Mallow Mania - Daring Baker's July Challenge

Monday, July 27, 2009

mallow warholThe Marshmallow Wa(rho)ll of Fame - with apologies to Andy!

My first ever Daring Baker’schallenge, and it was a blast!

But first: The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

choc mallow and raspberryMy first attempt. Plain mallow on left, raspberry mallow on right

(We could choose to do both cookies, or just choose one. I did attempt the Milan Cookies as well but err…the less said about that the better)

I was initially a bit nervous about attempting homemade marshmallows as I didn’t have a candy/sugar thermometer. Thanks to a lot of helpful people on the Daring Baker’s forums (eg Audax), I discovered I didn’t need one, and soon managed to make my first lot of Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (or Chocolate Royals as they are known in Oz).

And once I got the hang of it, I was on a roll! I ended up with raspberry flavoured mallows, cardamom and brown sugar mallows, coconut and cherry mallows with a chocolate base, orange mallows with a chocolate base, ginger mallows and frangelico and hazelnut mallows. (I’ve made flavouring notes at the end of the recipe).

lots of mallowsThe mallows before being covered in chocolate, clockwise from bottom right : orange, hazelnut, cherry coconut, hazelnut and frangelico

Like many of the other Daring Bakers, I found the quantities given were a bit off only because I Iike lots of marshmallow and less biscuit. If made this way, you’ll end up with way more cookie dough than mallow. For my purposes, 1/3 the quantity of cookie dough went with 1 portion of mallow mixture.

What I learnt:
1) Piping of the actual mallow mixture was an extremely sticky process and the end result wasn’t as visually appealing as I could have hoped. Luckily, thanks to more help from Audax, I learnt how to mould the marshmallows using a very ingenious method involving cornflour. This was much simpler, and quicker and I could pick up the resulting marshmallows – the first piped lot kept accidentally sticking to my clothes and limbs everytime I got too close!(I stuck the finished mallows onto the hot cookies as they came out of the oven)

molding marshmallowThe mallows setting in conrflour. The set mallows. (These were brown sugar ones)

2) Start with room temperature butter for the biscuit base! On my first read of the instructions, I thought the base was meant to be a bit shortcrusty (and I made it by hand). Unfortunately not! The resulting dough kept shrinking and pulling and didn’t have a very nice texture. (We ate them anyway, chocolate covers up a multitude of sins). Second try with softened butter and a hand beater resulted in easy to work with and definitely yummier bases.

more mallowsMallows, mallows everywhere!

Apart from those minor issues, the rest of the process was pretty straightforward and not as daunting as it sounded.

kids eating marshmallowMallow quality control process
Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
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

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.
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.
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.

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.

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

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 the 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.

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

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

My flavourings:
1) Raspberry flavoured mallows. I pushed ½ cup thawed frozen raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds. I then cooked the resulting puree over low heat until really thick and reduced to about 1 tablespoon. I stirred the thick paste through 1 cup of marshmallow mixture. The taste is subtle with a bit of a raspberry tang.

2) Cardamom and brown sugar. I just substituted brown sugar for the white sugar, and popped 3 cardamom pods in with the boiling sugar. I would steep the pods in hot water first next time to draw out the flavour more. I also crushed the black seed inside the pods and added them to the cookie dough.

cardamom and brown sugar mallow Brown sugar and cardamom mallows

3) Coconut cherry mallows. I stirred through about 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut to about ½ portion mallow mix. I also changed the biscuit base to a chocolate one by substituting about 40g of the flour with cocoa powder (I made 1/3 portions, so 40g from 125 g flour). Then for an added over the top touch, I pushed a glace cherry into the mallow before it set.

4) Orange mallows. Again, I used a chocolate biscuit base. For the orange flavoured mallow, I juiced 1 orange, sieved it to remove any stray pulp, and used the juice instead of the ¼ cup water in the mallow recipe. For added oomph, I added about 1 tsp finely grated rind to the final mallow mixture. I also pushed a chocolate chip into the mixture before it set.

5) Ginger mallows. I added a pinch of gound ginger to the mallow mixture and the base, plus a crystallised ginger in the middle.

