Gibbs Smith; $18.95
Three things are true about marshmallows: Almost everyone likes to eat them, almost no one knows how to make them and, other than s'mores, they're seldom seen in restaurants. All of which is great news for any chef or pastry chef who buys this book, because it demonstrates how easy it is to create signature dessert items for your restaurant using house-made marshmallows and their close cousin, marshmallow fluff. Talanian first gives the how-to: all you need is unflavored gelatin, water, cane sugar, cane sugar syrup, salt and vanilla, plus a commercial mixer and a candy thermometer. Then she rolls out 125 imaginative flavor combinations you'll want to try: limoncello marshmallows; margarita marshmallows; blood orange, rosemary and zinfandel fluff; honey-star anise fluff and more — just the kind of stuff that could become instant stars on your dessert menu. Special bonus: You can make your own peeps!