Monday, July 27, 2009

July Daring Bakers' Challenge: Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

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. We had the option of baking one, or both.

I vaguely recall eating Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies, aka Mallomars, at some point in my life, but I'm not too adoring of marshmallows. I'm at least more educated now and had no idea there were so many variations around the world. Apparently, Denmark first created the Schokokuss about 200 years ago. In New Zealand, Mallowpuffs are available in varieties such as Banana Split, Double Choc, Jaffa, Original, Pineapple, Rocky Road and Toffee. (See Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats on Wikipedia).

My variation was inspired by our weekly culinary challenge for Coronado Concerts in the Park a few weeks ago, Passage to India. I added a touch of cardamom to the cookie dough, mango puree to the marshmallow, and curry to the chocolate. I think the flavors complemented each other quite nicely!

Here is the original recipe provided for the Daring Bakers' Challenge:

Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand, Food Network

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.

The recipe is not complicated. However, before you tackle this project, you should be aware of the following:

  • The recipe states it will yield about 2 dozen cookies. Let's amend that statement to about SEVEN dozen. And that's after all casualties were eliminated - the ones with grossly deformed marshmallow kisses (Piping the "kiss" on top of each cookie was much easier than expected, assuming the proper consistency of the marshmallow is achieved, and after piping skills normalize); the ones that manage to latch onto a finger or hand and refuse to let go until they are totally mangled...This will occur when you ever so gently try to rearrange the cookies to make room for another dozen, or move the cookie sheet just slightly (of course, for humane reasons, those must be eaten right away). I witnessed more casualties when a dozen or so stuck to my flowing piece of sheer white fabric, used cut the glare of the sunlight during photographing, when it blew off the window and over an entire cookie sheet full of naked Mallows!
  • Prep time, 10 minutes; Inactive prep time, 5 minutes. I think not. These cookies took me almost a day from start to finish, with the time required for air-drying the marshmallows and for the chocolate glaze to set. Sure, you are free to do other things during the drying time, just not anywhere near your kitchen where every square inch of counter space is covered with SEVEN dozen cookies! Did I mention this recipe yields at least SEVEN dozen cookies?!
  • Another fact according to Wikipedia: "Because Mallomars melt easily in summer temperatures, they can become difficult to find during the summer and they are generally available from early October through April." Therefore, do not try to make them in the peak of the summer, when the temperatures are hovering near 90 degrees F and you have no air conditioning. The marshmallow did not ever form a skin and remained sticky and my chocolate never did totally set. However, after completing the challenge and then going back to read through the wisdom of the more experienced Daring Bakers offered during the course of this challenge, it appears cocoa butter, rather than oil, in the chocolate, was the way to go.
Ok, I'm done bitching. Actually, I'm fairly content with the first half of my first Daring Bakers' Challenge. I had fun playing around with the chocolate glaze, dipping the entire cookie, half a cookie, and just the marshmallow top of the cookie. I also sprinkled a few chopped pistachios on some of the cookies. I even dusted curry powder over the top of a few, and these had a little added pizazz!

For the mango flavor, I simply folded in 1/3 cup mango puree to the marshmallow mixture and added a few drops of orange gel paste coloring to enhance the mango color.

I should have stopped while I was somewhat ahead. I then decided to attempt the Milanos. Bad decision.

Don't try these at home! Go with the store-bought Pepperidge Farm Milanos! I thought my Mallows had issues, but these puppies really frustrated the &*%#! out of me ;-(

They were sticky, didn't hold the right shape, and don't taste very exciting for the heartache involved. I had such high hopes for one of my favorite cookies! But again, I do blame the heat and humidity we've been experiencing on part of my problems.

Looking on the bright side, I joined the Daring Bakers to learn from all of the Pros. I'm hoping my second Challenge will be more of a success!

I did like my little photo least they look authentic!

Here's the recipe, if you happen to get a wild hair. My suggestion is to spend your summer day at the beach and save these for a rainy or snowy day.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand, Food Network

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

Be sure to take a look at the slideshow of some of the Daring Bakers' cookies, here. You can also find the Daring Bakers' Member blogroll, here, if you would like to go check out their individual blogs.

Thank you, Nicole. This was a challenging first challenge!


Lisa said...

Not only are your Mallows stunning, but cardamom in the cookie and ,mango marshmallow sounds incredible! Your Milans came out beautiful too...lovely work!

Julie (Willow Bird Baking) said...

Your Mallows are BEAUTIFUL! Love the presentation and photos! I also had a good laugh at Gale Gand's prep time! What universe is she living on that she can make these that fast?! :D

Great work! Also, how jealous am I that you live in Coronado! I visited once... beautiful.

Angie said...

Wonderful job! The mallows are truly inspiring. Both cookies came out wonderfully! (And yes, I think Gale Gand's prep time includes a sous chef and industrial-style kitchen if she's cranking these cookies out as fast as she says she is!)

Angela said...

The flavors in the mallows sound amazing, and the mango color is gorgeous. Frustrating as all &%#@* is about how my experience with the milanos went, too.

Rose said...

Love your take on the Mallows... the cookies - well... not all things work out in the end! Kudos for taking the challenge!

Pontch said...

both of the cookies looks incredible tasty.
Beautiful job.

Anna said...

You have yummy looking Mallows and Milano cookies. I like the photos a lot - especially the one with big batch of mallows :) Cheers!

Lauren said...

Wow!! I love the sound of your India-inspired marshmallow cookies =D. Beautiful job on this challenge!

KMDuff said...

Your cookies turned out beautifully! Love it!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Mmmmm...Mango--my favorite flavor! What a great idea and your pictures are fabulous! Well done!! :)

April Boyer Modern Handmade said...

Your variation on the mallows is wonderful! That sounds so yummy. Great job!

KayB said...

Cardamom in the cookie dough and mango in the mallow mixture - sounds really yummy to me. The pictures look good, too! But I fully agree with you.... mallows should be only allowed to make during October until April! :-)

Esther said...

Your mango Mallows sound and look fantastic. Congratulations on your first challenge and your milan cookies look fine to me though to be fair we don't have them here so I don't know what a 'proper' one is like.

shaz said...

Wow, that combo sounds fantastic! And I had the same sort of "sticky situation" you did too with the naked mallows - very frustrating! Great looking Milanos too.

Jenny said...

Cardamom and mango are two of my favorite things so I would love to have munched on one or two (or ten!) of your mallows! Great work! Too bad you didn't think the Milans was worth it, but they look great!

jillian said...

Your malllows incredible and they sound really delicious! I agree that the Milanos probably had a humidity issue. I let mine over brown just slight to keep them crisp.

raquel said...

those are awesome mallows! i love mango flavor so i may have to try your version!

Tres Jolie Studios said...

Both of your cookies look wonderful! Great job on the challenge, you have my mouth watering!

Christina said...

Mmmm mango mallows :) They sound and look delicious!

Kenna - said...

Wow, I love your flavor additions to the mallows! Wonderful ideas.