•top of the airy sweetness, a hint of bourbon and brown sugar permeated a different kind of marshmallow.
Another version took the tart, sugary taste of a glass of lemonade and turned it into a puffy candy. Ingredients such as Nutella, Tahitian vanilla and handmade caramel add subtle richness to the luscious delights.
Marshmallows don’t have to be the lifeless puff of sugar that most people know. With some creativity and adventurous tastes, one local company has reinvented the traditional treat.
Samantha Aulick and Alexa Lemley have created a marshmallow paradise just south of Edinburgh. Their company 240sweet crafts the gourmet sweets in wild flavors such as crunchy cinnamon, draft beer and churro with cajeta.
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Their mission is to bring the joy of a toasty, caramelized, slightly charred marshmallow to the masses.
“We love food and beverages, making them happy with them and introducing them to new things,” Aulick said. “We’re versatile in what we can do with that.”
Lemley’s parents, Max and Christine Lemley, had owned a catering company in Columbus that started in 1968. She and Aulick took over the company and adapted it. The newly rechristened Artisan Foodworks created innovative food dishes for party platters.
In the search for new customers, the pair had a brainstorm. Lemley cooked up her own batch of marshmallows to attach to sample menus, then they passed them out to hair salons in the area.
“We were doing party platters, and trying to figure out how to get word out about what we were doing,” Aulick said. “A friend of ours is a hairdresser, and she said that they always need something to talk about with customers. Then we’d attach a treat to the menus.”
Lemley made her first batch using Martha Stewart’s homemade marshmallow recipe. Vanilla extract, gelatin, granulated sugar and corn syrup were mixed together to form cubes of airy goodness.
But after making a few batches, she decided that she could improve it. Tinkering with different spices and flavors, she has created 300 different types of marshmallows to sell.
One of the company’s mainstay marshmallows is crunchy cinnamon, with Saigon cinnamon and granulated sugar covering a vanilla puff.
Their versions of salted caramel, roasted coconut and chocolate decadence also are very popular. The s’more marshmallow is embedded with chocolate chips and dusted with graham cracker — an all-in-one version of the campfire treat.
Sugar cream pie has a vanilla, caramelly, custard flavor with pie shell ground into the dust. The company created it at the request of the Indiana Foodways Alliance, to help promote Indiana’s state pie and the Hoosier Pie Trail.
But Lemley also has created a Thai chili version that uses aromatics and spices, along with hints of coconut and lime to create a unusual taste.
Beef, chicken and turkey with sage dressing are all more savory, and make for ideal pet treats. Lemley uses real brews to make their draft beer flavored versions.
Creating a batch of marshmallows takes up to 10 hours, from measuring out ingredients to mixing to cooking, cutting and packaging.
“It’s sticky, and you have to pay attention to some things like temperature,” Lemley said. “But I’m the marshmallow mastermind.”
To help spread their love of marshmallows, the pair offer marshmallow-making classes in their Taylorsville studio. The sessions are popular with kids, organizations and private companies.
The classes are particularly popular with FFA groups; when Indianapolis hosted the national convention in 2012, nearly 800 FFA members came through.
“People are really interested to learn how marshmallows are made. It’s one of those things that you take for granted,” Lemley said.
They’ve also tried to take their work to the masses. Occasionally they take part in the Franklin Farmers Market.
Already, they’ve been featured at food events and festivals throughout the region serving gourmet s’mores and frozen hot chocolate.
This summer, they procured a 1967 Shasta trailer they call the S’moremobile. The pair have spent the past weeks refurbishing and outfitting the teal blue trailer, with the hope to take it on a more extensive festival tour in 2016.
“It’s going to ooze style and deliciousness,” Lemley said.
The pair have also started their own distillery, becoming the first craft distiller in Bartholomew County. Though they are distilling whiskey, vodka and gin, they also make their own vanilla extract for cooking and selling.
Only five or 10 gallons of the extract are released to the public, which makes for increased demand.
“All sides work really well together. We use the marshmallows in our catering, we make the alcohol for our vanilla extract in the distillery, and we use that in our catering as well,” Lemley said.
Marshmallows from 240sweet are recognized by the Indiana Artisan program, meaning their product is identified as a high-quality item created entirely within the state.
That recognition is indicative of how they view their creations, and how the rest of the world has consumed them.
“Our marshmallows are the only ones in the world recognized as art,” Aulick said.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup un-popped popcorn
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
16 240sweet artisan marshmallows (We suggest using one flavor)
Sea salt, to taste
1. Coat bottom of 4 quart or larger saucepan with vegetable oil. Heat over high heat until hot. Add popcorn. Keep in constant moving until all popcorn is popped. Remove from heat.
2. In medium saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add marshmallows. Stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat.
3. Immediately add popcorn and mix well with wooden spoon. Quickly put on food-safe gloves and coat them with softened butter. Shape popcorn mix into palm-sized balls and sprinkle with sea salt. Place individual balls on waxed paper until cooled.
4. For storage or gifting, wrap in clear plastic wrap and tie with ribbon.
— Recipe from 240sweet.com
What: An artisan marshmallow company making flavors such as salty caramel swirl, bourbon brown sugar and roasted coconut.
Who: Executive chef Alexa Lemley and Samantha Aulick
Classes: Lemley offers classes on the art of marshmallow making at their studio. Classes are approximately one hour long, and are open to anyone age 12 and up. Cost is $15 per person, and includes a bag of marshmallows.
- 11:30 a.m. today
- 2 p.m. Sept. 20
- 11:30 a.m. Oct. 17
Junior art of marshmallow class: For children ages 6 to 11. All participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18. Cost is $15 per person, and includes a bag of marshmallows.
- 10 a.m. today
- Noon Sept. 20
- 10 a.m. Oct. 17
Information: 240sweet.com or facebook.com/240sweet
6 puffs Salty Caramel Twist 240sweet artisan marshmallows
6 miniature dark chocolate candy bars
12 graham cracker cookies
1. On a platter, place cookies upside down. Individually, place miniature candy bars on six of the cookies. Reserve remaining cookies to top s’mores.
2. Using a skewer, roast puffs to toasting preferences. Place one roasted puff atop each candy bar and cookie stack. Place remaining cookies atop stacks and squish. Indulge immediately.
Note: To make these s’mores in broiler, place half of cookies topped with candy bar and marshmallow under a hot broiler until puff is the desired shade of brown. Upon removal, immediately top stacks with remaining cookies.
— Recipe from 240sweet.com