The weather outside…

in the Bay area has finally hit a semi-respectable winter weather and has been raining (with even a moment of hail) and ranging from 40s to 50s the past few days. I lived in the Midwest for ten years for undegrad (Go Blue!), work, and then finally grad school (Boiler up!) before moving to the east coast and eventually to the Bay. I am one of those weirdos that loves the first snow fall – well me and Stitchpup. I still think its magical and everything looks so nice for a few days plus it’s warmer too. And then when it turns into ice or black slush, I’m over it – lol. I’m enjoying this weather until it’s time to Crossfit and the bar is too cold and you can’t stay warm. I know I know – #firstworldproblems….

In addition to the holiday season, we had a Cookie Exchange at work this past Monday which turned into competition for Best Tasting, Most Festive, Best Looking, Best Store Bought, Most Unique Flavor. There were 16 entries with four being store bought. There were a lot of great submissions like cranberry shortbread, chocolate peppermint, and chocolate with sea salt and rosemary. My cookie, a Hot Cocoa Cookie with a homemade Marshmallow and Chocolate Ganache, won Best Tasting! I was inspired by the weather and also because I made homemade marshmallows earlier last week for hot chocolate gift bags which were a hit. I’m not a hot chocolate fan but I do associate that with the Winter so why not in cookie form.

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This was a lot of fun to make but it was a 2 day process because I made the marshmallows versus store bought. I am the type of person where if I can make it, I will instead of buying it. Its more fun, fresher, and I know what goes in it. The reason its 2 days is because the marshmallows need to sit over night but they are so easy to make and so much more airy and spongy. A couple of lesson learned – you need to the WHISK attachment and as soon as you stop the whisk to pour it, you need to POUR it out ASAP. If you let it sit in the bowl too long (ie liek 3 minuts), it starts getting sticky and extremely hard to pour out and flatten.

Homemade Marshmallows

adapted from http://altonbrown.com/homemade-marshmallow-recipe/

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Nonstick spray

*I subbed this for 1/4 cup water and 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar

  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. When the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat. (I just turned it off when it started boiling for a minute)
  3. Turn the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows. (I added it in the beginning and towards the end so I don’t think it really matters)
  4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar  and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or knife dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

 

So that is the marshmallows, and now the recipe for the Hot Cocoa Cookies which is a three step process…

Hot Cocoa Cookie

adapted from Glorious Treats

Ingredients

For the cookies…
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

25 (apx.) large marshmallows

For the icing…
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cookies-
1.) In a medium saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl, using 50% power), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
2.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
4.) Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.
5.) While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
6.) Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray for non-stick spray. Use a spoon to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls about size of a ping pong ball. This does not spread out. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets, then flatten slightly. Bake cookies about 12 minutes.
7.) While the cookies bake, cut the marshmallows into 1/2×1/2in squares. When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow (sticky side) into the center of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2-3 minutes. Allow the pan of cookies to cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.
8.) Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing together with a whisk. Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a baking sheet (to catch any excess icing). Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow
9.) Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving.

I hope you guys enjoy!

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