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Daring Bakers July 2009|Mallow(mar)s and Milan(o)s

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First, a few words for the bots!

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.

Now, on to our story…

Which is a tale of two cookies. Two store-bought cookies. Two beloved store bought cookies. Specifically, Mallomars and Pepperidge Farm Milanos. Gone are the days when my metabolism could survive downing a whole pack of these lovelies in a sitting (although my squirrel brain still thinks it’s a good idea, so we skip the cookie aisle at the grocery), but every once in a while the Daring Bakers give me an excuse (cough) to make some cookies, which is what we have here for July. I’m not the hugest fan of Mallomars, but I’ve been known to knock back a few Milanos in my youth, and given the simple yet unusual (for me) elements of both these recipes, I was excited to try them…

Milans

These are the oblong, oval shaped, short-bread-like, chocolate-filled treats that come in tall packages of 16 (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had eaten a few!) and can be found in almost any grocery store. I loved these cookies in college (although not quite as much as some of the other Pepperidge Farm offerings that had slightly more chocolate), so they felt like an obvious choice to start the cookie indulgence extravaganza. As I’ve been doing for the past couple of months with all dessert recipes, I chose to halve this one, which may have been a mistake. Not the halving so much as trying to do it in my head without writing down the quantities on the recipe. I’ve warned others against doing this in posts before and didn’t heed my own advice. What I ended up with was not quite an epic FAIL, but more of a gentle, “whoops” fail.

milano cookies

The cookies were…well, one cookie really, to begin with. But they were also limp, sticky, way too lemony and not anything like Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. I’m usually all about forging ahead and seeing things through to the end, but these were bad enough that I had to cut my losses and toss them – there was no way perfectly good chocolate was going anywhere near them. I’m convinced, based on the many other lovely Milan cookies posted by other Daring Bakers that this is something I did and has nothing to do with the recipe. Maybe next time.

Mallows

This is a well-known cookie in my family. I believe the real lover of these gooey chocolate covered marshmallow bombs is my mother’s husband, but I’ve noticed that they seem to disappear at rapid clip early in the morning, before he’s out of bed (I think my mother may have gotten them confused with breakfast bars, which is completely understandable if you ask me). Even though I’m not a huge marshmallow fan, I was excited to take a stab at making it from scratch (fun!).

Marshmallow

I was also interested in seeing if there was any improvement on these things when “homemade.” Turns out there is…and there isn’t. Using better chocolate is definitely an improvement, and I prefer the homemade marshmallow to the store-bought. However, in spite of the fact that several other Daring Bakers had no problem setting up their chocolate, mine won’t stay solid outside of the fridge. I’m convinced this is also something I did, although the instructions for making the chocolate glaze were pretty sparse and didn’t include any detailed info on tempering (extensive chocolate tempering info courtesy of Audax Artifex (whose cookies rock!) is included after the recipes).

I must say, even though they require cold storage (and a napkin when eating), these things are hellishly good.

marshmallow cookies-0

This was a fun challenge and something I definitely would not have tried myself. It’s also something I could very well try again, especially as a way to learn how to properly temper chocolate (a girl has to pick up some skills now and then, right?).

Thanks to Nicole at Sweet Tooth for putting up a fun challenge – looking forward to making these again for the family…if I can ever figure out how to temper chocolate!

Cheers.

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
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.
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.

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
• 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.

Milan Cookies

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Milan Cookies
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.

Notes on how to temper chocolate (courtesy of Audax Artifex):
The First thing to discuss
Blooming Problems – What blooming?
Sugar bloom is normally caused by surface moisture. The moisture causes the sugar in the chocolate to dissolve. Once the moisture evaporates, sugar crystals remain on the surface. If this process is repeated, the surface can become sticky and even more discolored. Although sugar bloom is most often the result of overly humid storage, it can happen when the chocolate has been stored at a relatively cool temperature and is then moved too quickly into much warmer surroundings. When this happens, the chocolate sweats, producing surface moisture.

