Guimauves is the French word for marshmallow but the French version has nothing to do with the version most of us may be used to. This version is superior in my eyes in every way. While marshmallows are dense and overly sweet, guimauves are light and airy and so very delicious. While you can really only eat a couple of marshmallows before you start feeling a bit sick (unless they are roasted over a fire, then you can eat a lot more), guimauves are very easy to eat, perhaps too easy. They don’t need to be melted into a hot chocolate. To be honest, I’ve never tried. I usually eat them up before I’ve had a chance to make the hot chocolate.
So, what is a guimauve? I will go into the story behind marshmallows in another post, but the big difference between a marshmallow and a guimauve is that the French version uses egg whites. In France, you will see them sold in large squares but also in the shape of bears dipped in chocolate. I make my own by using this same marshmallow mix in little bear moulds and then dipping in chocolate. Many chocolate shops in Paris (e.g. Cyril Lignac) sell their own versions. Another difference is that guimauves are made fresh and should be eaten fresh. These won’t survive more then a few days.
I tried to make guimauves several over the years, especially after my latest trip to Pain de Sucre in Paris: the home of the ultimate guimauve. Most of my efforts failed miserably. There was nothing light and airy about the unappetising, sticky mess I created instead. I tweaked here and there and now finally have a recipe that works for me every time and is very easy. I add chocolate into mine (of course) but you can add almost anything. Enjoy!
Chocolate Guimauves (French Marshmallows)
- 220 g sugar
- 50 g water
- 40 g glucose
- 4 egg whites (120g)
- 6 gelatine sheets (12g)
- 60 g good quality milk chocolate (33%)
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Put the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water and leave them until needed.
- Prepare your pan. I use a 9inch by 9inch square cake pan and cover the bottom and sides with a sheet of baking paper. You can change the pan depending on the shape you want. Set aside.
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium/high heat. Once it starts boiling, add the glucose. Keep boiling this mixture for 5 more minutes.
- During this time, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks start to form. Put the mixer on medium and slowly pour the hot sugar into the egg whites. Next, remove the gelatine sheets from the cold water, squeeze out as much water as you can and add those into the egg white/sugar mix.
- Continue to beat the mixture until the bowl is at room temperature (5 minutes or so). Turn off the mixer.
- While you are waiting, melt the chocolate. I usually do this by placing chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave for bursts of 20 seconds, stirring in between each burst, until melted. Let it cool slightly. Pour the chocolate into the guimauve mixture and mix it in carefully with a spatula. Pour this mixure into your tray and set it aside in a cool spot overnight.
The next day…
- Flip the guimauves over onto a cutting board. Peel the baking paper from the top of the guimaves and use a sharp knife to cut out the shape you like.
- Put the cocoa powder in a bowl and transfer the guimauves in, a few at a time. Transfer them to a fine-mesh sieve and shake to remove the excess cocoa powder. Eat while fresh (I find they are best right away and good for up to 2 days).