Monday, July 27, 2009

Homemade is better!!!

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.

If you are satisfied with store-bought marshmallows or Fluff, you don't know WHAT you're missing!!! Who knew marshmallows were so easy to make!!! Here is the recipe as given by our July hostess...

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.

This is what it looks like after step 5...

09-07-01 Marshmallow

I wasn't too sure about the part of the challenge about the cookie base... It suggested making the cookies 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter which seemed a little small to me, but I went ahead and made the cookies with the recipe given...

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.

Now, I made these with a 1 inch cutter, and got 60 cookies out of the first rolling alone... I probably could have gotten another 2 dozen out of the leftover, but something told me to stop with the 60, and a good thing I did because the marshmallow recipe was JUST ENOUGH...

Assembling the cookies was not a problem either... We decided to give them a little flavor boost so I spread a little peanut butter on 2 dozen and a little raspberry fruit spread on another 2 dozen, leaving the last dozen plain... Steven got the job of piping the marshmallow on to the cookies...

This is the peanut butter group...

09-07-02 Piping Marshmallow on to Peanut Butter Mallomars

This is the raspberry group...

09-07-03 Piping Marshmallow on to Raspberry Mallomars

And this is the final step before the chocolate coating... Here, they need to dry for at least 2 hours...

09-07-04 Mallomars Drying

09-07-05 Another view of the Drying Mallomars

While the mallomars were drying, I began the second part of the challenge... Homemade orange milanos... Recipe here...

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

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.

Again, I was a little iffy about the 1-inch length, and here, my iffiness was confirmed because the cookies baked a little small for my taste, so for the rest of the batches, we made them larger... The other issue we had was the Florida humidity... The cookies didn't crisp up like I had expected them to... But other than that, this was a success as well...

Look at them all!!!

09-07-07 Milanos

Meanwhile, back at the mallomars, they received their bittersweet chocolate cloaking, and held their shape beautifully!!!

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.

09-07-06 Dipped Mallomars

All in all, a great challenge met with great enthusiasm... A final look!!!

09-07-08 Mallomars and Milanos

09-07-09 Mallomars and Milanos

Looking forward to what August has in store!!!

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