Marshmallow creme is a type of sweet confection that is extremely popular in some regions of the United States; outside the US, it can sometimes be hard to find. It is made from the same ingredients that are used to make marshmallows, except that they are whipped into a creamy spread instead of puffed up. There are an assortment of uses for this product, ranging from a topping for ice cream sundaes to an additive in fudge.
The original marshmallows were made with an extract from the mallow plant, which acted like gelatin to hold the ingredients together. Modern products typically use gelatin or a vegetarian alternative, rather than the botanical ingredient this confection is named for.
In the United States, many stores sell marshmallow creme, typically in the same location as marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and other sundae toppings. It is also possible to make at home, although it may lack the smoothness of commercially whipped products. This product is made primarily from sugar, but also sometimes contains egg whites.
One of the most well known uses for marshmallow creme is in the fluffernutter, a sandwich made with peanut butter. Fluffernutters reference a popular brand of this product, Marshmallow Fluff, and they are quite popular in some regions of the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The fluff is also used in desserts; it can be layered with flavored gelatin, combined with rice cereal to make bar cookies, and included in an assortment of other foods.
Cooks who do not have access to pre-packaged versions can make their own by heating 16 large marshmallows in a double boiler with 2 teaspoons (9.8 ml) of corn syrup. The mixture should be heated slowly and stirred frequently as it melts down to encourage even, uniform melting. This version should be a perfectly adequate replacement for the commercial product, although it may not be as shelf-stable.
Many brands are gluten free and kosher, although shoppers may want to be careful to check the packaging if they are serving Jewish or gluten intolerant guests. It can also behave strangely when it is mixed with some ingredients; for example, an emulsion of marshmallow creme and chocolate has to be handled carefully to ensure that it does not separate.