Laketown Blue Mallow Treats
by GilArda, Pipkin
While Frodo was recovering from his first encounter with the Ringwraiths in Rivendell, he and Sam spent many hours with Frodo's beloved Uncle Bilbo listening to the stories of his adventures with the dwarves. During one such reminiscence, Bilbo mentioned an unusual sweet that was served to the travelers. It was made from the sticky, sweet pulp of the root of a weed that grew along the marshy shores near Laketown, called the mallow. The pulp was scraped out then boiled down to a thick white goo which was then spoon dropped into bite sized pieces and allowed to cool and dry. Doing this was arduous and exacting work: harvesting, scraping, then heating the mixture just so anyone who'd burnt sugar making candy can attest to that! So proud were the confectionery guild of Laketown that they tinted their "marsh-mallow" a distinctive but subtle blue color, to distinguish it from homemade treats which were merely a yellowy straw color.
Bilbo had lost none of his hobbit's appreciation for good food especially unusual delicacies and his descriptions made Frodo's and Sam's mouths water.
Years later, Sam and Rosie traveled to Gondor to escort their daughter, Elanor, who was to become one of Queen Arwen's honorary Ladies-in-Waiting. Since by then the lands were made safe to travel, the party of hobbits decided to take the scenic route and visit some of the places Bilbo had passed through on his adventures. Using his writings as a guide, they stopped to say hello to those who remembered the elderly hobbit, and Sam's party were greeted like visiting dignitaries everywhere. But when they arrived in Laketown, the "mallow guild" remembered Bilbo fondly and offered many trays of the coveted sweets. Sam was delighted to have the chance to taste the sweet marvels Bilbo had spoken of. He and Rosie even took some to the court of Gondor as a gift to the Queen, who recognized their superiority from the distinctive blue coloring of the sticky sweet paste. (King Aragorn liked them so much, he had to excuse himself to enjoy the somewhat messy treats privately!)
In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan (such as a dutch oven), melt the butter on the stove over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir till melted and smooth. Add 4-5 drops of blue food coloring and stir till thoroughly mixed in. Add more coloring until the desired shade is reached (but don't add too much, or the taste of the coloring will start to be detectable better to be subtle!). Remove the mixture from heat and immediately stir in the cereal, stirring and tossing till the cereal is thoroughly coated with the melted marshmallow.
Pour the sticky mix into the prepared pan and use a large piece of waxed paper placed over the top to press the mixture out to the corners and edges of the pan and smooth the top. Do this quickly, and don't be afraid to press down hard! Allow to cool completely before cutting into 24 squares with a greased serrated knife.
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