Tag Archives: Candy

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Marshmallows

Gingerbread Marshmallows

I love marshmallows. Making them feels like alchemy – taking all these everyday ingredients, boiling them in a gigantic pot and whipping them up into fluffy little candied clouds. However, like many things in life, the road to marshmallow perfection has been paved in gloopy disaster (including one trip to the local supermarket last week where I bumped into my next door neighbour, and she politely pointed out that I had gigantic dollops of congealed marshmallow in my hair and on the tip of my nose.)

After much, much trial and error, I have come to realise that you need three key things if you want to be a record breaker attain marshmallow perfection. These are:

  1. Egg whites: While I am sure that there are some fantastic marshmallow recipes out there that do not require egg whites, I’ve yet to find them. And every time I’ve attempted to make marshmallows without them, it’s left my kitchen looking as though it’s been attacked by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. As it is, they add a nice wobble to your finished product, and an even nicer level of structural integrity.
  2. Cornstarch and icing sugar: I nabbed this trick from the baking genius which is David Lebovitz. Dusting a silicon mould in a mixture of cornstarch and icing sugar helps to stop the mixture sticking too much, and makes it easier to cut once set. Rolling the finished squares in this also helps, as it helps to dry them out and make them easier to work with.
  3. Patience: Making marshmallows requires time, patience and a hell of a lot of swear words. They’re not exactly the kind of thing you can whip up at 8pm on a Wednesday evening to take into work the next day. Give yourself a good day or so to make these, and you will be richly rewarded.

Chocolate Gingerbread Marshmallows

As it is, my own spin on marshmallow perfection is a combination of methodology from the aforementioned David Lebovitz, Eat Like a Girl and Delicious magazine, and flavouring inspiration from Joy the Baker . I made this particular batch to support my entry in Hamburger Queen, a fantastic talent show for fat people (like myself) which also saw me donning a blonde wig and a blow-up sax and rolling around on a stage to Bryan Ferry’s Jealous Guy. While (sadly) I didn’t win (the winner made a truly amazing red velvet cake in the shape of Divine, and if that hadn’t won, I would have demanded a judge’s recusal) , these were consumed by both judges and audience members with almost indecent haste. Which, quite frankly, is reward enough for me.

Chocolate Gingerbread Marshmallows

CHOCOLATE DIPPED GINGERBREAD MARSHMALLOWS (Makes 35 – 40 medium sized marshmallows)

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 120 ml cold water
  • 3 sachets (27 g) powdered gelatine
  • 440 g caster sugar
  • 160 ml golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp ginger cordial
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

For the dip

  • 100 g good quality dark chocolate
  • 7 – 8 gingernut biscuits

Make It!

  1. Dissolve the gelatine in the water and set to one side.
  2. Combine the caster sugar and golden syrup in a pan with 80ml water. Wipe down the sides of a pan with a wet pastry brush, so that the mixture doesn’t crystallise when you’re heating it. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn up the heat until the mixture begins to boil. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer until it reaches 130°C. (Try not to take your eye off the pan, as it will get hot very quickly. If the mixture goes over 130°C, then it won’t set properly.) Take the pan off the heat and leave for a minute.
  3. While the sugar mixture is cooking, whip your egg whites (you’ll need a heavy duty mixer for this I’m afraid) with a pinch of salt until they become light and fluffy. Increase the speed of the mixer to high, before slowly and carefully pouring the hot sugar mixture into the bowl. (Try not to let it stick to the whisk or the sides of the mixer, as it’s a bugger to clean off afterwards.) Add the gelatine and flavourings, and continue to whip until the mixture is completely cool, and is forming stretchy bubblegum-like strands.
  4. Combine the cornflour and icing sugar in a bowl, and use it to dust a silicon baking tray until there are absolutely no bare spots. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the tray and leave it to set for 4 – 6 hours (preferably overnight if you have the time.)
  5. Once the marshmallows have set, dust a piece of baking paper with the leftover cornflour and icing sugar mixture, and remove from the baking tray. Slice them into squares with a lightly oiled palette knife, before rolling them in the mixture.
  6. Chop the dark chocolate into squares, and melt it in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Crush the gingernut biscuits either by wrapping them in a teatowel and bashing the living daylights out of them with a rolling pin, or by mashing them up in a pestle and mortar. Dip each of the marshmallows in the melted chocolate before sprinkling them liberally with the gingernut crumbs. Allow to set.
  7. These should keep for around a week, but quite frankly, it will be a miracle if they last that long.
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A short post about fudge: an assortment of fudge from @msconfections