6) Hazelnut and frangelico mallow. I made caramel and dipped the hazelnuts in it, then set aside on baking paper to cool. I was a bit nervous about using frangelico because I’d heard alcohol could interfere with the setting of gelatine, so I poured the flavouring into the sugar syrup when it had reached the soft ball stage – hoping that excess alcohol would be burned off. It worked.
hazelnut and frangelico mallowHazelnut and frangelico mallow in front. Other mallows at back

Now I’m off to read all the other blogs to see what they’ve come up with ☺


Pontch said...

What a beautiful Mallow they look gorgeous!!!

Anh said...

I didn’t pip out the marshmallow either (too lazy). I just used the spoon and swirled on top of the cookies. Congrat on the first challenge!

Lisa Michelle said...

SO many flavors, and I want all of them, especially the ginger and the cardamom-brown sugar! YUM! Also, your photos are awesome, as is the Andy Warhol take on them! Love it!

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

This was my very first DB challenge too!! Great job, I absolutely love The Marshmallow Wa(rho)ll of Fame, my kind of thing!

shaz said...

Thanks everyone.

Pontch - Great job on yours too.

Anh - I hear you! I hate cleaning out the piping bag, it's so messy.

Lisa Michelle - your flavour combos are unreal! Wish I had as much success with the Milanos as you did.

Megan - Thank you for your very kind comment, I am such a big fan of your blog!

♥Deeba @Passionate About Baking♥ said...

Great job on your first challenge. Welcome to the Daring did your first challenge is style! Lovely choice of flavours; perfect Mallows too!

shaz said...

Deeba - thank you so much for the warm welcome (especially from a baker of your distiction). I'm so glad I plucked up the courage to join DB, the camaraderie is wonderful :)

Ellie said...

They look beautiful! Love the variations you have created.

morgana said...

Wow!!! Fantastic.

Aparna said...

First of all, welcome to the community.
And wow, wow, wow! Congratulations on a first challenge very well done.
Your mallow flavour combos and pictures are just great.

raquel said...

fantastic! well done for a first challenge!!! congratulations!

Lauren said...

Wow! Beautiful job on your first challenge =D. I love all of the flavours you used - Yum!!

veggie belly said...

Oh my gosh! This looks so yummy! I love the flavoring ideas - especially cardamom :)

shaz said...

Thanks for the welcome Aparna, it's a great community!

Thanks Morgana - your mallows look really yummy and decadent

Thank you raquel - great Milanos and mallows!

Thanks Lauren for the praise, I think yours are very beautiful :)

Thanks veggiebelly - I was thinking of chai when I made that combo!

Photographer: Sis said...

Beautiful! And very educational! I loved reading it.

Julia @Mélanger said...

These are some of the most amazing cookies I've seen for this challenge. I so love the picture at the top. Fun!

Hungry Dog said...

Wow, these are stunning! I don't even care for marshmallows but I would love to make and eat these! Great photos.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What wonderful creations! Your Mallows are so pretty! I love your ideas...



peasepudding said...

I love your wall of fame, very artistic! The mallows are a beautiful shape too.

Grace said...

great googa mooga! i LOVE that you embraced this challenge and tried so many variations! which would be my favorite? that’s very hard to say. my first response would be cardamom-brown sugar, but the more i think about it, the more i’m convinced that chocolate, cherry, and coconut would be a masterful blend. bravo to you, shaz!

isa said...

Your cookies are very beautiful and extremely tempting!
I’m impressed with all of the flavor you made!
Nicely done and welcome to the Daring Bakers!

shaz said...

Shucks thanks everyone!

Isa- just visited your blog, ooh, very interesting combo of mint and choc and tonka bean (don't even know what that is) :)

Christina said...

I love how creative you got with your cookies! Welcome! Fabulous job!

Jamie said...

Love the variations! Well done!

culinography said...

I was very intrigued by the cornflour method of molding the marshmallows -- but it turned out that piping worked out ok for me. (Though I LOVE the way the molded mallows look!)

Love your QC girl! Looks like she takes her job very seriously!

shaz said...

Christina - Thank you the the warm welcome!

Jamie - thank you, I just got a bit carried away I guess

Culinography - thank you, goodness, no wonder you didn't bother with the moulding, your piping is perfect! And yes, my two QC officers really take their job seriously :)