Because it combines two things that are quite dear to me: Tourney-style brackets in March. And dessert.
Everyone wins! Totally unlike the office pot where the intern who makes her Final 4 picks based on uniform color and point guard hotness manages to take everyone’s money. (I knock it like it hasn’t proved to be a winning strategy.)
Shauna’s new book is 90+ pages devoted to the sweet and sticky art of homemade marshmallow. Interested in making marshmallows? Marshmallow Madness is more than a cookbook, it’s a great resource full of marshmallow-making tips, tools, troubleshooting, and dozens of recipes and suggested variations.
And once you make your own, you’ll be quite disappointed when you have to turn back to the store bought variety. Believe me. I know.
The challenge from Quirk Books and Serious Eats to 16 bloggers was simple enough: take Shauna’s Classic Vanilla Marshmallow recipe and modify it into… whatever we wanted.
I know what you’re thinking. And I assure you, I went there. Even before the book arrived at my doorstep, I went there. I flipped passed Maple Bacon, Concord Grape, and Chocolate Malt to find that, yes, Shauna already had a Margarita Marshmallow recipe! And here I thought I was being so clever
I decided to merge two beloved treats: the alfajore, a dulce de leche-filled sandwich cookie, and the Southern (and a personal childhood) favorite, the Moon Pie.
I modified the Classic Vanilla Marshmallow into a Dulce de Leche Marshmallow. And I modified my favorite shortbread cookie recipe to more closely mimic the texture of traditional alfajore cookies. Alone, the “marshmallow alfajores” are a tender and buttery vanilla bean sandwich cookie spiked with plenty of vanilla and caramel notes. But after being dunked in chocolate? You get an incredibly fancy, homemade moon pie at which, let’s be honest, my 8-year-old-self would have totally turned up her nose.
So that’s me and my “Alfajore Moon Pies” hanging out at the bottom of the Southwest Bracket. If you’re following along on Twitter, check out #marshmadness to follow the entrants’ creations from rest of The Sweet 16.
Quirk Books has also provided an extra copy for a lucky reader. Want it?
Update: JoVonn is the winner with comment #8. Congratulations!
Leave a comment below with the answer to this question: What’s your favorite food that incorporates marshmallows?
The fine print:
- Maximum of one comment per person.
- Giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Texas time!) on Wednesday night.
- Winner will be selected by one of those cold, soulless, unfeeling random number generator thingies and announced on this post after selected.
- Winner will receive a copy of Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever (maximum total retail value of prize = $20).
- Prize must be claimed within 7 days or it will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected.
- Prize can only be shipped to a US address.
- Official giveaway rules can be found here.
Alfajore Moon Pies
Homemade dulce de Leche marshmallow and vanilla bean shortbread take the moon pie to a new level.
- For the cookies:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- For the dulce de leche marshmallow:
- 1 envelope (~2 1/2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup dulce de leche (purchased or homemade)
- 2 Tbsp water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the chocolate coating:
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate
- 2 tsp shortening
- To make the cookies, cream the butter and powdered sugar together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy. If you start with cold butter like I do, 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and add the extract and the scrapings of the vanilla pod.
- Add flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, and mix on medium just until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out your dough (it's easier for me to divide it into 2 portions first) to ~1/3 inch thickness. The dough, even chilled, will be pretty delicate so keep the flour close by.
- Cut 2.5-inch circles with a floured cookie cutter, reflouring between each cookie.
- Lightly knead the scraps, re-roll, and continue cutting the cookies - you should get 24 cookies.
- Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the fridge while the oven is preheating.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Bake ~12 minutes, until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges.
- Let cool completely before transferring to your work surface, "pretty side" down.
- Make the marshmallow: Place 1/4 cup cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the gelatin over top.
- Over medium heat in a small pot fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the sugar, corn syrup, dulce de leche, water, and salt to 236-238 degrees. (Any higher, and the sugar begins to burn. You'll need to stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the pan and burn).
- Slowly and carefully pour the dulce de leche mixture into the stand mixer bowl and whisk on low for 1-2 minutes, until combined.
- Increase speed to medium and whisk for 5 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium-high and whisk another 5 minutes.
- While the mixture is whisking, prepare a gallon zip-top bag by snipping off the corner creating a ~1/2-inch opening and fit the opening with a decorating coupler (you can probably get by without the coupler, but I wanted the opening round and stable).
- Switch mixer to the highest speed and mix for 3-5 minutes, until the marshmallow is light, fluffy, and mostly holds its shape when scooped onto a spoon or small spatula (if it's too soft and runs off the spatula, it will run off of the cookie - whisk another 1-2 minutes, if necessary).
- Immediately transfer the marshmallow into your zip-top bag.
- Pipe generous rounds of marshmallow onto 12 of the cookies.
- Place the remaining cookies "pretty side" up, and very lightly press down onto the marshmallow filling.
- Let sit for 15 minutes before coating in chocolate.
- To coat in chocolate, melt chocolate and shortening in a bowl.
- Heat chocolate and shortening in the microwave until completely melted.
- Holding the bottom cookie with your fingertips, dip the cookies in the chocolate and shake to remove excess. Set on a rack above a baking sheet to catch any drips (I didn't coat the very bottom with chocolate).
- Refrigerate until set. Store the cookies in an airtight container, each separated by wax paper or like I did - in the fridge on a plate.
Yields: 12 servings
Estimated time: 2 hours