Monday, July 27, 2009

Mallows


This month's Daring Baker challenge was Mallows, a chocolate covered marshmallow cookie that reminds me very much of Puffs or Whippets from my youth! 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.

As a child we always had homemade cookies for our dessert at school. I loved the cookies my mom made, and so did many other kids who had store bought cookies. I used to trade my cookies for thinks like Oreos, Whippets and for some strange reason frosted Cheerios. Store bought cookies were a novelty to us since we never had them, and the other kids loved cookies that weren't from a package, so it worked out well! When I saw these cookies, I instantly thought of all the chocolate chip cookies that got traded for the marshmallowy goodness of a Whippet or Puff.

The cookies were actually quite easy to make. The cookie base was pretty standard. The only thing that annoyed me was 3/8ths of a teaspoon of baking soda. What the eff is that? My equivalent fraction skills really suck (which is horrible for a teacher), but I didn't know what to do with that measurement. I just put in a pinch and hoped for the best! I guess the pinch was good enough, because the cookies turned out really well, and there were a lot of them.

I was pretty nervous about making marshmallows. I had attempted to make marshmallow bones using a whack recipe from Martha Stewart. They were awful. I followed the recipe exactly as written, but they were a sticky, gooey mess. Gross! This time, the marshmallows turned out perfectly!

The chocolate glaze was pretty straight forward. 2 ounces of oil looked like a lot when I first poured it over the chocolate, but it was just right. The coating was very smooth and cracked a little when you bit into the cookie. The only problem was that it was so humid in my house when I made the cookies that the coating didn't set. I'll try the cookies again in the winter and see if the humidity was the issue.

Assembling the cookies was not too difficult. I used a piping bag with just the coupler to pipe kisses of marshmallows on top of the cooled cookie base. After two hours, I dipped the cookies in the melted chocolate and oil mixture and let them harden (sort of) on a cooling rack.

The only downside to this recipe was that it made a tonne of cookies....many more than the amount of marshmallow I had. It wasn't a problem though, since the cookies were good enough to eat on their own, and I dipped the extras in chocolate. Delish!

The dairy substitutions were pretty straight forward with this recipe. Instead of butter I used margarine.

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 minServes

about 2 dozen cookies
• 3 cups all purpose flour

• 1/2 cup white sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 12 tablespoons 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 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.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Allergy Free Chocolate Cake


I love cake.....like really love it. Anthony Bordain often speaks of his 'death row' meal, the meal you would request right before you get fried, and I think chocolate cake with whipped cream and strawberries would be just that. In my house we grew up eating (and still eat every birthday) Chuckie's Chocolate Cake. My aunt first introduced my mom to this cake, and it has made many appearances ever since. I'm sure every family has a version of this cake, often called depression cake or whacky cake. It's very simple to make, as it contains ingredients that you have kicking around in your pantry. It also doesn't contain any perishable ingredients like butter, milk or eggs, so it's economical as well! Since it doesn't contain milk or butter, it's deliciously dairy free!

This cake is very dense (it's wonderful in character pans) and chocolatey and takes no time to make. I have made this as cupcakes and even quadrupled the recipe to make a giant cake. It's very adaptable. I have made this recipe with spelt flour as well as a gluten free flour mixture and they both tasted just like the regular version. It's so easy to make, that you can even mix it right in the pan you are going to bake it in!

I can no longer have whipped cream, which makes me very sad. Whipped cream and strawberries with cake is the best thing ever. Recently I found a great substitute for whipped cream. Nutriwhip is a product that can be whipped just like whipped cream, and it tastes pretty much like whipped cream. I used to use Cool-Whip, but then I found out that there was casein in it. I like Nutriwhip because you can whip the amount you need and put the rest in the fridge.

The combination of cake, Nutriwhip and fresh local strawberries is the ultimate dessert for me. Once strawberries came into season, I needed my fix!

Chuckie's Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 c flour

1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

6 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon white vinegar


In an 8 inch square pan stir dry ingredients. Make a well. Add wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.