(Ph)ood


Homemade Marshmallows with Dark Chocolate and Graham Cracker Crumbs
September 14, 2010, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Desserts | Tags: , ,

Simplicity.  A tactic for the masses, but something that few actually execute.  Instead, complexity and stress remain the norm.  Family, friends, school, work, and extracurriculars accumulate, but alas, only 24 hours remain in a day.  I by no means am different.  A typical day juggles the attention that I need to give my work, my dog, my friends, my athletic aspirations, my cooking, and occasionally myself.  The specifics of each activity could be described, but thankfully I will not bore you with such dreary and occasionally outlandish details.  I have made an attempt recently to move away from the complex and towards the uncomplicated.  Not necessarily attempting to live like the Amish or a monk, but rather removing the unnecessary clutter from the things I like to do.

As I have moved through my twenties I have been consumed with the idea that the more complex the task, the more sophisticated and impressive the result.  Completely incorrect.  I have learned this lesson several times over during graduate school, my current research, my athletic endeavors, and especially cooking.  Instead of developing and producing the sophisticated and impressive I have developed chaos and mediocrity.  Realizing my mistake I took a step back, hit the reset button and re-evaluated my situation.  I still commit time to all that I hope to accomplish, but this time I prioritize and do things to a level that still produces excellent results, but at a level that does not require 35 hours to complete in a 24 hour day.  It truly has enhanced my well-being and achievements.

Cooking is one of the realms of my life that has required re-evaluation and simplification.  Early on while watching chefs cook on television or seeing spectacular pictures and recipes in magazines, namely Bon Appetite and Gourmet, I instantly imagined that I could reproduce their success in the kitchen.  Not once did I remind myself that my culinary experiences at the time solely consisted of perfecting Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese.  I was nowhere near the level of these television and magazine chefs.  I had some success, but also had lots of failures.  Soon thereafter I learned a valuable lesson in cooking: To simplify my experiences, keeping in mind that even the most simple recipes and ideas can have sophisticated looks and tastes.  That is what brought me to my newest and perhaps most successful recipe to date.  Its one of the most simple recipes I have made, but it also has the most unbelievable taste.  A homemade marshmallow with dark chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.  It is as simple as Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese, but as sophisticated or gourmet as a cover photo on Bon Appetite.

Homemade Marshmallows with Dark Chocolate and Graham Cracker Crumbs (Based on FoodPornDaily, marshmallow recipe from Smitten Kitchn)

The marshmallows were the easiest things to make.  Literally throwing ingredients into a pot, heating them to excessively hot temperatures (~240 degrees), and then mixing.  A nice stand mixer is key to the ease, but is not impossible with a handheld mixer (only a tad more  labor-intensive). 

The marshmallow batter is poured into a medal pan oiled with butter and dusted with powdered sugar.  Keep them in the refrigerator for 3 hours  to overnight, then cut into marshmallows of desired size and cover with powdered sugar to prevent them from being sticky.  I consistently get 75-85 marshmallows.

Use a double broiler, or in my case, a bowl placed in a pot of boiling water, to gently melt the chocolate.  I used Ghirardelli 60% cocao, but obviously feel free to use whatever.   For the graham cracker crumbs I melted a few tablespoons of butter and mixed in the graham cracker crumbs.  Doing so allows for larger pieces of graham cracker to sit atop the chocolate covered marshmallow.

I dipped each marshmallow in chocolate.  After about every 10-15 marshmallows I would sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the warm chocolate.  The next time I make this recipe I will decrease the ratio of graham cracker crumbs to butter so as to increase the size of the crumb pieces.  Allow to dry.

These delicious treats are best within the day or two after they are made, but can be enjoyed for up to a week (if they last that long!).  Futthermore, they can be easily shared with friends and family regardless if they live next door or across the country.

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