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Friday, July 31, 2009

July Daring Baker's Challenge - Part 2

As promised, here is the final exciting installment in the tale of the July Daring Bakers' Challenge! Thanks again to Nicole at Sweet Tooth for hosting the challenge this month.

Well, I'm sure you've all been on the edges of your collective seats wondering how my new oven was going to perform on its maiden baking voyage. Would I be wishing I'd never let Mr Dodgy Oven go out to pasture? Would I be leaping around the kitchen pumping my fists in the air in joy? If you guessed that my actual reaction fell somewhere between these two then you'd be right, and you've earned yourself a treat. Go and have a mallow. Unless of course you're not like me and don't have FIVE MILLION mallows sitting around in your house. Yes, this recipe lies ever so slightly when it claims to make two dozen cookies. Perhaps two dozen cakies would be more accurate. Or two dozen dozen cookies. In any case, there were more than enough cookies to take into uni for my fortnightly research group meeting, to deliver to a friend on campus, to sample in case they were poisoned (the correct action for any responsible baker), to give to my housemate whose ears were assaulted by my mixer working the pesky marshmallow for ages, and to bestow upon my sister who is staying with me for the weekend.

The recipe itself gets a little technical in that you need to get the marshmallow made properly such that it sets to the right consistency, and you also need to be careful with your chocolate such that it actually sets at all (quite a few Daring Bakers had to keep theirs in the fridge as it simply refused to set without being refrigerated) and ideally it is tempered such that it sets with a nice snap, and without blooming. After reading of everyone's problems they were having in these areas, I was more than a little apprehensive about making these cookies, but looking forward to the challenge. I was determined to succeed! I was sure I would succeed!

I am exceedingly, delightfully happy to say that I did in fact succeed, and surpassed all my expectations at how brilliantly these would turn out! I'm pretty chuffed, really, although I am also quite tired as it was a pretty time consuming process. Just as well I have some sugary treats to get me through the day ahead.

After eyeing off the amazing creations of my fellow Daring Bakers, I came up with five variations on the original recipe. So, I ended up making the following cookies:
  • original,
  • with 100s and 1000s over the marshmallow (plus garnish),
  • with coconut over the marshmallow (plus garnish),
  • with a dollop of nutella between the cookie base and the marshmallow, then hazelnuts over the marshmallow (plus garnish),
  • with sieved black cherry jam mixed through the marshmallow, and garnished with a glace cherry,
  • with mint extract and green colouring mixed through the marshmallow, and garnished with white chocolate.
Yeah, I perhaps got a little carried away, particularly as this recipe actually produced 111 cookies. I did 20 each of the variations, and 11 of the plain.

The verdict from all who sampled my wares was resoundingly positive. Big smiles and happy tummies all round, and my favourite compliments of all - when people think that I must have bought them :D

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
3 eggs, whisked together
Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

Homemade marshmallows
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites , room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate glaze
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.

2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from t

he heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Cookies, continued..

9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.

Chocolate glaze
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Cookies, continued..
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

My notes and variations to this recipe:
  • Like I said, the cookie dough recipe makes a lot of cookies. I ended up with 111, and consequently needed to do a second batch of marshmallow (which turned out much nicer than the first!) and use a lot more chocolate than the recipe calls for.
  • I made sure to adjust for US measurements with the marshmallow recipe (1/4 cup ~ 59 mL; 1 Tb = 3 tsp). Not sure if this matters, but I did it just to be safe.
  • You have to "continue whipping until stiff" for quite a while! I am SO glad that I finally bit the bullet and got myself my very first stand mixer this week (yay!).
  • To add the flavours to the marshmallow, add it towards the end when it is almost whipped to completion.
  • Don't be a fool and wear nice clothes while doing this. You'll be cursing yourself as you smear sticky marshmallow on everything.
  • You'll need a decent piping bag. I piped the first lot of marshmallow using a standard plastic one, and it busted out! In a way this was a good thing, as it meant I didn't need to wash it and could just throw it away. I did the second lot with a decent canvassy type one, and it worked a treat.
  • I just used straight chocolate for the glaze, melting it in a double boiler and keeping some unmelted chocolate in the mix at all times.
  • See if you can rope someone into doing all your dishes. There is a lot of stickiness to get cleaned up. Perhaps a neighbourhood child would like to earn a nice shiny fifty cent piece and a few cookies for hours of scrubbing with hot, dangerous water?


