressing down or the marshmallow would disappear. If there's marshmallow running too far away from the toast, just gently push it back with a knife.
- Once the bottom of the marshmallow is nicely caramelized, remove the toasts from the skillet by picking the baguette-part up with a tongs, then invert it onto a plate. Sprinkle generously with flakey sea salt and eat IMMEDIATELY.
There is a lot of twists you can apply to the toasts. For example, adding Nutella or chocolate sauce in the middle, or adding ground cinnamon or orange zest into the sprinkles.
Ursula @ LilVienna.comFebruary 24, 2015 at 2:13 AM
With only a handful of ingredients, we sometimes manage to create the best things ever ;-)
Kelsey MFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:08 AM
Dear lord- this is truly glorious wisdom and ingenuity (all in one) if I ever saw it.
cynthiaFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:21 AM
Just. So. GENIUS. (Also, a 15-min bike ride to the nearest supermarket is SO FAR! I will never again complain about lugging groceries back from my neighborhood Key Foods.)
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 24, 2015 at 1:33 PM
Cynthia: OK.. Jason may argue that it takes him 1/2 the time to bike there but what can I say, I have lazy thighs
Millie | Add A LittleFebruary 24, 2015 at 4:26 AM
This looks so creamy and melty and sweet yet salty and moreish and YES
Thea @ Baking MagiqueFebruary 24, 2015 at 4:33 AM
So gorgeous! Marshmallow and baguette sounds like the weirdest and best combo ever!!
Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewifeFebruary 24, 2015 at 4:38 AM
Love the idea of chocolate or smeared Nutella in there…almost like a mid-winter s’more.
tunieFebruary 24, 2015 at 4:46 AM
Love these moments of pure necessity driven creative genius. And so so so enjoy your writing: “…living as an angry tick inside the thick filthy furs on this enormous, hyper-capitalism beast…” in reference to that city, is so poignant!
JaeFebruary 24, 2015 at 5:06 AM
Where in Beijing do you get such good looking baguettes?!
Abbe @ This is How I CookFebruary 24, 2015 at 8:02 AM
I am not a big lover of marshmallow except when it is Chinese New Year and all that is left in a store is a moldy piece of broccoli. Unless of course, that said store has a giant chocolate bar that I could sandwich with the marshmallow and you know…However I applaud your creativity and your photos, and would happily devour one of these beasts whether it was Chinese New Year or not. I like marshmallow more than I like moldy broccoli!
Michelle @ Hummingbird HighFebruary 24, 2015 at 8:10 AM
HOLY. SWEET. JESUS.
You are a mad cray genius in the kitchen, Mandy. This recipe is a work of art!
J.S. @ Sun Diego EatsFebruary 24, 2015 at 2:31 PM
Is it just the most trite that I want to add Nutella to this?
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:22 PM
J.S., of course not! I’ve mentioned that in the note-area, too. you can add chocolate, too, or orang zest in addition with sea salt :)
BeccaFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:33 PM
this is the next staple in my household after shelter and healthcare
BeccaFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:35 PM
oh gosh, sorry, that made me sound homeless…uhh, this is up there with shelter and healthcare in my household!
SarahFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:47 PM
These look really delicious! I’m glad the weather outside and lack of delivery service during the holidays has turned on your creative juices to make these toasts.
On another note, I understand you’re upset that it’s cold outside and you have to now buy groceries by walking to the store. I too used to live somewhere windy and snowy in the winter. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but thinking, you are so fortunate! You live in a warm house with three cute dogs, eat yummy food, and most of the time your groceries are even delivered to you. There are so many people in the world who would love to be able to have even one of these things. So if you get down on yourself thinking it’s too cold to go outside, just think – how many people in the world would want to trade places? I meet a lot of people who face hardship as part of their daily lives. They would love to have what you have. So cheer up! It’s cold, but walking outside in the cold for groceries is not the end of the world.
