Daring Bakers – Chocolate covered marshmallow cookies

coco marshmallow cookie

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

The challenge for july is my second as a daring baker, and a bit more of a real challenge than my first. I chose to make the marshmallows, because I’ve always wanted to try making that at home, but I never got around to actually do it. But a kick in my ass from the DB was just what I needed. So today, on a lazy Sunday, I made marshallows for the first time! I’m glad I did it today when I had the enitre day free, because it turned out to be quite time consuming. At least for me. But hey, I’m not a pro! It was a little messy, the dough was sticky and there were chocolate all over the kitchen and my legs at one point, but it was worth it when I look at those pretty little things now. They look so sweet!

There were three stages of this challenge.
1: The cookie. 2: The marshmallow. 3: The chocolate.
First I started to make the cookie dough. I reduced the amount to 2/3, because I wanted a smaller cookie to marshmallow ratio. More of the good stuff! The dough making itself was no problem. I wrapped it in cling foil and put it in the fridge. Meanwhile, me and my boyfriend went for a walk. Picked some flowers, spotted some raspberries I had to taste, and when the sun appeared, we had to have ice cream. I was given a giant soft ice, oh man, it was so big, even for me. 15 cm height from the cone? Needless to say lunch was excluded. Back home, the dough was nice and chilled. On a floured surface I started to roll out the dough, trying to get it as thin as possible. This was a problem because the dough stuck to the bench and my fingers. I added more flour, but it was still very sticky. With a whisky glass I cut out small rounds of dough, and did my best to transfer them to a baking sheet, still as a round. After a while a started making balls with my hands and pressing them flat instead. It was just easier. And some time later I had many, many cookies. I think I made about 40 small cookies. I baked them until golden brown, and allowed them to cool on a rack.

not so flat cookies

The marsmallow was a little challenge as well. But after all, it is called daring baker challenge. I replaced the corn syrup with golden syrup, and combined it with water and sugar in a saucepan and brang to the boil. I don’t have a candy thermometer, and really not much experience with candy making, so I didn’t really know exactly when it would reach soft ball stage. I had an idea about how it would look, though, and trusted my instincts. It boiled for a few minutes, but when it started to colour, I removed it from the heat. It had thickened a lot, and was a lot more sirupy then before, but not quite firm enough to shape a ball. But I didn’t want it to caramelize either, so I let it be like that. I added the gelatine and poured this mix and vanilla into my already whipped eggwhites. Then I continued whipping until it would turn stiff. But it wouldn’t. So I added one more eggwhite. Uh uh, still not. I added more gelatine. Noooo. And after some more gelatine I finally saw it starting to thicken, and gradually turning stiff. I transfered it to my dessert decorator (pastry bag) and piped a marshmallow kiss onto each cookie. They looked so sweet at this point and I had just enough marshmallow for my cookies! Hooray! 2 down, 1 to go!

naked marshmallows

The chocolate.
This should be easy enough. Chocolate and oil in a bowl over simmering water. When it was completely melted I was ready to start dipping. I was a little afraid the marhsmallows weren’t stiff enough, and that this would turn out even messier than the cookie dough, but it was no problem at all! They were all stiff, so that was easy peasy. When done, I sprinkled some of them with coco, and waited for the chocolate to set. It was said to take about 1 to 2 hours, but after that time they still weren’t completely set. So I put it in the fridge. It seemed to help, at least as long as they were chilled. Once they reached room temperature they started to melt again. But after all it’s summer, and what’s the problem storing them in the fridge anyway? Fine by me. Nevertheless, I decided to try making them firm. You see, I had a lot of excess chocolate, so I thought I would give them a double dip. I just added some more chocolate, cause I have a feeling I might have used too much oil. So once again, I gave them a little chocolate bath, and put it in the fridge. They seemed a little firmer, but I can’t really say whether they set or not, because I put them in the fridge right away. So with a little extra effort they came out really well! They were so cute, looked quite professional (some of them, anyway) and tasted absolutely delicious.

