I was in the middle of making a batch of Mallow cookies when the realization kind of hit me.
I no longer loathe marshmallows.
For many, this wouldn’t be quite a significant moment. For me, it actually was.
Marshmallows and I had an understanding, you see. I would tolerate them enough to let them swim around in, and thicken up, my Swiss Miss but, otherwise, I didn’t want to see their weird cork shaped bodies. Peeps were given away, out of disgust, at Easter time and Fluffernutters were just not a part of my childhood. Rocky Road was never as appealing as Mint Chocolate Chip in the summer. I was so ambivalent about them that I would even wrinkle my nose at a perfectly toasted campfire marshmallow on a stick. My first S’mores, to my recollection, was had just a few years ago when my sister and nephews came to visit.
My aversion was always a combination of flavor (too sugary) and texture (too spongy). Outside of creating a sugar raft in my hot chocolate their only other purpose, I thought, was to bind together a batch of Rice Krispie treats. They were the bastard, underdeveloped cousin to my beloved nougat and I avoided them, or anything with them, whenever I could.
Then, sometime over the past 8 1/2 years of living in Maine, I stopped detesting them so much (That is not to say that I have openly accepted Peeps into my life, though, because I haven’t. That is one sugary confection I don’t quite get). I can’t quite say that I ever imagined that I would embrace them, let alone be standing in the kitchen pouring boiling, gelatinous simple syrup into a bowl of whipped egg whites. But, there’s something slightly satisfying when you realize that you’ve grown into liking foods that you had such a loathing of when you were younger.
So, here is to the marshmallow and our new understanding of one another.
For the 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
For the marshmallows:
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup
3/4 cup (170 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 whole vanilla bean, split open and seeded
For the chocolate glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil
Prepare the cookies:
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy. Add the eggs and mix until combine. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 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. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
Prepare the marshmallows:
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla seeds and continue whipping until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag.
Prepare the chocolate glaze:
Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.
Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the warm chocolate glaze. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.