I’ve been thinking about what flavor marshmallow I should make as my inaugural flavor…you know, the one that begins this blogging journey. The first one that came to mind is Cookies and Cream. Why Cookies and Cream? I’ll tell you, it’s in honor of my friend Kris (you know, the one I write about in my ‘About’ section and who is my inspiration for this blog). Kris absolutely loves Oreo cookies…well, let’s be real, who doesn’t love Oreos. Whether you dunk them, twist them apart and scrape the white stuff out with your teeth and then savor the dark chocolate wafer on the outside, there really isn’t anything NOT to like about them. AND, have you seen the flavors they now have? Berry, peanut butter, chocolate, red velvet, mint and the list goes on. I came across some BIRTHDAY CAKE ones that have RAINBOW SPRINKLES inside (which of course I bought while shopping for the ingredients for this blog…they were, after all, buy one get one free, so what’s a girl to do). If that isn’t happiness in a cookie, I’m not sure what is. I mean, HOW can you be in a crappy mood when you have an array of colors staring back at you from the inside of a cookie?
Those who know me are probably rolling their eyes that I am going on and on about a processed cookie in such an affectionate manner as I am a total baker and normally eschew (doesn’t that sound like a sneeze?) processed foods. Over my many decades of living, I have been everything from vegan and raw to only cooking out of Gourmet Magazine and Bon Appetite and everything in-between. Generally I’m known as a fairly healthy eater; HOWEVER, NOW THAT I AM 50, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything works in moderation. So you know, don’t eat the WHOLE BAG of Oreos, maybe just savor one. But I digress.
Back to my Cookies and Cream marshmallows. I wanted to make these in honor of Kris as she is such a ray of sunshine. Honestly, if you are ever down or just want to smile, all you have to do is call or text Kris and she’ll cheer you right up. She is the best storyteller! The best thing is, whenever you want a dose of her, you can just check out her blog at www.sunshineandsavory.com (and also get great easy dinner recipes for your family). As you can see, once I get going, I can blab all day and I easily get distracted and go off on tangents, so time to get focused.
ONTO THE COOKIES AND CREAM MARSHMALLOWS!!
I always start by preparing my 9×13 inch pan with a 12×16 inch sheet of parchment that overhangs about 2 inches on each of the long sides of the pan. Now, don’t get all cray-cray on me and measure the sides…just estimate! Spray the pan generously with cooking spray, lay the parchment on top (I buy my parchment pre-cut/sized from Surface in Los Angeles, but you can purchase on Amazon or sometimes your local market may carry), and spray again with cooking spray. Trust me, if you forget this step, you will NEVER get the marshmallows out of the pan.
First sprinkle four packages of plain gelatin over 3/4 C. water in a large mixer to set for several minutes (if you are a vegan you can substitute powdered agar for the gelatin….I’ve never actually tried this, but understand it is a good substitute).
Next, in a medium heavy bottomed pot, add 3 C. baking sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 1/4 C. corn syrup and 3/4 C water. Mix everything together well and then place over a medium-high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side of your pot. Make sure that your thermometer does NOT touch the bottom of the pot.
The sugar mixture has to come to a soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (238° to be exact). Be patient as if you take it off the flame too early, your marshmallows won’t set up and if you take it off too late, your marshmallows will be too stiff. Keep your eye on the mixture as when it comes to a boil it does tend to boil up and if you don’t turn down the flame, you will have the biggest mess on your stove that will harden quickly and you’ll be cursing me until the end of time. The last couple of degrees to reach the desired temperature takes the longest!
Once the sugar syrup has reached the soft ball stage, add to gelatin mixture and let your mixer rip. In no time you go from this:
To this (about 12 minutes):
Make sure your mixture isn’t too soft…you really can’t overbeat it, so when in doubt, BEAT IT SOME MORE. Add your 2 tsp. of vanilla (I love vanilla bean paste, but you can use standard vanilla extract, too) and whip away until combined.
While your concoction is transforming into the beautiful white marshmallow fluff, chop about 25 Oreos. I also use this time to clean up my pot and utensils with very hot soapy water (reside of the syrup becomes hard very quickly and the longer you wait to clean it up, the more difficult it will be for it to dissolve).
Gently fold in the Oreos to the marshmallow fluff until it is combined.
Finally, use a spatula to scrape into your prepared 9×13 inch pan, making sure to smooth it out on the top. The mixture will be VERY sticky. Set pan aside for at least 3 hours (can be left overnight) for the marshmallows to set.
YAY!!! You are now ready to cut and roll your marshmallows.
Get out a large cutting board, a sharp knife, vegetable oil and two rimmed cookie sheets or baking pans. Pour some of the vegetable oil into a small ramekin or bowl and oil your knife (keep the oil close as you will need to re-oil your knife from time to time to prevent the marshmallows from sticking to the knife).
You also need to create your dark chocolate cookie dust to coat some of your marshmallows. Take about 1/2 package of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and pulse in a food processor until they are very fine. Pour into one of your rimmed cookie sheets or baking pans and set aside.
Put about a cup or so of powdered sugar into one of your cookie sheets and spread it around. Also, dust your cutting board with powdered sugar.
Using the parchment paper, gently lift your marshmallows out of the pan and place on the powdered sugar with the parchment paper on top. Gently remove the parchment paper. Transfer the marshmallow block to your cutting board (you can also opt to just plop the marshmallow directly from the pan onto the cutting board with the parchment paper on top; however, if you do it this way, you will spray your whole counter with powdered sugar…just saying)!
Take your oiled knife and cut your rectangular block of marshmallow into strips. You can cut them to whatever size you’d like. I usually start by cutting the big rectangle down the middle and then cutting each half into either three or four long strips. Then, I cut each strip into a square (can usually get about six marshmallows from each strip). Remember to re-oil your knife periodically to prevent the marshmallows from sticking to it. For these I rolled some in the powdered sugar and some in the chocolate wafer dust.
VOILA – COOKIES AND CREAM MARSHMALLOWS!!
(Click here for full list of ingredients)
See you in the kitchen,
P.S. Here’s a hint to next week’s flavor….I’m thinking it feels a lot like caramel apple season…