Plush Puffs flavored marshmallows

Plush Puffs flavored marshmallows

Here’s the problem with taste-testing marshmallows: They don’t really taste like anything. Essentially sugar and gelatin in fluffy pillow form, they’re more a textural experience than a taste experience. Which seems like a situation ripe for exploiting, perhaps by an ambitious California company called To Your Heart’s Content, which is manufacturing flavored marshmallows. And not just any flavored marshmallows: Plush Puffs are gourmet, organic, gluten-free marshmallows, sweetened with honey rather than corn syrup, and kinda pricey, at $6 for a four-ounce box.

In other words, these aren’t marshmallows you should use to play competitive cram-marshmallows-into-your-mouth-’til-you-can’t-talk games like Chubby Bunny, and not just because a couple of people have died that way. These are pricey high-end marshmallows meant to be petted and cooed over, to be savored individually in a hot drink or as a fondue treat. (Or if you’re us, melted into slimy, multi-colored glue and fed to ad ops analyst Brett.) Each box comes with a few erratically capitalized “user’s guide” suggestions: “Toast over Coconut Gelato,” for instance, or “Top a vanilla Latte.” Or, on each box, with flagrant disregard for plural agreement, “Make into an amazing S’mores.”

Naturally, we couldn’t pass up the chance of “an amazing S’mores,” so we got our hands on some Plush Puffs to try. We sampled three of the eight varieties—Peppi-Mint, Chocolate Chipetta, and Luscious Lemon Meringue—with a few people just gobbling ’em down plain, and Kyle and Genevieve trying to replicate the campfire-marshmallow experience with a skewer and a lighter. (That experiment officially failed; the marshmallow refused to ignite or even caramelize, and mostly Genevieve just scorched herself when the lighter got too hot.) We also tried them in hot chocolate, though they showed a disturbing tendency to not melt in boiling-hot liquid, even when left alone for upward of five minutes; they’re like a cereal that stays crispy in milk, except that they were never crispy to begin with. We had assumed the flavors would leach into the hot chocolate and make it awesomer, but only the peppermint variety actually conferred any flavor into the drink. We just ended up with normal-tasting hot chocolate, featuring some soft, foamy floaters. (That’s way better than it sounds.)

So we mostly made s’mores. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with s’mores. In this case, the most notable difference between Plush Puffs and conventional marshmallows was that Plush Puffs don’t tend to swell up to huge dimensions and then collapse, so much as they rapidly melt into surprisingly stubborn paste. Melted Plush Puffs are even stickier and drippier than normal marshmallows, which amused Josh no end, particularly given his dirty, dirty mind:


Taste:
Mostly about as expected. Chocolate Chipetta, which are chocolate marshmallows covered in tiny chocolate chips, taste strongly and a little bitterly of cocoa powder; the chips taste like nothing. Luscious Lemon Meringue Puffs taste pleasantly creamy and lemony. Peppi-Mint was the biggest surprise; that variety has a strong peppermint bite, with a flavor much like the soft, meltaway pastel mints in the courtesy bowls at cheapish hotels and restaurants, but cranked up to a higher intensity.

The big difference here was the texture. Most conventional marshmallows are covered with a fine powder to stave off the stickiness; commercially, it’s made with cornstarch or confectioner’s sugar or both. Plush Puffs are uncoated, so they’re immediately stickier in the hands, and they tend to soften and anneal together in the bag. They’re also denser and heavier, yet softer, chewier, and (in the microwave, not in fire) meltier. The tasters were pretty solidly divided on whether this made them a superior marshmallow experience, or an annoyance.

Office reactions:

Peppi-Mint

  • “Regular marshmallows are more stretchy-gooey. This is more sticky-gooey. I need more scientific words to describe viscosity here.”
  • “They’re definitely wetter and goopier than normal marshmallows—they don’t have that dry, dusty coating.”
  • “These taste exactly like those rock-hard Starlight peppermints.”
  • “These are pretty strong peppermint.”
  • “This is an overpowering flavor. Very strong peppermint sting.”
  • “I love mint, but mint paired with the marshmallow consistency gives me an uncomfortable feeling. I felt like I should be rubbing this marshmallow on sore muscles rather than eating it.”
  • “Way too strong on its own, as if somebody slipped while pouring in the peppermint extract.”
  • “These taste like the stuff the orthodontist puts in your mouth to detect plaque.”
  • “I wouldn’t eat these alone, but the taste in hot chocolate would be fantastic.”
  • “Nuking the peppermint actually makes the flavor milder, which is a plus. These work really well on s’mores, because they don’t come on so profoundly strong.”
  • “I do like that the ingredients are all natural.” “I don’t know, I’m not used to things being real.”

Chocolate Chipetta

  • [Via e-mail later.] “I only had a chocolate ’mallow, and I would say it was far, far richer than your average marshmallow. It seemed a bit denser and chewier. Think less like an actual supplement to candy (as is what a marshmallow is usually) but an actual candy.”
  • “Call me plain Jane, but I much prefer a simple, cheapie marshmallow paired with a simple, cheapie chocolate bar.”
  • “This one’s boring. I’d much rather have a chocolate-coated vanilla marshmallow.”
  • “The chocolate’s good.”
  • “They taste like cocoa, not like real chocolate.”
  • “The chips aren’t very good.”
  • “This just looks like a dirty mess.”
  • “I would think this’d be a big seller.”
  • Chocolate-chocolate s’mores are too much. It pushes it over the too-sweet line for me. It’s like Cocoa Puffs, that kind of back-of-the-throat too-much-sweetness.”
  • “The flavors aren’t good until you nuke them for a bit. Both the Chocolate and Peppi-Mint make pretty good s’mores.”
  • “They have the texture of cheese curds, and they’re sweating.  No squeak, though.”

Luscious Lemon Meringue

  • [Genevieve.] “Our ghetto attempt at roasting the lemon meringue one failed miserably. The interior wasn’t hot, much less melted, and the heat on the exterior only reinforced the gross lemon flavor. Gum will be required.”
  • “The lemon is really strong too.”
  • “Melting it makes the lemon flavor more intense.”
  • “The lemon guy is the winner in my opinion. Not too strong of a lemon taste, but it fits the marshmallow texture well.” 
  • “Mellow. It tastes like meringue that just hardened. But not in a bad way.”
  • “These are definitely pretty good. It tastes like pie.”
  • “I don’t think meringue is a good marshmallow flavor.”
  • “I like this one best. It’s tasty. It might be too zesty, though. It has that lemon-zest aftertaste.”
  • “I like these. They’re actually very meringue.”
  • “It’s exactly like a lemon meringue pie. They did a good job with these.”
  • “I just burped, and it tasted like Lemonhead.”
  • “These taste really weird, and really lemony. The texture’s very strange. They aren’t soft enough, they’re just squishy and oozy. They don’t feel like marshmallows.”
  • “These are really good plain.”
  • “I don’t think they’re that strong. I think the flavor’s kind of gentle and not too artificial, but really recognizable. Like a really good lemon cookie.”

Where to get them: Order online at PlushPuffs.com, or check the “where to buy” section of the site for stores that carry them near you.

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