Monthly Archives: May 2013

Things I’m thinking about: Weekend of May 31

Some awesome things I’m thinking about for this weekend:

Next week I’ll start Play With Your Food on Monday, which will be every Monday for the month of June. If you’re playing along, scrounge up some dice and get ready to confuse the heck out of whoever is living with you with Monday’s warmup. Or your cat. (Cats make great godzilla substitutes for macro photos. Just a suggestion.)

Six Strawberries, one of my favorite local dessert trucks, is having a launch party tomorrow in Ballard at The Canal. Way back in January (though it feels like ages ago) I combined their pops with Dry Soda and I’m amazed Will and Vanessa still want to let me near their treats. They rock, their ice pops rock, and you should totally come see what they’re up to for the summer season.

The s’mores ice cream from ART Restaurant, which I need to eat more of soon:

ART-sundae

Creme brulee cupcakes from The Baker Chick, which look crazy delicious and I love that she made a pastry cream instead of vanilla pudding, which seems to be the default for brulee cupcake variations.

The Salmon Chanted Evenings have been posted for 2013, and there are only two – June 29 and August 17. I don’t know if I can attend either, but it’s one of the best dinner experiences on the cheap in Seattle: $20 gets you a crazy delicious salmon meal at Pike Place Market, hosted by Tom Douglas himself. Worth. It.

That it is crazy awesome hiking weather, and you should all go outside. Even if it’s only to walk to the new Bakery Nouveau on the hill and then go puppy viewing. Which I may or may not end up doing with a top hat on.

Marshmallow May: French toast and deconstructed s’mores

This is a series for a collaboration between Kiri Callaghan, me, and our helpful friends at Theo Chocolate and Guimauve Confections. We regret nothing except that the marshmallows disappeared all too quickly. (Kiri will be taking the reins in June.)

This is turning into S’mores Week 2013. I accept this.

I had all these grand plans for terrines and panna cotta and maybe even ice cream, but I’ve learned that homemade or artisan mallows tend to work best in only two forms: toasted or plain. The other issue is that I have a kilo of cocoa powder on order that hasn’t arrived yet. As much as I love buying dessert components for fun, I couldn’t convince myself to go get more right this second when I was about to receive that much. Also, I have enough Valrhona, but mixing chocolates for this week didn’t seem like the best idea when I was working with Theo.

ginger-mallow

It just means I’ll have to go all out on the marshmallow franken-desserts another week.

Since I still had a ton of marshmallows, and there were bars of chocolate and leftover ingredients begging to be eaten, I decided it was time for deconstructed s’mores.

First, for both I used the Theo Congo Vanilla-Nib chocolate, because those batons had that sweet-savory combo going on that I felt could hold its own against the glory that is french toast cradling a marshmallow.

Being the sane person that I am, I started by toasting the challah sticks then plating them with the s’mores ‘toppings.’ It was tasty, but I felt like I was losing so much… potential.

french-toast-mallow-6

The challah did support the chocolate and marshmallow, with enough crunch to let you know they weren’t completely outstaged. And you could also taste them clearly even in the sugar onslaught, but that’s probably because I toasted them with the best butter in the kitchen (well, the only butter in the kitchen), giving them a mellow eggy, buttery finish.

Then I went and made a small batch of french toast batter and went to town. I used Chow’s recipe, as it looked idiotproof and I was tired. Next time, I’d add cinnamon or brown sugar, or maybe even white pepper or nutmeg, because it was a bit on the mild side.

french-toast-mallow

Next I constructed the french toast mallow, and it was a glorious piece of goo. I mean, it looked messy when I first started photographing, but then I tried to cut it with a fork.

french-toast-mallow-2

Sweet. Holy. Saccharine. This should never be placed in front of a five year old if you want any of the fabric in your house to survive the night.

I would make this again with a more flavorful french toast recipe, because while the chocolate totally held its own, some spices would have made it phenomenal. Instead the french toast only served as a vehicle for the delicious, delicious contents with no real voice of its own.

