I would be remiss if I mentioned Graham crackers and did not speak about marshmallows at the same time. Marshmallows date back to as early as 2000 BC and Egyptians made individual marshmallows by hand by extracting sap from a mallow plant and mixing it with nuts and honey.
The official name of the mallow plant is Althea officials and it
is a pink-flowered plant. Marshes are the native growing ground
for the mallow plant; hence the name marshmallow. Mallow plants
are native in Asia and Europe and are also grown in eastern United
During the 1800s, candy makers in France took the sap from
marshmallow plants and combined it with egg whites and sugar. The
mixture was whipped by hand and took the form of the marshmallow
we know today.
Candy makers replaced the sap taken from the marshmallow plant
with gelatin, which enabled the marshmallow mixture to maintain
its form and reduced the labor intensive process of extracting sap
from the mallow plant. The gelatin was combined with corn syrup,
starch, sugar, and water to create the fluffy texture of the
marshmallow. The gelatin ingredient is essential for extending the
shelf life of marshmallows because of the moisture it infuses into
the candy. Thus, by replacing the previous egg whites with
gelatin, marshmallows maintain their elastic and spongy qualities
much longer than they had previously.
The marshmallow made its way to the United States in the 1900s
and grew in popularity in the 1950s when it was used in a variety
of recipes. Even though Americans were a little behind when it
came to the marshmallow, they are now the number one consumers of
the fluffy candy, buying more than 90 million pounds per year.
In 1948, Alex Doumak created an extrusion process to make
marshmallows. Through this process, the marshmallow substance was
pressed through tubes, cut into equal pieces, cooled, and then
packaged - just the perfect size for s'mores.