Monday, 27 July 2009

Daring Bakers: Mallows

July 2009 Daring Bakers

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.
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My first Daring Bakers. *triumphant music plays*

I must admit I was a little bit worried when the challenge was announced because I'd never made marshmallows before and I needed to make them vegetarian. I spent a good half of the month worrying about that and not actually doing any preparation. After hanging around the "Alternative Bakers" forum, I decided to use the marshmallow recipe posted by Tasty Trifles and it was so easy and fun (and delicious) that I am totally going to make home-made vego marshmallows again.

July 2009 Daring Bakers

The downside (as always) was my shaping and piping skills. Or, should I say, lack of skills. I attempted to pipe my marshmallows, imaging beautiful mounds (dirrty!) of fluffy white marshmallow and getting something more like silly string. All the while, my marshmallow was becoming more firm.

Inspiration struck. Who said the long hard hours of watching Top Chef wouldn't pay off? I grabbed some spoons and made some really amateurish and not at all the right shape quenelles. And I was pretty darn happy with them.

July 2009 Daring Bakers

As you can see, my marshmallows were huge. I didn't mind that at all. "Om nom nom!" said the Greedy S-J voice in my head. I left them to do their thing, went out to dinner with one of my BFFs and her mum and got to brag about making marshmallow from scratch.

July 2009 Daring Bakers

The next day I was enthused to finish these suckers off and to reap my marshmallow-y rewards. The biscuit base was very simple and came together very easily. Rolling it out and using my very fancy cutters (i.e. 2 different sized glasses), I cooked my sheets of bases. I was starting to get very impatient while they baked and began getting my glaze ingredients ready.

July 2009 Daring Bakers

As I was waiting for the biscuits to cool, I looked at my flat and round marshmallows and I suddenly realised what I was actually making. Wagon Wheels. Cue the epic happy dancing. I almost wept tears of joy when I realised we actually had raspberry jam on hand.

I made the glaze (which, p.s., is totally homemade Ice Magic), spread some jam on the bizcuit, smooshed the marshmallow on there and dipped it in the chocolate. Unfortunately, my chocolate dipping skills are a bit like my piping skills.

July 2009 Daring Bakers

Sure, they weren't the prettiest but, by gum, they were delicious. AND HOOF-FREE! YAY!
Next time, I'm going to use the quince jam I bought today.

N.B. - I made half the cookie mixture as I'd read that some people were getting a lot of leftover dough and with my enormo-mallows, it seemed like the way to go.

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.

Vegetarian Marshmallows (from Tasty Trifles)
Ingredients:
• 60 mL water
• pinch of cream of tartar
• 255 g sugar, granulated
• 255 g light corn syrup
• ½ vanilla bean
• 85 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
• 5 g xanthan (0.76%)

Ground xanthan with a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside. Heat water, cream of tartar, remaining sugar, corn syrup and vanilla to 120ÂșC. Discard vanilla bean. Whisk egg whites for about 2 min until still soft. Continue whipping egg whites at slow speed while adding syrup slowly. Sprinkle xanthan mix while still whipping. Turn speed up and continue mixing for 2-3 min or until meringue pulls away from sides. Sprinkle a pan or baking sheet generously with cornstarch and spread out the meringue. Sprinkle top with cornstarch, cover with plastic and leave to set for 4 hours in a refrigerator. Cut marshmallows into desired shapes and dip cut surfaces in cornstarch.

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.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Butterscotch Layer Cake

Mmm, icing

A week ago, it was the lovely Ms Siobhan's beeeeday (her first in Melbourne) and we had her and the Elflet over for a birthday afternoon tea. I had a moment of panic re: what to make that would be easy but delicious and impressive. Silly S-J — when in doubt, turn to Nigella.

Overcooked but not entirely fail

I'd made the Boston Cream Pie previously and it was fine but not quite what I was looking for. Luckily, the Butterscotch Layer Cake was staring at me from the next page and when I read about the butterscotch cream cheese icing, I was in.

Note to self: put more in the middle next time

Nigella's Victoria Sponge recipe is next to foolproof and always delicious. I love this woman for many reasons, one of them being her "just put it in the food processor, peeps. It's just a cake!" philosophy.

Smooshing it down

It was a really delicious cake (so much so that the one in the photos is the one I made a week later for some other friends) and a big hit with everyone. It was also surprisingly light . . . or, more to the point, not as rich as you might suspect. Don't get me wrong - it is rich but it is also possible to finish a slice. Maybe even two slices.

Drizzle.

P.S. The leftover butterscotch sauce is delicious on ice-cream. Om nom nom.