Both need revamping to come back to my kitchen. With the french toast I’d spice it up like mad, or maybe go as far as making a cinnamon dough so it would stand out on its own. For the challah sticks I’d probably dunk them in cinnamon sugar and include more of them in the final dish. Still, challah is a seriously awesome s’mores vehicle, and one I need to use more often.

Marshmallow May: Variations on a Theme of S’mores

This is a series for a collaboration between Kiri Callaghan, me, and our helpful friends at Theo Chocolate and Guimauve Confections. We regret nothing except that the marshmallows disappeared all too quickly. (Kiri will be taking the reins in June.)

Since I apparently hadn’t had my fill of s’mores yet from the other day, I decided to start experimenting.

coconut-smores-7

At this point I had already handed off the rest of the Guimauve Confections to Kiri, who’s working on her own magic at her blog. Yet I still had all this tasty, tasty Theo Chocolate to play with, so I did what anyone with free time and a kitchen that has been clean for too long would do: I made a batch of marshmallows. (I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, since I’ve made it before, but David Lebovitz’s version also looks tasty.)

S’mores get limited to the equation of chocolate + vanilla mallow + store bought graham crackers way too often, so I decided to at least play with the carb portion of the equation. I somehow decided I wanted to use brioche, but I instead found a loaf of challah, which is a pretty awesome bread in its own right. I also picked up some chocolate and ginger wafers, because they sounded tasty.

Then it was time to experiment.

coconut-smores-macro

But before I get to the s’mores, I have to say that you need to make these marshmallows by themselves. Even if none of my ideas appeal to you, they’re gooey, puffy wonderfulness. Expect to wreck anything you touch once they’re toasted, or use chopsticks to try to prevent the inevitable, but I still think they’re worth it. They’re also fantastic right out of the microwave in molten goo form.

coconut-smores

The first variation used toasted challah squares, which I topped with raspberry jam, coconut chips, and a square of Theo’s 70% coconut. This ended up being a gooey mass of marshmallow, with hints of the crunchy coconut chips, crispy bread, and chocolate peeking out from the molten center. I could almost consider it healthy with the antioxidants and all, but the marshmallow kind of wrecked that idea.

Next I worked with the wafers. Before I began construction, I broke up one of the chocolate wafers into crumbs, then put them in a bowl and coated a freshly toasted marshmallow with them.

ginger-mallow-4

They didn’t stick all that well, but it worked enough for me. Next time, I’ll just have to make a sundae with them.

Once the marshmallow was prepped, I smooshed it between two ginger wafers and a chunk of Theo’s Cherry & Almond, because the idea of ginger, cherry, and chocolate sounded delicious. And it was lovely.

ginger-mallow-3

The wafers, though thin, didn’t shatter everywhere, and the balance of flavors was mellow and sweet, with a light ginger finish. I didn’t taste much of the almonds, but the cherry came through every few bites as kind of a chewy surprise.

Honestly, both were awesome. I think I liked the challah version slightly more, as each bite was different than the last. Some were jam heavy, others really crunchy, and all held together by chocolate and marshmallow. But the chocolate/cherry/ginger action from the wafer s’mores was delicious, and slightly less messy, even with the cookie coating. Maybe I’ll just give up and have a s’mores toast-off this summer and see which comes out on top.

Marshmallow May: Strawberry-Black Pepper Mallows and mishaps

This is a series for a collaboration between Kiri Callaghan, me, and our helpful friends at Theo Chocolate and Guimauve Confections. We regret nothing except that the marshmallows disappeared all too quickly.

Once I saw that Guimauve Confections had sweet-savory marshmallows like Strawberry and Black Pepper, I had to try making them into rice crispy treats. I had this grand plan of introducing the world to grown up treats, ones more amazing than even the glorious salted brown butter crispy treats that have won my whole house over.

Guimauve-Theo-strawberry

Now I admit, the Guimauve team warned me that their marshmallows are best plain or toasted. And I probably should have heeded their warning, but there’s only so much excitement you can hold back for strawberry-black pepper rice crispies, people. Also, I’ve made crispy treats with homemade marshmallows before and they did work, though they were softer than I was used to from store bought mallows. Still, I had to attempt it for the sake of science. And my stomach.

