Turn back the hands of time to 2000 BC, and you’ll find only the Gods and ancient Egyptian royalty enjoyed a gooey treat made from the mallow plant (Athaea officinalis) that grew wild in the marshlands. Native to Asia and Europe, the Egyptians squeezed sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey to make the special treat. It’s hard to know what it may have looked like.

The French put their own spin on this sweet treat back in the mid-1800’s. Candy makers of the era whipped sap from the mallow root with egg whites and sugar into a fluffy candy mold by hand. Because demand was great, and the process was time-consuming, they sought a new process that would be quicker. They developed the starch mogul system, which allowed them to create marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At the same time, they replaced the mallow root with gelatin, creating a stable form of marshmallow much like what we enjoy today.

French doctors also used the mallow sap combined with sugar and egg whites to form a hard meringue that they sold as a medicinal candy that soothed sore throats, healed wounds and suppressed coughs.

Fast forward to America in the early 1900’s, and you’ll find what is now known as the marshmallow – a staple in every kitchen across our country, thanks to Alex Doumak who revolutionized the way they are made in 1948. Using his patented extrusion process, the marshmallow ingredients are run through tubes after which the product is lightly powdered, cut into equal pieces and packaged.

Beginning in the 1950’s, American cooks were using marshmallows in a variety of food recipes, as well as floating them atop steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Today, Americans are the world’s biggest consumers of marshmallows, buying more than 90 million pounds each year.

Considering how light and fluffy marshmallows are by nature, it’s hard to visualize how many football fields it would take to house one year’s worth of this heavenly treat! Marshmallows are consumed year round, finding their way in salads and desserts, and roasted over campfires across the nation.

ARE YOU A FAN OF S’MORES? Thank the Girl Scouts, who published the first recipe for roasted marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers in their 1927 Girl Scout Handbook.

This  Month’s Heavenly Chocolate Selection: “CLOUD and SEA”  Center pieces are  MILK & DARK CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW with Caramel & Peanuts.  Outer pieces are  MILK CHOCOLATE Brazil & Raisin CLUSTERS & DARK CHOCOLATE Sea Salt CARAMELS

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