And so, we close December's cookie-a-day series with this final recipe.
It's our last day of A Cookie Month 2009 here on Cook the Book, and it's a bittersweet one (pun absolutely intended).
When I started this in the beginning of December, I was pretty sure the novelty of baking cookies daily would wear thin quickly—but somehow, even when I grew tired of eating cookies, the joy of the baking process never diminished. It became one of the most relaxing parts of my day—measuring out the flour and sugar, creaming the butter, lining the pans, shaping the cookies. It was almost like a meditation.
Our last cookie of 2009 comes from Unforgettable Desserts by Dede Wilson. This seemingly complex, multi-step recipe would have scared me off earlier, but now I feel more than prepared to take on the challenge.
These Mallowmores are a homemade version of the chocolate-dipped graham cracker topped with marshmallow cookie that goes by many different names. You know the one, its similar a s'more with but with out the sticks and the campfire.
I've always been curious about making marshmallows but before this month of intensive baking boot camp, I was never confident enough to give them a go. (And on the same note, I've always wondered how graham crackers were made, but never bothered to try.) This recipe was going to answer all those s'mores-related questions.
Step 1: Make the marshmallows: The results were pretty spot-on. This mix of gelatin, sugar, egg whites, and a few other ingredients gave me a 9 x 13-inch pan of snowy white marshmallow, not too different in taste or texture from the store-bought version.
Step 2: Make the graham crackers: Some recipes call for graham flour, but this one uses plain ol' all-purpose along with honey and brown sugar for color and flavor. Rolling and cutting these little square cookies was no problem at all—the dough was very easy to work with and they baked to a perfect shade of graham cracker golden-brown.
Step 3: Assembly: The marshmallows are cut and placed on the still-warm grahams, melting slightly and forming a bond. This was quite a sight to behold (they looked like tiny icebergs or snowdrifts).
Step 4: The crucial chocolate dip: Finally I dipped the marshmallow tops in melted semi-sweet chocolate and left them to set. My mallowmores looked just like the recipe's accompanying photo. OK, maybe they were little more wobbly-looking but not bad at all for someone who thought of themselves as a novice baker in the beginning of December.
Win Unforgettable Desserts
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Unforgettable Desserts to give away this week.
- Yield:about 40 cookies
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup room temperature water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cornstarch, sifted
- Graham Crackers
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, such as Ghirardelli (45%) or Valrhona Equitoriale (55%)
Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit, and then spray the parchment.
Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Put the sugar, corn syrup, the remaining water 1/3 cup water, and the salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Attach a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat until it reaches 240°F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Cover the pot and leave on the stove with the burner turned off, to keep warm.
In a clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on low speed using the wire whip attachment until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, turn the speed to medium high, and whip until soft peaks form. Pour a thin, steady stream of the sugar syrup directly over the meringue with the mixer running. Do not pour any on the whip or the sides of the bowl. Whip the meringue until cool to the touch, this could take 5 minutes or more. Beat in the vanilla. The marshmallow should be thick and glossy and form medium-firm peaks.
Immediately spread the marshmallow in the prepared pan with an offset spatula, pressing down into the corners and smoothing the top. Lightly dust the top with a thin veneer of cornstarch. Let sit at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight. Sprinkle a piece of parchment with cornstarch, run an icing spatula around the edges of the marshmallow, and invert it on top of the parchment. Peel the parchment off of the marshmallow if it comes loose from the pan. Use a long, sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut the marshmallow into about forty 1 1/2-inch squares (8 x 5). The marshmallows my be used immediately, or they may be stored, in which case toss with some cornstarch to prevent them sticking to one another. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days before assembling the cookies.
Line 2 jelly-roll pans with parchment paper; set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the flat paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and honey and continue to beat until creamy, about 3 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat until combined. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut the cookies in 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the cookies to the prepared pans, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gently gather together the extra dough and cut out as many cookies as possible. Refrigerate with the oven preheats. Position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven preheats, make sure that the marshmallows are ready to use. If they have been coated with cornstarch, shake them gently to remove any excess.
Bake the grahams for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies are dry to the touch but still have a tiny bit of spring to them. Do not bake until crisp. Their color will barely change. Place the pans on racks and immediately, while the cookies are still warm, place a marshmallow on top of each. The heat of the cookie will seal the marshmallow to the cookie, which is very important for the following chocolate dipping step. Cool completely on the pans set on racks.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Put in a narrow, deep bowl. Pick up one cookie at a time and plunge it, marshmallow side down, into the chocolate. The chocolate should cover the marshmallow completely as well as the sides of the cookie. Lift out of the chocolate and shake gently back and forth to encourage excess chocolate to drip off. Place cookie side down back on the pan and repeat with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container in single layers separated by parchment paper. Alternatively, they may be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.