First, the marshmallows themselves: they’re delicate, the pepper hitting as the end note on the tip of the tongue. The strawberry, even in roasted form, is a gentle flavor, almost floral.

Making them honestly went about as well as I could have expected: messily. And they were just as soft and sticky as I had predicted – it stuck to everything, even after I coated my hands in butter to try and form the treat mixture into balls. It was about as delicate as making full marshmallows from scratch, which usually ends with my finding mallow streaks in my hair a few hours later.

Guimauve-Theo-6

I would not make crispy treats with these mallows again, but next time I would totally try layering normal treats with toasted chunks of mallow. The finished product was really delicate, chewy, and lightly strawberry, which meant the flavor of the butter shined through alongside the marshmallow. (I have never been so glad my butter stash is delicious.) But it was a lot effort for a treat that really needed more of an impact. Drizzling the Theo 70% Dark Chocolate on top for “dark chocolate dipped strawberries” helped, but it was still mostly dark chocolate with a light, crispy marshmallow finish.

What I’d love to do soon is make rice crispy treats with freeze dried strawberry powder and freshly ground peppercorns, or move more into savory treats, which I’m working on for an upcoming post.

Since that didn’t quite work, I went back to the drawing board and made strawberry and chocolate panini. I kept with the Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, as I wanted something to balance the sweetness, and grilled everything in some white bread Chris had made this morning because it was the only bread in the house. (Thankfully it was low on the sourdough notes this dough usually gets, or it would have been one tough sandwich to swallow.)

Guimauve-panini

They were delicious – grilled bread on chocolate is always a classic, and toasting brought out the strawberry flavor more to work with the dark chocolate into something gooey and beautiful. I’d love to try adding peanut butter for a dessert variation on the grilled PB&J. This is what these marshmallows shine in, but I don’t regret trying the crispy treats out – they were still delicious in both forms. I’ll just have to be even more adventurous next time.

Marshmallow May: Meta-S’mores

This is a series for a collaboration between Kiri Callaghan, me, and our helpful friends at Theo Chocolate and Guimauve Confections. We regret nothing except that the marshmallows disappeared all too quickly.

Back in February for my very first test of Guimauve Confections, I made inside-out s’mores with their Neapolitan marshmallows, which are delicious, but also ridiculously messy. These mallows, once roasted, are gooey, near-liquid flavor bombs held together by the thinnest of crispy sugar shells. Great when you’re eating them solo, not so great when you’re trying to hold things between them and not wreck your clothing.

Guimauve-neapolitan

Would absolutely make them again, only I’d eat them with chopsticks. And have a hoard of damp washcloths nearby for the collateral damage. Or maybe I’d make them into something closer to a confection: roast smaller marshmallow pieces, let cool, then dip in chocolate and top with a piece of graham cracker.

For Marshmallow May, Guimauve sent over some s’mores marshmallows, which are exactly what you think they are – chocolate and vanilla swirled marshmallows with soft graham cracker chunks both on top and mixed in. Eating them straight out of the bag, they’re a bit messy with all the crumbs, but you won’t care. They’re giant soft, fluffy, wonders, things you wish you could have eaten when you were six, and the chocolate and vanilla mallow streaks are distinctly delicious.

Guimauve-smores

Keeping it classic, I decided to turn them into meta-s’mores: s’mores made with s’mores marshmallows. (I did try to stack them with more marshmallows for meta-meta-s’mores, but the jenga heap of a dessert collapsed way too fast.)

You can use whatever chocolate you want, but I decided on Theo’s 45% Salted Almond, which gave salt and crunch to the finished s’mores. I’m always a fan of salt to increase the sweetness, and there’s something magical about milk chocolate in s’mores. Maybe it’s from mainly eating them with Hershey bars as a kid, but it’s just awesome.

Guimauve-Theo-17

I made them inside on a rainy day; I’d love to roast these outdoors now that the sun’s out. Since they’re huge, I cut my marshmallows in half before roasting and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. All I tasted was a bite of my childhood dreams.