Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

Chocolate covered marshmallows have to be one of my most favourite treats. I'm not talking about covering store-bought marshmallows with chocolate, I'm talking about the kind that comes individually wrapped for special holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day. You can't go wrong with a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate balanced out with a soft and fluffy sweet marshmallow filling.

If you're like me, these treats are for you! The recipe is very simple, but putting it all together is a bit of a challenge due to how quickly marshmallow starts to set. Ideally, you should have a helper who can smooth out the marshmallow in the molds as you go along and fill them. If not, you just have to work verrry quickly!

I only bought 2 chocolate molds, like the ones here and here, and still had enough marshmallow left over to fill an 8x8 pan. I didn't want to spend the money on more molds, but it would have been nice so I could have made more chocolate marshmallow lollies! For this kind of treat, you want to look for molds that are relatively deep, so that you can get a good amount of marshmallow in there!

Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, chips or wafers (I wouldn't recommend white chocolate after trying it) anywhere from 1/2 cup- 1 cup depending on how many molds you have
1-2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
candy/chocolate molds and lollipop sticks

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin powder
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
orange gel food dye (or preferred colour)
classic coating (3/4 powdered sugar, 1/4 cornstarch)

Place 1/2 cup of chocolate (cut into even small chunks if using baker's chocolate) in a heatproof bowl with 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening. Heat for short bursts in the microwave, starting with 30 seconds on 50% power. Stir after heating, and continue to heat on 50% power for 15 second bursts, stirring after each burst, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Spoon a small amount of chocolate into each mold and cover all of the surfaces. I found that using a silicone brush worked the best for this task. If using a clear mold, lift the mold tray above your head towards the light, and any spots that have too thin of a chocolate layer will show through. You don't want the layer to be thick, but you do want it to be thick enough to hold the marshmallow without breaking. Once finished, set aside in the refrigerator to firm up.

For the marshmallow, lightly coat an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray (if using between 2 and 5 molds).

Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan over high heat, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water and salt. Boil, stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave the gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl and set on low speed.

When the syrup reaches 240 degrees F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; the finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy and tripled in volume. If colouring the marshmallow, add in dye at this point and beat until thoroughly mixed through. Scoop some of the marshmallow into a large piping bag fitted with either a plain round tip or left empty. Remove the mold trays from the refrigerator, and pipe a small amount into each mold. This is where it's handy to have a second hand if you're filling a lot of molds. Insert lollipop sticks and quickly smooth the tops of the marshmallows with an offset spatula to create a nice even surface. *You want to leave a little room at the top to cover with chocolate. Set aside for 1 hour.

With the remaining marshmallow, pour into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula again. Sift classic coating evenly and generously over top (about 1/4 cup). Let set for at least 6 hours, uncovered in a dry, cool place. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan and invert the pan onto a coating-dusted work surface. Cut into whatever sizes or shapes you prefer, and dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

To finish the molds, repeat the melting of the chocolate process described earlier. Spoon a small amount of the melted chocolate over top the marshmallow, smooth over while ensuring to cover every part of the marshmallow. Return to the fridge for at least a half hour to set. To remove the chocolate marshmallow lollipops, push on the underside of the mold to pop them out, like you would with ice cubes in an ice cube tray.

Source: marshmallows from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever

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