The July 2009 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.
For this month's challenge, I chose the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies. I really wanted to try both, but I've been super busy with my internship and only had enough time to try one. The marshmallow cookies were intriguing because I've never made marshmallows before and definitely wanted to give it a try.
I wanted to make the marshmallows vegetarian (no gelatin), so I followed one of the recipes on the Daring Bakers Alternative Bakers forum. The recipe uses Xanthan Gum instead of gelatin to achieve the gelatin-like consistency, and it is fantastic! I read some reviews and was worried that the marshmallows would be too runny. But I followed all the steps and holy moly!
It was true...I had marshmallows. And they weren't runny piles of goop, they were just soft and fluffy, like little pillows...little pillows that were a magnet to uhm, everything. Literally. By the time I was done dipping the last cookie, my kitchen had become a marshmallow. Fortunately, it was worth it because this recipe makes some mighty good cookies, and a ton of them! I
only made a third of the recipe and still ended up with about 20 big cookies!
I made two variations of the cookie: for the first type, I added a layer of homemade dulce de leche (think: marshmallows, chocolate, and caramel...oh mama). The other variation was inside out Mallomars: I used a chocolate cookie base and dipped the cookies in white chocolate.
This recipe was definitely a challenge for me - although the individual parts were simple, putting them together was trickier. Also, trying to get the world's stickiest stuff to do what you want is not particularly easy. Still, these cookies were very very tasty and I would definitely recommend this recipe -- just be prepared, you might end up with marshmallow on your ceiling (I did).
The recipe for the cookies is here. Below is the recipe I used for vegetarian marshmallows. I followed the recipe exactly except piped the marshmallows onto the cookies instead of spreading it on a baking pan.
Vegetarian Marshmallows (by Elizabeth Falkner of Demolition Desserts)
• 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%)
2. Heat water, cream of tartar, remaining sugar, corn syrup and vanilla to 120ºC. 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.
3. 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.