Sweetie pies. The sticky stuff of childhood: a vanilla marshmallow heaped on top of a digestive biscuit, and enrobed in chocolate. When I was a kid, I remember them as huge things, the size of a baby’s fist. Just thinking about them can make me break out in a sugar headache. I can barely eat a whole one. When they turned up on the Daring Bakers challenge for July, I wondered what the hell I was going to do with two dozen of them.
This is what:
a) Eat an embarrassing number of them in the name of testing the marshmallow-setting process.
b) Present them to family members and friends with coffee.
c) Don’t take no for an answer.
d) Send people home with three or four wrapped in a paper serviette.
e) Don’t take no for an answer.
f) Eat even more of them.
g) Marvel that your jeans still fit.
h) If all else fails, take them along to your tango class, and win the appreciation of future dance partners.
Perhaps I should have made the Milan Cookies (the other bit of the challenge, which I didn’t get round to). But hey, now I can say that I’ve made marshmallow at least once in my life. (I also messed up two potfuls of sugar syrup, and still don’t quite have a handle on the so-called soft-ball stage of cooking sugar, but this is a process, right? I have a sugar thermometer now. That’s a thing.)
Picture below: marshmallow cookies setting on their little biscuits. The texture of these things is outrageous. You have to whip them til you think you can whip no more. I mean, even with an electric hand whisk, my mom and I had to take turns. SM queens (and you know who you are), even you would find this a challenge. But in the end, they do thicken sufficiently to pipe them out, and then the piped things take on a remarkable light, puffy texture, which, despite unbelievable stickiness on the inside, is not actually sticky to the outside touch.
And the next picture was taken halfway through the chocolate dipping process. I quickly gave up dipping the entire thing in chocolate, as I didn’t think the underside needed a thick layer of chocolate. The top-dipped effect was great. Surprisingly, the end product wasn’t as wildly sweet as you might expect. The shortbread was light and a bit cinnamony, and the marshmallow sticky but not hella sugary. So the overall effect, while not something I’d repeat in a hurry, was actually fairly delightful. I certainly felt I’d earned the title of Daring Baker by the end of it, though.