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 24, 2015 at 3:54 PM
Sarah, hahaaa thanks :) I will recite that to myself every time I feel like throwing a hammer into a person, no I mean, a wall… Contentment is definitely an art I have yet to master.
ohmydish.comFebruary 24, 2015 at 8:22 PM
Perfect combination! Impressive photo’s too
The Blonde ChefFebruary 24, 2015 at 8:55 PM
I am with you, going out in frigid temps can sometimes seem unfathomable. I wish I had access to a reasonably priced delivery service, myself! But DANG do these marshmallow toasts sound so good right about now! I think I would do just about anything to have these in front of me! Awesome recipe!
Stephanie @ Year-Round GivingFebruary 24, 2015 at 11:44 PM
Well this may just be the best damn thing on the planet! Gorgeous pics of gorgeous food.
Anu-My Ginger Garlic KitchenFebruary 25, 2015 at 12:07 AM
These are one the most delicious and gorgeous TOASTS I have ever seen. Major Drooling! Loved these STUNNING shots too! :)
ShannnFebruary 25, 2015 at 12:46 AM
So simple and so delicious sounding. Nice creativity!! I have been in China (Shanghai) during Chinese New Year, so I know what you’re talking about. This too shall pass!!
Ann @ Food & FontFebruary 25, 2015 at 3:33 AM
OH MY GOODNESS! That looks so good! This recipe is all sorts of genius. I’ve always liked toasted marshmallows but thought that loading it onto a graham cracker was sugar overkill. This looks perfect.
stephanieFebruary 25, 2015 at 9:14 AM
You are UTTERLY fucking brilliant! I have followed you in fascination and admiration for so long and you continue to amaze me ever so much more and more. Here in Ontario, Canada it has been 30 below for so damn long. Gawd. Bicycle to the store? I’d die. Frequent power outs. Thank gawd for the fireplace and gas stove. Will now keep marshmallows handy! Ha! LOVE you for this.
asliFebruary 26, 2015 at 3:16 AM
This is diabolical!!!
GraceFebruary 27, 2015 at 9:52 PM
GOOD GOD this is genius. You get me every time… what a great use of marshmallows. yes please
ellie | fit for the soulFebruary 28, 2015 at 10:35 AM
Bahahahaah that quote about spandex is too gooooood! And that’s really interesting about Beijing being so consumer friendly. I never would have guessed it to be so extreme, actually. In my mind nothing would have ever come close to us Americans, hmmm…And although I’m not a fan of marshmallow this looks and sounds so divine. Probably because it’s bread and sea salt!
KateMarch 3, 2015 at 9:11 PM
Oh what would the world be like without marshmallows? You think you are better than that, but then you eat a melty, toasty one and know you are not.
AnnMarch 9, 2015 at 9:30 AM
I tried this out and…oh my waistline!! You are pure evil for posting this! It is ridiculous, who knew that such a simple combination could be addicting?
LaceyMarch 10, 2015 at 4:41 AM
I’ve got some shredded apple/bacon/cheese pretzel bread and some super extra giant marshmallows…and some smoked sea salt…and a whole lot of Monday angster I need to get out. Thanks for the recipe!
AngelaFebruary 24, 2016 at 6:34 AM
I have found heaven! This tasted even better than I imagined from your beautiful photos. SO adding Nutella next time (after all, what else am I going to do with the rest of that huge bag of giant marshmallows?)
PennyJuly 15, 2016 at 5:33 PM
I never liked marshmallows. But then I tried out this recipe and loved it. Now I have one more treat that I am addicted to and have to fight….
Jennie LittMarch 9, 2023 at 12:42 AM
This is so yummy, but definitely a pain in the butt to make–it takes 8 times as long to make as it does to eat, and makes a mess. But very delicious!
phrazleMarch 24, 2023 at 11:36 AM
This is to say, do not worry; it is not only feasible but totally uncomplicated to carry out all of life’s mundane tasks (whether joyful or melancholy ones…), from updating the kitchen to maintaining personal hygiene, without leaving the comfort of your home.