teafactory July 31, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

wow, they look stunning! i'll have the green mint one please

Audax July 31, 2009 at 5:33 PM  

Just love that green mint one and the coconut has my name on it. Very glad that all the stages worked out so well especially the chocoalte coating - good idea to always have some very slowly chocolate in the dipping mixture this ensures stable chocolate crystals are always beening feed into your mix. Also your photos are beautiful. Bravo on such a great result. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Panamahat July 31, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Um, have you booked in for a visit to my place anytime soon? We have a couple of lovely spare guest rooms and a fantastic coffee machine....

Jill July 31, 2009 at 11:24 PM  

So many choices!! They all look delicious!! I think the nutella one is calling my name. :)

lisamichele August 1, 2009 at 1:11 AM  

OMG, your Mallows are stunning and absolutely perfect! I love your flavors too, especially the bright green mint, although I'd choose the Nutella to eat first. AMAZING execution!

willowbirdbaking August 1, 2009 at 2:27 AM  

I love the hazelnut mallows! They were definitely my favorite of the bunch I made, though I liked almond too. I'm telling you, add Nutella to anything to make it a zillion times better.

I wish I'd tried adding jam! That looks soooo yummy. And pretty toppings!

msmeanie August 1, 2009 at 3:53 AM  

Your cookies look delicious! And you're right -- the recipe was definitely screwy. I only made a third of the recipe and ended up with more than 20 cookies! Great job on the challenge and great shots of the final cookies!

Tim August 1, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

Great success :)

boroca August 1, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

You are ingenious! Great thinking with the variations, they do look fantastic! :)

wütende Bäckerfrau August 1, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

Awesome pics! They look like they turned out great.

I'm wondering...what in the hay are 100 and 1000's? I'm American, and I've never heard of them, is it just an Australian thing or have I been locked in my house too long?

Conor August 1, 2009 at 4:31 PM  

teafactory - thanks so much! Coming right up :)

Audax - thank you! I couldn't have done it without all your helpful tips!

Panamahat - I'd love to come down for a visit with a carload of treats, but uh... maybe not during winter ;)

Jill - Thank you! Mmmm nutella-y goodness!

lisamichele - thanks so much! I think the mint and nutella are my favourites, good choice!

willowbirdbaking - thanks so much for the idea to add Nutella, yours look so great!

msmeanie - thank you! I have to confess, I knew from everyone elses comments that the recipe would make a lot more than it stated, but I made it all anyway...couldn't help myself ;)

Tim - thanks! Hope you enjoyed your little share.

boroca - thank you! I have to admit I borrowed some ideas from other Daring Bakers - they're an inventive bunch.

wütende Bäckerfrau - Thanks! I think they might be an Aussie thing. You pretty much cannot have a children's birthday party without them - you simply must serve "fairy bread" which is buttered slices of bread with 100s and 1000s sprinkled on top. Oh and they are crucial on "freckles" chocolates!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge August 3, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

oh I've been waiting to see how you went with the mallows. They all look so lovely, but i'll have a dozen dozen of the nutella please.

sweetakery August 4, 2009 at 7:18 PM  

Oh wow! they look absolutely gorgeous!!

Iron Chef Shellie August 6, 2009 at 7:21 AM  

Wow they look positively gorgeous! They would make awesome gifts! ... I'll have a nutella one too please! :P

ice tea: sugar high August 7, 2009 at 11:39 AM  

Love all the topping. They look so lovely. Great job

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 1, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

I love how you put the hundreds and thousands underneath the chocolate! :D

I keep chekcing the site for next month's challenge-arrgh it's taking so long and I'm so excited! :P

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 2, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

Maria - thanks! A dozen nutella for you, with extra nutella on top :)

sweetakery - Thank you!

Iron Chef Shellie - Thanks! Yes, they did make great gifts (thank god, seeing as I had about a million of them)

ice tea: sugar high - Thanks!!

Lorraine - I also managed to put hundreds and thousands underneath everything in my kitchen, haha. Right, well the new challenge is up now, and I am a little bit scared!

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