Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Peep this...

Q: Does the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man have a girlfriend?
A: He did...until she got toasted.

Apparently marshmallows are no longer just stuffing for s'mores or a sweet topping on that cup of hot chocolate.
The marshmallow industry has jumped on the gourmet bandwagon, rolling out packages of the gooey treats featuring everything from caramel, strawberry and chocolate swirls to lemon chiffon and lavendar flavors.
The outcome? After years of inconsistent sales, the $132 million industry is now up nearly 7.5 percent through July compared with the same period last year. Take Kraft, for example. The company recently unveiled Jet-Puffed Marshmallows in strawberry and toasted coconut flavors. The strawberry version is already outselling the original by a 2-to-1 margin. I'm really eager to try out some of these new-fangled flavors, however the mention of a chili-flavored marshmallow is churning up the upchuck factor. Please, let's not get too extreme, okay?
On the other hand, another new trend in the industry - one that I can fully support - is sugar-free style marshmallows, baby!
Earlier this year, Just Born - the maker of Peeps - unveiled a Splenda-based addition to their infamous marshmallow treat line. I don't know yet whether sugar-free Peeps can joust as well as their resilient sugary counterparts, but I'm willing to give it a shot. If you're unfamiliar with Peeps wars, check out this video for a few chuckles.

Also, for any hot cocoa lovers out there - and yes, winter is almost upon us again - here is a marshmallow-free white chocolate variation, courtesy of Yummy!

Winter White Hot Chocolate
2 cups fat free half-and-half
2 cups fat-free milk
3/4 cup Nestle® Toll House® Premier white morsels
1/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Garnishes: fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed; crushed peppermint candies

Bring half-and-half and milk to a boil over medium-high heat; add white chocolate morsels and SPLENDA® Granulated, stirring until morsels melt. Stir in vanilla. Garnish, if desired.

Per serving: 320 calories, 11g fat, 39g carbs.

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