Peanut Butter Marshmallows with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
I remember being in elementary school longingly staring at my best friend’s lunch….a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich on Wonder bread with the crusts cut off. As I looked dejectedly at my whole wheat tuna fish sandwich (with the crusts left on…because my Mom said all the nutrients were in the crust!) and my bag of carrot sticks, I wondered what it would be like to have a lunch filled with a heavenly sandwich like hers nestled between an individual sized bag of potato chips and yes, a Ho Ho®, Ding Dong® or Twinkie®. It seemed as if you just couldn’t have a bad day with a lunch like hers. I did love when once a week I got half of a fruit roll in my lunch. It was such fun to wrap it around my finger and savor the flavor. And, I do have to hand it to my Mom, she did teach me good eating habits and made sure that when we did have a special treat, that it was made from scratch with good quality ingredients. Still, I won’t lie, I have not quite gotten over my fascination with Hostess products….so much so that just the other week I made homemade ‘Twinkies’ with my 13 year old and have been known to make a vegan knockoff of a Hostess Cupcake (thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance). I think Sno Balls should be the next thing I experiment with…I mean, they do, after all have marshmallow around them!
Once again, I am rambling! Back to this week’s variety of marshmallow. These are dedicated to my dear friend Lori. She and her family have made a few flavor recommendations and I’m so excited to accommodate their requests. I would do anything for Lori…she is that type of friend. We should all have someone like Lori in our life. You know, the friend that you laugh until you cry or pee your pants and she just hands you a Depends. One that has your back no matter what and never judges you. Lori is hilarious…..like Lucille Ball funny….just thinking about some of her stories makes me chuckle.
Anyway, several years ago she wanted me to play around with making a peanut butter marshmallow. Peanut butter is one of her dad’s favorites and it also happens to be one of my husband’s favorites as well. Back then I didn’t have time to develop a recipe, but last week I was completely inspired. I knew I’d have to use Skippy peanut butter instead of the usual all natural kind my hubby eats because when you make sweets with peanut butter, it can be kind of tricky. If you use the all natural kind, you sometimes run into strange oil separation issues and I didn’t want to take any chances. As I was perusing the grocery store aisles, I also spotted some Skippy peanut butter bites. I thought, ‘what the heck’ and grabbed a couple containers and threw them in my cart along with a jar of Planter’s unsalted peanuts. I figured I’d cut the peanut butter bites in half and mix into the finished peanut butter marshmallow and then roll some of them in chopped up peanuts.
Selfishly, I decided to add a dark chocolate drizzle to the marshmallows because that is such a natural flavor combination. I was raised on the commercial that shows one person holding a chocolate bar and the other walking with a jar of peanut butter…they collide and the next thing you know, the chocolate bar is in the peanut butter and voila….’two great tastes that taste great together.’ If I’m not a walking example of the power of marketing, I don’t know who is! I have to admit that these are my favorite marshmallows to date! Not overly sweet, with just the right peanut butter flavor and the chocolate adds a little something extra.
Here’s to you, Lori!
As always, start by spraying a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and line with a 12×16 inch sheet of parchment that overhangs about 2 inches on each of the long sides of the pan. Then, spray the parchment with cooking spray, too.
First sprinkle four packages of plain gelatin over 3/4 C. water in a large mixer to set for several minutes.
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. Once the mixture is stiff enough, add 1 C. Skippy peanut butter and mix until it is blended well.
While the peanut butter is being whirled into the marshmallow, cut each Skippy peanut butter bite in half and measure out 1 1/2C. of peanut butter bite halves.
Mix the peanut butter bites into your peanut butter marshmallow mixture by hand (if you use your mixer, it may break up the peanut butter bites) and spread the mixture into your prepared 9×13 inch pan. Let it set for at least 3 hours.
While the marshmallows are setting up, coarsely chop about 1 1/2C. unsalted peanuts (I like to use my Krups mini-chopper to speed up the process). Put your chopped up nuts on a plate.
Also, get out two 10×14 inch rimmed baking sheets and place a sheet of parchment paper on each (you can also use waxed paper). This will make it easier to drizzle chocolate on some of your rolled 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). Alternatively, you can spray your knife with cooking spray and repeat as necessary. 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 dusted cutting board with the parchment paper on top. Gently remove the parchment paper.
Cut the marshmallows into strips and roll either in the powdered sugar on the cutting board
or in the chopped peanuts.
Place your cut and rolled marshmallows on the rimmed baking sheets.
Place about 1 C. of any dark chocolate chips that you like in a ramekin. I happen to like Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips. Slowly melt in a microwave (I usually do 20 seconds at a time on power 3, stir and then repeat until I get a smooth consistency). You can also use a double boiler for this, but I admit, I was too lazy to mess with all of that.
While the chocolate is still hot, take a fork, scoop some up and wave back and forth over your marshmallows. I also added a few chopped peanuts on top of the chocolate for an extra flair. (Tip: If you have extra melted chocolate, just mix in a bunch of nuts or dried fruit and spread out on a piece of waxed paper to dry. Once dry, break up and put in an air tight container in the refrigerator)
Wait for the chocolate to dry and then box and bag up for gifts or
just pop in your mouth!
(Click here for full list of ingredients)
See you in the kitchen,
Chief Marshmallow Officer (CMO)
P.S. Next up…..maple and ???