Friday, May 22, 2015

From Beans to Marshmallow Fluffy Stuff

There's an amazing recipe floating around on the Internet that has two ingredients, one always a crowd favorite (sugar) and the other not so much (bean juice).

I found the version I made on Chocolate-Covered Katie, where you will see a lot of attractive fluffy photos and more explanation than I'll add here.

But I do want to give you my experience so you'll know what to really expect. It's never like the pictures, is it?

Here in Montana we eat a lot of beans. The best are made from scratch, but sometimes the canned variety comes in handy. But what to do with the liquid? You can add it to soup or throw it out, but why not make fluffy marshmallow stuff?

For this recipe, first drain a can of garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. (I used a brand that included sugar and salt, a case of not checking ingredients on the label, which is a topic for another blog. Who the heck puts sugar in beans?) You should have 1/2 cup of liquid. Use the beans elsewhere. I suggest straining the liquid to eliminate any stray bits of bean.

I also recommend putting the liquid in the bowl of a stand mixer. If you're using a hand mixer, draw up a chair and maybe put on a long meditation tape or some pleasant music. If you have a TV in the kitchen, you'll be able to watch at least a half-hour sitcom.

Add 1/3 cup sugar or honey or agave. I'd add an optional dash of vanilla, though I didn't in this test.

On my KitchenAid mixer I started at a medium speed (4). I recommend starting with a high speed (6 or 8) because that will no doubt speed up the process.

At about 10 minutes, the mixture still looked like swirling egg whites, so I upped to 6, then 10 minutes later (still swirling egg whites) up to 8. At this point I was like, "Oh, man, this is ridiculous."

At the 25-minute mark I wondered, "Hey, is that fluff?" I could see streaks made by the wires of the beater attachment, which indicated it was thickening.

Thirty minutes from the start, success!

I was so intent on the fluffing process I didn't think to do taste tests along the way, but I sure dipped into the finished product.

Here's where your experience may vary widely from mine. I like it. In my opinion it has kind of an "off" taste. Not bad, but it makes you realize this is not the real thing. Real fluff is just sweet. If you're used to "healthy" foods that taste way different than the "regular" stuff, you won't be a bit fazed by this not being a replica of the commercial varieties.

Maybe I could have whipped it longer, but I was satisified with the texture, which was soft like thick whipped cream. It is definitely holding up after a few hours in the refrigerator.

I recommend serving it without any comment. After everyone has enjoyed it on a decadent dessert or in peanut-butter-n-fluff sandwiches, then you might reveal the secret. I doubt anyone will care. Paired with another food, you really can't tell this has, um, a secret ingredient.

I feel I could make this again.

I can guarantee I will make it for company. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I share the recipe.