Using Marshmallows to get rid of Anxiety.
I have battled horrible anxiety for years, the worst being in 2014 and the beginning of 2015. I had the most wonderful job with such a supportive group of colleagues who totally understood me; however, I would end up having the most hideous anxiety attacks that would last hours. I would spend my time doing the filing in the filing cupboard to try and help me calm down, though I would get myself in to more of a flap because I would forget the order of the alphabet. My doctor prescribed me Beta blockers to take when I was having an anxiety attack which helped me calm down so much. There are obviously different medications you can take, and in my opinion, should be taken as a last resort if natural coping mechanisms aren’t working.
I still get anxiety attacks, however, I have new ways of dealing with them. I have realised that one thing that helps calm me down and distracts me is to make marshmallows. Everyone thinks that marshmallows are impossible to make and take a lot of skill – I thought this too until I started making them. The thing that needs the most attention and care is keeping an eye on the temperature of the sugar – I find this a great way of distracting myself from whatever is going through my head and really putting every ounce of focus on watching the temperature. Here is a basic recipe below, when the sugar syrup and egg whites are nearly finished mixing (after about 8-10 mins) you can add whatever flavouring you like with a drop of food colouring if you like. I like adding 1.5 teaspoons of rosewater (start with little and add more – it can be very over-powering and can start to taste like soap!) or orange blossom flavouring. When you are pouring it in to the tray, you can pour half in then put a layer of fresh fruit, herbs (mint or something of the sort) or anything else you like then pour the rest on top. It gives it a great look when you cut through it. I have also managed to get in to the habit of making marshmallows every sobriety birthday – a delicious way of celebrating!
455g granulated or caster sugar
1tbsp liquid glucose
9 gelatine leaves or 5.5tsp of powdered gelatine
2 large egg whites
1.5 tsp rosewater (other flavour suggestions – orange blosson, coffee, vanilla, lemon, peppermint, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, almond…)
4tbsp icing sugar and 4tbsp cornflour (mixed together)
Line the bottom of a 30 x 20cm baking tray with baking/parchment paper and dust with the icing sugar and corn flour mix.
Put the sugar, glucose and 200ml of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir to ensure all sugar is wet. Put on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling do not stir, just tip the pan from side to side to make sure the solution is heating evenly. The temperature needs to get up to 127c so keep an eye on the temperature with a sugar thermometer.
Meanwhile, rehydrate the gelatine in 140ml water.
When the sugar syrup reaches 110c start whisking the egg whites to a stiff peak (use a kenwood machine or electric whisk or your arms will be dying by the end of the recipe!!).
Add the rehydrated gelatine and water to the mix when it reaches 127c – it will froth and foam so make sure you stir it well with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot syrup on to the egg whites and whip on the highest speed for 5-10 minutes until the marshmallow thickens. Turn down the speed of the whisk to its lowest setting and add the flavouring (and food colouring if you want to make them pretty). Spoon the mixture on to the baking tray and smooth very quickly. Leave to cool and set for about 2 hours. Once set, sprinkle on more of the icing sugar/corn flour mix, cut up the marshmallows and roll each individual one in more of the mix. Then hide from everyone and eat them all before anyone realises you’ve made them and they’re insanely good.
Warning – marshmallow mix is seriously good, and if you’re greedy, like me, you will want to eat all of the mix. You can, but you might feel rather sick afterwards…!