Recipe origins: Gale Gand
Hostess: Nicole of Sweet Tooth
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.
Apologies are in order. Actually, doubled apologies are in order...
Nicole: I am sorry that I'm posting this late--I was just too emotionally fatigued to get this post up in time (and too busy to do an auto launch).
Nicole: I am sorry for the travesty that occured as a result of my attempt at your challenge.
Well..."travesty" is harsh. The end result was perfectly edible and those who had some (my colleague's darling children (and perhaps her hubby as well...never really quite sussed out if he got any) were quite happy to gobble up the goodies.
I'm familiar with Gale Gand's recipes (here's my review of her tome Brunch)--I know they work. I know they are tasty. So the collection of minor bumps became a set of big, lumpy, chocolate-coated treats that resulted from this challenge are all of my own doing (and maybe a bit of credit should also go to Beelzebub). Tasty, big, lumpy, chocolate-coated treats.
Not sure what happened to the biscuits. I looked at the recipe and thought they were very much like snickerdoodles (pronounced "schnickertdoodles" by a favourite person of mine). Given they were the base of marshmallow-topped cookie, I'd assumed that they were to remain flat and not like the over-inflated biscuit cushions that emerged from my infernal oven. Don't get me wrong--they were delicious and very snickerdoodle-like--but, like the perfect man, my mind's eye painted a picture that in reality was nowhere true.
No worries. The bottoms were flat. I can work with flat bottoms
What I wanted to do was have a little cherry surprise in the centre of the marshamallowy goo. I suppose if the cookies stayed little, it may have worked, but...when I put the cherry on the biscuit, it was like putting a green pea on a throw pillow. It was rather ridiculous looking and, I feared, would be akin to getting a mini puzzle in a KinderEgg instead of the really cool space robot...nice, but unsatisfying. I decided to chop up the cherries and mix them into the marshmallow goo before piping billowy quantities onto each base.
After about 10 minutes of wiping down my kitchen walls and cupboard of sweet and foamy spatters, I looked at the remnants of my bowl's contents and was...incredibly disheartened. My little handmixer was as warm as a freshly steeped cup of tea and the marshmallow was...liquid.
Not a good "oh this will pipe and set up fine liquid" but a "can I bottle this and convince people this is a new unfizzy soda that's de rigueur in Hollywood, Tokyo and Terre Haute (or Drayton...take your pick)" liquid.
I'd never made marshmallow before (apart from the marshmallow icing Dorie's White-Out Cake).
I don't think I'm cut out to be a candy maker. Candy eater: yes. Candy maker: no.
I suppose if I could turn back the hands of time, I would have chopped the cherries an mixed them into the marshmallow and then let the entire mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the gelatine to set, instead of taking couple of hours of deep thinking, punctuated by the occasional snoozy sound followed. Yes, I take my marshmallow pondering seriously.
Instead, the marshmallow set rather determinedly and no amount of hoping and pleading would allow the chopped cherries to magically transform the mallow mixture to something soft and cushy into what ended up being vaguely reminiscent of ugly pomo architecture: pink, a bit shiny and a mess of corners and curves.
There was no real point of piping the mixture, so I just spooned the mallowy mixture onto each cookie and set them in the freezer while I mixed the couverature.
Again, I don't know what I was thinking when I measured out the ingredients...because I put in too much fat and the chocolate just stayed liquid. After letting each chocolate-dipped treat set, the chocolate was still very soft, so the tray stayed in the freezer until ready to photograph, eat and parcel off to the colleague.
As I said before, they tasted great...they just looked weird.
Click here for a list of participating Daring Bakers.