Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Mallow and/or Milan Cookies (grass optional)

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.

These cookies used to be pretty. Their chocolate coating used to be shiny and clean and smooth. But then I was going to take them to some friends so I wouldn't end up eating them, and as I was getting into the car they slipped and fell all over the grass next to my parking spot. Ah, poop. But you know what? Our lawn hasn't been fertilized in a really long time, and our neighbors with a dog moved so there weren't any little doggy piles around, so I piled them back on the plate and went ahead and ate them, picking the grass off as I went. And I liked them. A lot. So even though this was a bit of a (literal) belly-flop, I still liked this month's challenge. Nicole, bless you for choosing a fairly simple challenge for the crazy month of July. Even with it being easy I'm still posting a day late, but what can you do? The challenge was to make these mallow cookies, and/or Milan cookies. Being a slacker, I just did the mallows, but it was plenty for me this month. The recipe is below, and it's really pretty easy and good. I used milk chocolate for the glaze instead of semi-sweet since that's what I had, but be aware that milk chocolate won't set up as firm as semi-sweet. Also, since I didn't have a 1 or 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter, I just rolled the dough into a log, covered it in waxed paper and refrigerated it that way and then sliced it into 1/8 inch slices before baking and it worked beautifully.

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
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. (I went ahead and did it this way with the store-bought marshmallows. Did I mention I was a slacker?)

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
• 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. shortening
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

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