The scrumptious combination of a soft marshmallow and a butter and cream caramel was created by Louisville confectioner Anton Busath.
Hailing from Alsace, France, he opened a candy store on Fourth Street, near the McCauley Theater.
Busath named his “caramel marshmallow wonder” after famous Polish actress Helena Modjeska. The movie star appeared in Louisville several times during the late 1800s, including at the McCauley Theater and The Opera House.
In appreciation of Busath naming his sweet treat after her, she later sent him an autographed portrait of herself. That picture hung in the store until a fire in 1947 destroyed the building.
With the holidays so close, Busath’s son, Edgar Busath, asked a good friend, Rudy Muth (a confectioner with a store on East Market Street), to use his kitchen to make candy for his family and close friends for Christmas. When it became apparent that he would not be reopening the store, Edgar gave Muth the recipe for Modjeskas.
Today, Muth's Candy, which is now in its fourth generation as Louisville’s oldest candy store, is stilling making mouthwatering Modjeskas.
And much like the bourbon ball, many local cooks and other candy makers have their own versions. Try one with sea salt!
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 10 ounce package of large marshmallows (cut in half)
Before staring recipe: Prepare marshmallows by cutting in half horizontally. Grease a marble slab or baking sheet. Cut wax paper into squares.
In a medium heavy-bottom pot, combine sugar, syrup, and 1/2 cup of cream over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Pour remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a small saucepan and warm separately over low heat. (Do not boil). Once the sugar pot begins to boil, add the warmed cream slowly. Add butter a half a tablespoon at a time, stirring until combined, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to boil until the temperature reaches 238°F, “soft ball” stage.
Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in salt and vanilla extract. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Place each marshmallow with uncut (driest side) on a spoon. Dip each marshmallow in the caramel until completely coated on all sides and place on slab or sheet. Dip until you run out of marshmallows or caramel. (Any leftover caramel is great over ice cream!) Allow candies to rest for 2 hours or until fully set. Wrap individually using wax paper squares. Store in a cool, dry place.