Snowballing Sno Balls

Before I left for my conference, Daniela and I decided to try a little experiment: homemade Sno Balls. I have long loved the marshmallow, coconut, and chocolate cake (with cream filling!) treat, but I’ve also recognized almost no one else does. Also, I understand that much processed sugar is supposed to be bad, or something like that. So I haven’t eaten Sno Balls as frequently as I’d like.

But homemade Sno Balls had to be better, by definition. And so even though we’d never made marshmallow before, we decided we’d be able to tackle the task without too much trouble. We used this recipe. It seemed straightforward.

It wasn’t.

For one thing, we had no molds for the sno balls, so we decided to use cupcakes, instead. But since we didn’t want to have ginormous sno balls, we went for mini cupcakes. Except the recipe had enough batter for way more than just a single pan of mini cupcakes. So we made bigger ones, as well. Into the oven they went!

The creme filling required whipping cream, so we went with a doughnut creme filling instead, turning to this recipe. (Except that makes enough for 100 doughnuts, and . . . that was a lot of sno balls, even for me. So we just did a quarter of it.)

While all of that was going, we turned to the marshmallow. Being completely new to the task, we stuck to the recipe 100%. It asked for 6.75 Cups of sugar, so in the sugar went. We had to use gelatin powder that bloomed first, and all sorts of other things I hadn’t done.

The gelatin powder turned into this squishy brick that was then supposed to dissolve in the sugar water mixture. That took an awfully long time. Also, it seemed like a ton of sugar water for how much marshmallow we’d actually want. But hey! Maybe it would boil down?

It did not boil down, despite having to boil the stuff for 15 minutes. Seriously, it felt like we’d become indentured servants at some point during that process. Stir stir stir stir stir stir, and then stir some more. We had a half sauce pan full of goopy sugar water that just looked cloudy and runny. Not like marshmallows at all. But you’re then supposed to whip it in a mixer until it turns fluffy and white. I was more than a little skeptical.

The good news? It most definitely turned fluffy and white! The bad news? I had to stop whipping early, because it was going to go over my Kitchenaid bowl. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. We had sooooooo much marshmallow. Even after we made the sno balls, we had enough marshmallow to fill a 9 x 13 pan to the top.

We put coconut oil on all the pans, and as we were scooping marshmallow into each cupcake tin, I was convinced I’d be cleaning pans for the next decade. But we’d committed this far, so why not all the way. For each sno ball, we put the coconut oil and then a bunch of shredded (unsweetened) coconut. Then we filled them halfway with marshmallow.

The mini cupcakes . . . didn’t work at all. They got stuck to the pan, and came out more like mini . . . piles of chocolate cake. So we smushed them together, but they didn’t want to fill up with creme. So we improvised again, putting cream on top of the cake piles and then just smushing it all into the cupcake molds, one by one.

And then . . . we were supposed to wait for everything to cool. That’s easy enough, but I was dreading the unmolding process. that marshmallow! So sticky!

Except when it came time to take them out, the marshmallow released from the side of the pans like magic. Yay for coconut oil! We cut up the spare marshmallow into smaller slices, dusting them each with powdered sugar, and thus realized that homemade Peeps are a wonderful side effect of homemade sno balls. (Seriously. Delicious, though next time I’d use granulated sugar for a more Peepy experience.

In the end, it took hours and hours of work. Thankfully, they were, indeed, delicious. And now that I’ve made them once, I know what I’d do in the future: Bake my favorite chocolate cake. Make a batch of frosting. Make a reasonable amount of marshmallow. Take small slices of cake, add some frosting, and put in the marshmallow-and-coconut-lined cupcake pans.

And that’s it. No need for special recipes. I think they’d be much less difficult to make, and end up tasting even better. In case you’re looking for a tasty treat in the near future . . .

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