After the cookie baking is done, I start to think about what artsy-craftsy baking projects might be possible in the week off between Christmas and New Years. This year I have lined up about four chocolate confection ideas and two cookie possibilities. Well that was until I saw the recipe below that David Leite published earlier this week. I thought it was worth reposting. Sounds like a great project for the day and something that could entertain mom and the kids. The original recipe is from Unforgettable Desserts by Dede Wilson
Makes 40 cookies
For the marshmallows
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 whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the graham crackers
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup 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
For the chocolate topping
24 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, such as Ghirardelli (45%) or Valrhona Equitoriale (55%)
Make the marshmallows
Coat a 13-by-9-inch pan with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment 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 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 the 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 into about forty 1 1/2-inch squares (8 x 5). The marshmallows may 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.
Make the graham crackers
Line 2 jelly-roll pans with parchment paper; set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt 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 out crackers in 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the crackers to the prepared pans, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gently gather together the extra dough and cut out as many crackers as possible. Refrigerate while the oven preheats. Position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). While the oven preheats, make sure the marshmallows are ready to use. If they have been coated with cornstarch, shake them gently to remove any excess.
Bake the graham crackers for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the crackers 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 crackers 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.
Assemble the mallowmores
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave. Put in a narrow, deep bowl.
Pick up one cracker 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.
Tips: The physical beauty of these mallowmore will depend on how cleanly and neatly you cut the graham crackers and the marshmallows, so take care during those steps. Also, dipping the crackers can be tricky. If you do not place the marshmallows on the crackers immediately after they come out of the oven, the heat from the crackers will have dissipated and not be enough to semi-melt the bottoms of the marshmallows. There won’t be enough heat to affix them to the cracker. You will know whether this step worked or not when you try to dip the graham crackers because the marshmallows will fall off. An alternate method for dipping would be to place the marshmallow-topped crackers on a clean cooling rack set over a clean jelly-roll pan lined with aluminum foil. The melted chocolate can be poured over the cookies, and you can help it stick to the sides with a few swipes of a small offset spatula. Any excess chocolate that drips down onto the pan can be reused.