coconut sprinkled

This was a great challenge that I really loved. Finally I’ve made marshmallows at home. And it wasn’t as hard as I imagined, so I’ll probably make these again. I was a little sick of everything sweet when they finally were done, but the next day they tasted divine. It was the perfect after dinner sweet. Perfect size, just a mouthful. I have a feeling I’ll be munching on these the rest of the evening, and the evenings to come. There’s really no other way. Chocolate covered marshmallows are all I see when I open the frigde. They’re everywhere! And there’s 40 of them. I’ll just have to work my way through everyone of them. Well, I guess worse things could happen.

mallows

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Waleskringle

waleskringle with raspberries

I officially have a lot of berries. When I see ripe good looking berries, I cannot resist. Wherever or whenever. (In the words of Shakira) Today I went to the mountains to pick blueberries, but on the way I found myself a new raspberry place, with so much berries, I simply couldn’t pass them. I was there for about an hour, before heading to my main goal, the blueberries. But more raspberries came my way, and I was delayed again. And to make a long story short; a couple of liters later, I was on my way home. Carrying a plastic bag with blueberries, an ice cream box with raspberries and a large cookie box with red currants in my backpack. Blue fingered and with lots of mosquito bites. But we all know sacrifices must be made to have quality jam and desserts.

I somehow managed to store most of it in the freezer, but that also meant taking out a few things. Amongst other this waleskringle that I made for 17. mai, the Norwegian national day. Waleskringle is basically puff pastry and cream puffs but together with some kind of filling. Why it’s called Waleskringle I don’t know. Maybe it has its origin in Wales..? Anyway, today was a nice day to eat it, cause I could pair it up with some fresh berries. I already had 2 boxes of storebought raspberries in my fridge waiting. And now I have 2 more liters of handpicked raspberries and red currants plus 3 liters of blueberries. Oh, the possibilities. But first I have to eat my way through what I already have. Puh! But this is a nice place to start, a lovely summer dessert/cake. My mom always used to make this for my birthday with strawberries. It’s simple but beautiful, and you can fill it with whatever you like. Whipped cream, custard, whipped cream with fresh fruit or berries, jam, rum whipped cream, pastry cream or chocolate. But the classic, like I went for today is whipped cream and custard, dusted with icing sugar. I just had to fill it since it was already made, but here’s what you do from scratch.

Ingredients
2 sheets of puff pastry
2 1/2 dl water
1/4 teaspoon salt
125 g butter
125 g flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 200 C
(It’s important not to take the cream puffs out of the oven too early, because they will collapse.)
Roll out the puff pastry and cut out a kringle, a ring or another shape onto the baking sheet, and prick dotts with a fork.

Bring the water to the boil under a lid. Add salt and butter and allow to melt. Turn down the heat then tip in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan, stop beating and tip onto a plate to cool. Return the mixture to the pan, then gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition, until you have a smooth paste.

Fill the choux pastry in a piping bag with a starshaped nozzle and pipe roses onto the rolled out puff pastry.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Don’t open the door before it’s done, or it will fall together. Cool on a rack.

Cut it in half and fill with cream and custard (or your chosen filling) right before serving. Dust with powdered sugar. Or powdered sugar frosting. That’s good too. Randomly sprinkle some berries over and around, and you’re there. Enjoy the sight and have yourself a slice.

Melt in your mouth scones

scones

When I served these scones to my very scone-loving friend yesterday, the first thing she said was – Well, first there was a mmm-sound, but the second thing she uttered was: They really melt in your mouth! (Or literally, she said melt on your tongue, because that’s what we say in Norway) Little did she know that this recipe was actually named “Melt in your mouth scones”. So, I guess that leaves me no other choice than calling them that, though I feel I steal the heading from it’s origin. But, at least I’ve explained myself.