Fat bloom is similar to sugar bloom, except that it is fat or cocoa butter that is separating from the chocolate and depositing itself on the outside of the candy. As with sugar bloom, the most common causes of fat bloom are quick temperature changes and overly-warm storage.

First question did you notice if the bloom felt grainy (like sugar) when you bit into it. If it was then most likely it was sugar bloom.
2nd question did you place the coated mallows in the fridge to cool overnight? Don’t put your tempered chocolate items in the refrigerator to help them set faster; they won’t set up correctly. Room temperature is the way to go. If you did then most likely it was fat bloom that caused the problem.

The Second thing to discuss
You used the seed method and it sounds like you did it correctly more or less.
The seed method (as described in The Professional Chef). Since almost all the chocolate that is sold is already tempered, we can use a piece of this already tempered chocolate as a plentiful source of stable seed crystals.

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler while stirring to ensure unform temperature.
2. Once the chocolate has fully melted and reached a temperature of over 105°F (41°C), remove it from the heat. At this temperature, all the crystals, loose or stable, should be melted. Add a piece of unmelted chocolate to provide the seed crystals. This piece can be as big as 2 ounces (if you’re melting a sizeable amount of chocolate) or can be chopped up into a few smaller pieces.
3. Stir until the chocolate’s temperature enters the tempering range, 88-90°F (31-32°C). The chocolate should be kept at this temperature and stirred until used.

3rd question did you heat the chocolate and butter at the same time and stir all the time? If not you can get fat blooming because the clarified butter did not coat each crystal evenly.
4th question – did you stir the tempered chocolate while you where coating the cookies – stirring helps keeps the stable crystals stable and inhibits the formation of the unstable crystals.
5th question – did you keep the melted chocolate in it’s tempering range throughout the coating process? If not you could of caused unstable crystals to form therefore losing temper. And untempered chocolate easily forms fat bloom.

The third thing to discuss
Now to the full details about melting chocolate – this is long but does have a point (info from Wikipeadia)

The fats in cocoa butter can crystallize in six different forms (polymorphous crystallization). The primary purpose of tempering is to assure that only the best form is present. The six different crystal forms have different properties.

Crystal Melting Temperature Notes
I 17⁰C (63⁰F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
II 21⁰C (70⁰F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
III 26⁰C (78⁰F) Firm, poor snap, melts too easily.
IV 28⁰C (82⁰F) Firm, good snap, melts too easily.
V 34⁰C (94⁰F) Glossy, firm, best snap, melts near body temp (37⁰C).
VI 36⁰C (97⁰F) Hard, takes weeks to form.

Making good chocolate is about forming the most of the type V crystals. This provides the best appearance and mouth feel and creates the most stable crystals so the texture and appearance will not degrade over time. To accomplish this, the temperature is carefully manipulated during the crystallization.

Generally, the chocolate is first heated to 45⁰C (113⁰F) to melt all six forms of crystals. Then the chocolate is cooled to about 27⁰C (80⁰F), which will allow crystal types IV and V to form (VI takes too long to form). At this temperature, the chocolate is agitated to create many small crystal “seeds” which will serve as nuclei to create small crystals in the chocolate. The chocolate is then heated to about 31⁰C (88⁰F) to eliminate any type IV crystals, leaving just the type V. After this point, any excessive heating of the chocolate will destroy the temper and this process will have to be repeated. However, there are other methods of chocolate tempering used– the most common variant is introducing already tempered, solid “seed” chocolate.

6th question did you overheat the chocolate once it was tempered to over 34⁰C (94⁰F)? Which causes melting of the type V crystals which can lead to the formation of the other unstable crystals types to form therefore losing the temper of the chocolate and if you use untempered chocolate to glaze you will have a grayish, powdery surface on the chocolate. Untempered chocolate develops serious bloom in 24-48 hours, and it never gets the beautiful shine of tempered chocolate.

