Veronica Marshmallows

“You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars.”

When we first meet the eponymous heroine of one of television’s recent cult classics, she’s on a late-night stakeout, gathering evidence of a cheating husband at a seedy motel instead of finishing her homework like a good high school kid should. Our girl Ronnie is tart and a little gritty, not afraid of going toe to toe with members of a biker gang, tracking down the identity of her alleged rapist, or singlehandedly hunting down the real murderer of her best friend (and her ex-boyfriend’s sister), Lilly Kane.

Yeah, it’s pretty dark stuff for a supposedly teenage-oriented show, a juicily complex web of stories that pulls you in past the initial “teen girl detective” tagline that led so many potential viewers to dismiss it out of hand. (Yes, just like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Don’t get me started on how this is the reason why we have five different versions of NCISCSI or whatever crime serials are all over network TV.)

Suffice to say that the girl’s been through a lot already. In the past year, her best friend got fatally beaned in the head, her dad lost his job as county sheriff for condemning the investigation, her alcoholic mom abandoned the family. But before people started getting killed, Veronica and Lilly were cheerleaders, the popular kids. If she’d gone to Neptune High instead of Sunnydale, Cordelia Chase would’ve likely sat at their lunch table.

And though every former friend she ever had turned against her after Lilly’s murder (not that she needed them anyway; rich kids can be such bitches), Veronica still has a good heart. By the end of the pilot episode, Veronica—who spends most of her time cracking cases with her private investigator dad—has reluctantly allowed herself to do a good deed for the new kid in town, giving herself an ally and a friend, and leading to the marshmallow quote that inspired this recipe.

In honor of our tough-but-tender teen detective (someone whose gumption Harriet the Spy would no doubt admire), have a plate of Veronica Marshmallows ready at your next viewing party for the late series. A few notes on the recipe:

You’ll need citric acid for the full sweet-and-sour effect of the Sour Patch Kids-esque outer coating. Also known as “sour salt” in some circles, it sounds harsh to the uninitiated, but is nothing more than a natural alpha hydroxy acid that’s found in citrus fruit. Get it at any store that also sells canning or wine- and beer-making supplies, some specialty grocery stores, Williams-Sonoma, or (as always) Amazon.

Because of the sticky factor and the extra layer of sugar, don’t make these marshmallows on wet and humid days. They’ll never retain their nice crunchy sugar coating as long as you need them to—unless you’re in the business of eating 10 dozen marshmallows in one fell swoop. Trust me, all you’ll end up with is a slimy ball of marshmallows that adheres to itself with velcro-like tenacity.

And credit where credit’s due: tip of the hat to DIY genius and fellow TV lover Autumn Makes and Does for the idea of dissolving gelatin in fruit juice, rather than water, for more intense and authentic flavor.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the mention Casey! Lilly Kane manilla folder=best food styling EVER. Also, it never occurred to me to coat marshmallows in citric acid, but I just happen to be the sort of lady who has citric acid on hand. I’m definitely going to have to give this a try.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Of course you’re the kind of gal who keeps citric acid in her pantry (everyone should for moments like these, right?) It’s fun to coat lots of stuff with it and live in a Sour Patch world.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Lillian, did we talk about this when you were here? I think it’s totally worth a shot as long as you’ve got both liquid and granulated versions. Something about adding the corn syrup/sugar that’s already in liquid state helps keep things gooey instead of hardening up like caramel brittle. I’m no physicist, can you tell?

  2. says

    Ohmigawd! You might have just added a whole new dimension to my marshmallow flavor creating. /freak out

    And you’ve officially given me the urge to start from Episode 1 and do some Veronica Mars watching.

  3. says

    I never was able to get into Veronica Mars because it came out when I was across the pond. But now I’ve got a new thing to watch all summer!

    I know they’d end up a sick pink color, but I can’t help thinking rice krispie treats would be awesome with these.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Yes! The first season of VM is a perfect summer catch-up show. It’s actually one of those shows that’s better on DVD, because the mysteries keep you wanting to watch just. one. more. episode.