Over Christmas my eldest daughter and I pulled out all the usual ingredients to make that classic holiday fudge. You know the one. (The recipe is on the back of the marshmallow fluff jar.) I discovered I had many many marshmallows and not enough fluff for the amount of fudge I wanted to make. I admit I usually stock my cupboards and drawers with the things I prefer to use in baking. I'm encouraged to make things by sell-by dates at times.
So being the kitchen wizz that I am (haha), I decided to see what would happen if we used marshmallows instead of the fluff. Couldn't be too different right? Right?
(I still don't know the answer to that question.)
Somehow there was either a miscommunication or a miscalculation, but we ended up with something that in NO way resembled fudge. First off, I was making it with white chocolate chips. I was using 1/2 for vanilla and I turn the other 1/2 into peppermint fudge which then gets topped with regular semi-sweet fudge once it's set.
Trying to actually mix it all was an adventure. Apparently the outer layer of a marshmallow is designed to withstand any heat source aside from open flame. Even molten sugar was no match for the little buggers. Oh sure you can pop them in the microwave and melt them from the inside out like when you make your average Krispie Treats, but we don't have a microwave. (Boy that's a long story right there.)
Once I managed to get it relatively smooth I covered it and left it in the garage (our 2nd fridge in the winter!) to cool checking on it occasionally. The physical properties of the mass changed at least twice during the cooling process. Eventually what we were left with was a sort of soft but chewy candy that is insanely versatile.
It left me thinking and brought us to our Valentine's experiment.
|Black Raspberry, Chocolate covered, and Peppermint.|
My daughter has named this Messed Up Mochi - I didn't put any rice in it, I swear. I, however, have yet to name it. The only names we can come up with are based on the secret messed up ingredient -- Marshmallow. Shhh, don't tell!
Thankfully I knew exactly what had gone wrong. We actually tried to recreate this using Caramel and Strawberry marshmallows over New Years too. I made the error of thinking during that process and it turned out too soft to hold much of a shape. We just poured it in sheet pans and pulled off squares like taffy. I think there's still some in the fridge, but it's funky. For the Valentine batch I went back to blindly following my initial mistake and it turned out perfectly.
I have a tiny scoop (size 100) that I use to occasionally make cookie bites. It's a daunting task, but oh so cute and they get lots of praise. Anyway, it's the perfect size for little candies so my thought was to scoop and dip them in chocolate. And not just melted down chocolate chips like I've always done before, but real tempered chocolate.
(We'll have a class on the difference someday, I promise.)
First, I love how they look like little scoops of ice cream. I love ice cream almost as much as cookies so these just tickle me silly.
I let this cool completely before scooping. Probably a bad idea. Maybe I just don't like scooping, maybe it will be different while still partly warm. My arm was a little sore and there's more left. Next time, I'm thinking one word: P-i-p-i-n-g.
I've never been a fan of the hand dipping process either. I'm hoping to acquire some molds at some point. It will make that piping thing even easier. Especially for high volume projects. Of course, a tempering machine is on my wish list too, so if you're looking to buy me a gift, let me thank you in advance! Free chocolates for life!
As for the tempering, the picture below will show you I either did not temper properly, or it was because I always start with the most difficult process first. I have temperature guidelines for milk or semi-sweet chocolate.
The bloom was more evident on some pieces because of the temperature change while dipping. I didn't keep a close enough eye on my thermometer. Some of them were just fine, others looked like this.
Most of them did have that tempered "snap" I was hoping to achieve. A sign of a quality chocolate and handling process. Yes, I just gave my own candies a thumbs up. Don't worry though, I've not yet reached my opinion of perfection, which means there is plenty of room for further trials (and errors!).
For now, we're still trying to decide how many of my personal recipes to share. There is this argument that if I'm eventually going to be trying to sell something, but you can make it yourself at home, then what's the point of paying me to make it for you? It's a terrible dilemma because I don't keep secrets very well.
One idea was to build a recipe book someday soon and sell that! After all, you don't have to have a certified kitchen to sell a book about food!