I’ve been friends with the lovely Kathryn (@msconfections)  for a while, and have frequently salivated over her tweets and Facebook posts which have showcased her lovely products. Kathryn is an American who moved over to the UK when she met her husband. I attended her wedding a few years ago, and was blown away by her baking skills – especially her outstanding Snickerdoodles which I couldn’t get enough of. Although Kathryn loves living in the UK, she – like me – hankers after many of the super moist baked goods and candies that you find in abundance over there.  After vainly searching for a company that could cure her cravings, she decided to set up her own business. And so, Missed Confections was born.

Missed Confections aims to be different to other sweet companies, as they want to provide customers with the ability to create their own perfect flavour combinations.  You’re presented with three basic flavour bases –  dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate. Any of these can be combined together (swirled, layered or mixed) to provide a base. If you fancy it, these can also be flavoured. Apparently, white chocolate is especially good as a neutral base for other amazing flavours such as amaretto, mint, rum, butterscotch.

After you’ve picked out your based, you can then add different toppings to the fudge – such as   cookies, chocolates, sweets, and dried fruits. Each full slab of fudge can hold up to four different combination of ‘toppings’ as long as the base remains the same, meaning that you can get four standard fudge flavours custom made just for you for the price of one. Perfect if you’re incredibly indecisive like me.

A few weeks ago, Kathryn asked me if I’d like to try some of her creations. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. After all, who in their right minds would turn down a huge package of home made fudge?

For a long time I was quite ambivalent about  fudge. I could never shake off the memories of the sweaty, overly sweet lumps of goo that my relatives would bring back as souvenirs from holidays in North Wales. Of course, there were always the fingers of fudge we’d get in our selection boxes at Christmas, but these were always seen as being the runts of the litter, inevitably overshadowed by the sexier Crunchies and Caramels. But then, a while back, I tried some artisan home made fudge and my perception of the stuff changed immensely. Suddenly, I knew what fudge was trying to do. Good fudge should be smooth, creamy and full of delicious burnt-sugar flavour. It should melt in your mouth and have the texture of butter with no residual graininess. Essentially, it should taste like heaven.

Does Missed Confections fudge taste like heaven? Well, not quite – although it’s still pretty damn good. My goody bag contained six different ‘base’ flavours for me to try, all chocolate. The first thing I noticed about them were the sizes of each bit. These are pretty weighty pieces of candy – more like slabs than bitesized chunks. I dived into a piece of the Mint Chocolate fudge (not pictured) almost immediately, and loved the flavour. It was like eating an intense, buttery mint-choc-chip ice cream, and before I knew it, I’d demolished the whole thing.

Not wanting to be a total pig, I decided to share my spoils with the rest of my office, and they too loved the different flavours. My personal favourite was the Dark Chocolate Chilli. It had a deliciously fruity cocoa taste to it and a real kick and pop from the chillies.

Another hit was the Triple Chocolate. At first glance, it looks like the kind of treat you could easily gorge yourself on, but for me, a small piece was just enough to satiate my sweet tooth. I really enjoyed the different combination of flavours – from the milky – almost sickly – white chocolate, to the richer – more robust – hit of the buttery dark chocolate layer. It’s the kind of treat I save for when I’m really craving something sweet. Just a small bite of this stuff is enough for me to stop dreaming about Twixes for at least an hour.

The only flavour which I wasn’t too keen on was the Amaretto, it being slightly too cloying for my tastebuds. My other taste testers, however, loved it. Perhaps they’re just bigger fans of booze flavoured sweets than I am.

Missed Confections is a relatively new business which is (rather innovatively) currently attempting to obtain business funds via Crowdsourcing. It will be interesting to see how this small business develops, especially as there’s a definite market out there for homemade, authentically ‘American’ treats.  As well as fudge, Kathryn’s planning to make (and retail) a whole bunch of other products, including muffins, cookies, brownies, and cakes. Good luck to her. I know I’ll definitely be investing in her Snickerdoodles at some point in the future.

For more information about Missed Confections, please see http://www.missedconfections.co.uk/ or check out their Crowdfunding page at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/investment/missed-confections-219. You can also follow them on Twitter at @msconfections

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