7th question if it was losing temper that caused the blooming which type of unstable crystal form did you get? You said that it did set to a hard crust so most likely you got type III or IV. Looking at the above list if the coating had a soft snap it was type III and if it had a hard snap it was IV.

The Last thing to discuss
Last important point – tempered chocolate cannot be used for retempering if ingredients have been added to it, such as oil or cream or has been used to dip fruits. That is once you lost temper on the clarified-butter-tempered-chocolate you created you cannot recovery the temper you can only use this chocolate for ganache or in baking recipes.

Specific Tempering Temperatures
Depending on the cocoa butter content of the chocolate and introduction of other ingredients, the tempering temperature of chocolate varies. Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking provides these values for the three broad categories of chocolate:

Type of Chocolate
Tempering Temperature
Dark (no milk content) 88-90°F (31-32°C)
Milk 86-88°F (30-31°C)
White 80-82°F (27-28°C)

Sorry for this very long and complex posting. Yikes who would of thought melting chocolate and keeping its temper was so technical. All I normally do (my mum taught me this) is get some chopped chocolate place in a very heavy ceramic bowl (which keeps a stable temperature for a long time) over some med-hot water wait until it starts to melt a bit then stir constantly and always have a few small bits of unmelted chocolate in it (add more if needed) and then coat I never realized I was doing all the above until I asked a few of my chef friends. Of course what I’m really doing is the seed method since I have a source of stable crystals from the unmelted chocolate that is stabilizing the melted chocolate and keeping its temper. Girl I don’t think I want to know anymore about melting chocolate I think my brain is full!!!

10 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Kath, I SO enjoyed reading your entry. A big ‘hell yeah’ to our metabolism slowing to the pace of a snail once you hit 30 or so. However, due to breakup weight loss, I downed my Milanos with the vigor of a sex starved bunny rabbit.

    OK, on to your cookies. Perfection, and I love YOUR whipped marshmallow on the whisk pic – as mine looked more like Casper after a bad accident! You need to send that and your gorgeous Mallow photo to Tastespotting and Foodgawker so many more can drool over your mastery. Nicely done! Oh, and thanks for liking how parts of my 3rd sheet of plain Milanos turned out. If you turned them over in that photo, you’d be amazed at what proper placement can do ;D OH, one more thing – love your ‘discussion’ area – lots of informative info – brilliant idea!

  2. Kathlyn says:

    I stole the marshmallow photo setup from you (except mine has a crap background, where yours looks like a studio!) and the tempering “discussion” from Audax Artifex! There’s really not an original thing in this post!

    Weight loss in spite of massive amounts of sweets=the only good thing about breakups! 🙂

  3. Your cookies look great, and your pictures are beautiful! I like that you included the instructions for tempering chocolate… very helpful!

  4. Blondie says:

    Hilarious post – I love that you know how many cookies come in the PF package! And the pics are great! I unfortunately experimented with a new camera and… well, someday I may be able to extract them to post!
    .-= Blondie´s last blog ..Milan Cookies and Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies Too =-.

  5. Sorry to hear your Milanos didn’t work out. Thanks for sharing the story though. Your Mallows look hellishly good!
    .-= Little Miss Cupcake´s last blog ..The Marshmallow Test =-.

  6. Louis Price says:

    I love to eat Marshmallows every day he he he.:’:

  7. Jason Rivera says:

    i like to fry marshmallow in an open fire, they taste really great.,.:

  8. Paige Price says:

    i love to roast marshmallows on open fire, they taste great*””

  9. marshmallow tastes so yummy when you put it in a fire””`

  10. […] Daring Bakers July 2009|Mallow(mar)s and Milan(o)s | Bake Like ALeaving a trail of tagged fabric structures across the city of Milan, KRD Research Lab invited both locals and Salone visitors to take part in an experimental guerilla design game by moving fabric elements around the city during the week of the furniture fair. […]

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