Today is the day! The big reveal day of the 2012 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap! Participating was so much fun. Today, December 12, there are almost 600 bloggers posting about their cookie swap recipe. Be sure to check out the entire list on The Little Kitchen and Love and Olive Oil. Somehow, those hard working ladies plan to have thumbnail photos and links to all of the cookie swap recipes up by this Friday. I had the pleasure of receiving cookies from three talented bakers. Sara from Solid Gold Eats sent peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies. Audra from The Baker Chick sent chocolate peppermint candy cane cookies. TammyJo from The Chocolate Cult sent chocolate dipped acorn cookies. Thank you so much, ladies. All were delicious! I encourage everyone to check out their sites where the recipes are posted.
I spent weeks trying to figure out what recipe I was going to make. Being realistic and considering my limitations never entered into my thought process. According to the swap rules, the recipe had to be something I had not posted about previously (not too hard considering how new this blog is). According to The Monday Box theme, the recipe had to have care package potential, in other words, travel well and taste delicious for at least 5 days. I decided on homemade Chocolate Marshmallow Mallomar cookies.
At first, my intention was that every step of the process would be homemade. I planned on making the graham cracker cookie base, homemade marshmallow topping, and then temper some chocolate to pour over the top. “Over the top” may be the operative words here. All good and fine for me to be willing to make these, but how many Monday Box readers were really looking to spend days and days prepping one cookie recipe. First, out went the homemade marshmallows. Under all that chocolate, who was going to taste homemade vs. packaged marshmallow? Making the cookie base was easy and I had every intention of learning how to temper the chocolate for the covering.
Tempering is a method of heating and melting chocolate so that it will solidify into a shiny, crisp confection. It turns out that tempering chocolate is rather tricky. If I wrote my recipe summarizing my chocolate tempering experience it would go something like this: Buy 2 pounds of chocolate at Trader Joes. Attempt to temper. Fail. Failed chocolate “blooms” with white snowflake looking spots. Throw them out. Decide the problem is the quality of chocolate. Buy 1 pound of Valrhona chocolate. Attempt to temper. Fail. Failed chocolate also doesn’t harden for a very long time (if ever).Throw it out. Bring in the most experienced chocolate friend you know.( My friend Ora tried so hard to pass her expertise on to me. I even used a fancy digital candy thermometer.) Fail again. Tastes good but looks ugly. Throw it out. Ok, I’ve admitted before to being obsessive but at this point I had to give up on tempering. Even if I did get it to work on attempt 6 or 7, I couldn’t possibly recommend the experience to others. So, I gave up and used chocolate candy coating. No, candy coating doesn’t taste like Valrhona chocolate. But I will tell you what is does do. It melts like a dream in the microwave. It covers the cookies in a smooth even coating which quickly sets up shiny and hard after 15 minutes in the fridge. The next day (and numerous days after that) the cookies still looks as pretty as the day you dipped them. Best of all, combined with the marshmallow and graham cracker, it tastes really good.
Changing the color of the decorating candy could make these cookies a special addition to all kinds of care packages or holiday cookie trays. Think red/green for Christmas, blue/white for Chanukah, orange/black for Halloween, any school color or favorite color for a birthday or graduation. Most people, however, don’t need a special occasion to eat chocolate. So feel free to skip the zig-zags or zig-zag in contrasting colored chocolate.
The finished product is a very sturdy cookie. I packaged my swap cookies like bonbons, sitting individually on cupcake papers in a tissue paper lined box. For shipping, I encased the box in plastic to help keep the cookies fresh. As always the keys to shipping cookies are to be sure the cookies can’t move at all in their container and to pad the container inside the shipping box.
Chocolate Marshmallow (Mallomar) Cookies
Graham Crackers adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich
1 ¾ cups whole wheat graham flour (I used Hodgson Mills)
½ cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour (or ½ C + 1 T rolled oats ground fine in food processor)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Large or jumbo marshmallows (cut in half)
1 lb Chocolate candy coating discs (light or dark)
Colored candy coating discs for decorating
- In a food processor add flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Pulse to combine.
- Add butter cubes. Pulse until crumbly mixture forms.
- In a bowl mix milk, honey, and vanilla.
- Add the liquid to the flour mixture in the food processor. Pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm. (about 30 minutes) (Can be left overnight)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place between the sheets of parchment.
- Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment.
- Use a 1.75” circle cookie cutter to cut out rounds of dough and place on prepared baking sheet about 1” apart. (scraps can to reused)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown with light brown edges. Remove from oven.
- Place marshmallows, cut side down on graham cracker circles. Return to oven for about 2 minutes until marshmallows are soft
- Remove from oven and use a spatula to slightly flatten each marshmallow.
- Cool completely on wire racks.
- Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.
- Melt chocolate discs in a microwave safe bowl.
- Using a fork and large spoon, place a marshmallow cookie in the chocolate. Turn to coat. Lift on the fork and let excess chocolate drip off.
- Place the cookie on the wax paper lined cookie sheet.
- When all of the cookies have been dipped, place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator until the coating is set, about 15 minutes.
- Decorating colors of candy discs can be melted inside of a plastic decorating bag or a plastic sandwich bag. Microwave (10-15 second intervals) the a handful of discs until liquid.
- Cut off a tiny opening at the tip of the bag. Zig-zag colored stripes over the cookies.
- Return the cookie sheets to the refrigerator for another 15 minutes to set the decorating candy coating.
- Store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature for at least 1 week.
Packing tips: Place cookies in an airtight container. Separate layers of cookies with wax paper. Fill the container completely with cookies and/or tissue paper to keep cookies from moving at all. Mail padded (again to prevent movement) inside a shipping box. I olnly recommend mailing these cookies to and from cooler weather.