I found the recipe at savorysweetlife, and after one look at that picture, there was no going back. It looked divine, like the rest of the photos there. A really beautiful blog that’s become a recent favourite of mine. And now that I have all this raw jam, this was perfect. It didn’t take long either. Within 30 minutes you can take a bite into these babies. I haven’t made scones for many many years, because I get my supply from work. And I’ve been thinking they are the best, so why bother making my own? Well, I’m glad I did. They were so delicious, and with a completely different texture. Light and crumbly and let’s net forget, they melt in your mouth. Say it with me! Melt in your mouth! Ok, I think you’re ready. I think you got it by now. Make these scones, bring out your best china, serve them with jam, butter or cream and a cup of tea, and feel them melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:
4,5 dl flour
1 ts baking powder
4 ts sugar
1/2 ts salt
4 ts cold butter
1,7 dl heavy cream
1 egg slightly beaten
1 ts vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200 C. Put flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter in a food processor. Pulsate everything for a few seconds, until everything resembles course meal. Transfer everything to a large bowl and stir in the heavy cream, egg and vanilla. Mix together until the dough is slightly sticky, but dry enough to be rolled out. On a floured surface roll out the dough and cut in desired shapes. I rolled it out, cut it in 10 pieces (though it was meant to be 16, but they must have been miniature scones) and made little squares with my hands. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, but not for too long. They are best served while still warm. Especially paired with a thick layer of homemade jam and whipped cream. It’s allright, there’s hardly any sugar in them, so you need to even it out. Enjoy!

scones and tea

Raw strawberry jam

stirred strawberries

I like oldfashioned things. I like to do things in an oldfashioned way. I’m an old woman trapped in a young body… I love to cook, bake and make things. So with all this in mind, there’s no surprice that I like the idea of preserving fruits and berries for later use. In a few weeks strawberry season will be over, and that was that. At the end of each season I always feel I should have eaten more. So to make summer last into winter, I made raw jam. Uncooked stirred strawberries with sugar. My mother always makes that when the berries are at their peak, at their sweetest and cheapest, so we can have the luxury of homemade jam for the holidays or a random rainy weekend when summer seems so far away. And now I’m making my first batch of jam. This is actually the only jam I eat, I’m not a big jam-eater otherwise, but this is the real deal. It tastes of summer and berries, sweet but yet fresh. I used the recipe at the pectin bag as a starting point, but you really just have to taste and experience what works, I guess. However, it tasted delicious, so if you’re a first timer like me, here’s the measures I used:

Strawberry jam
1 kg strawberries
150 g sugar
30 g pectin

Originally the recipe calls for 250 g sugar and 100 g pectin, but this was sweet enough for me! It depends on the ripeness of the berries too. I reduced the amount of pectin as well, because I didn’t want to taste it.

Remove the stalks from the berries, and cut into pieces. But in a bowl, and mash them together with a fork, or put them in a food processor if you want a smooth jam without whole pieces of berries. I, however, like chunks of berries, so I just mashed them with a fork. In another bowl mix the sugar and pectin to prevent lumps. Add the mixture to the berries, and stir well. Pour the jam into plastic boxes or glasses and freeze. Or put in the fridge if you want some of that lovely jam right away. And you probably want after you’ve had a taste. Luckily this recipe makes enough jam for now and for later! I’m set!

my strawberry preseves

Norwegian strawberry fields forever

Perfect strawberry

strawberries

I don’t really have much to say but this. Norwegian strawberries are the best. May sound a little too patriotic or nationalistic but it’s a fact. Maybe not a proven fact, but a fact nevertheless. They say it’s because of the slow process of maturation, changing weather with a lot of rain and a long time to develop a sweet sweet summer taste. Whatever it is, it’s good. And there’s no better way to enjoy them than picking them and eating as you go by. And with this unbelievable hot weather a lot of strawberries were red and ready to be eaten when me and my boyfriend were at his country house last weekend. And man were they tasty! The juiciest sweetest berries you can imagine. We started to eat the strawberries right there in the bed, but we soon realized we needed a bowl, they were too many. And then we enjoyed them on the terrace, simply as they were, no sugar added, watching the sun set into the light Norwegian summer night.

picking berries