Sunday, March 06, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Beer Marshmallows?

Yep. That's right. I said chocolate dipped beer marshmallows.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I'm 80% done with my MBA and that's what's slowed the blogging down so much. The last year and a half has just been a blur. So here I sit with three finals in the next two weeks (Economics, Statistics and Business Info Systems) and a 10 page research paper due in a week. So what am I doing instead of studying for any of those tests or working on my paper? Making marshmallows from scratch and then blogging about it. Procrastination, thy name is Heather.

A friend, Sarah Thorowgood, had an awesome idea - Starbucks (yum), chocolate (oh hells yeah) and friends (why the h*ll didn't I think of this?). Now you all know I love me some Starbucks. And chocolate. It's almost as good a combination as you'll find - right up there with chocolate and peanut butter, dark chocolate and dry wine, good vodka and olive juice... Anyway, so we were all to bring something chocolate to share. So I wanted to bring something different, something unique.

I've read several times about homemade marshmallows and have been eager to try my hand at it. But... J doesn't like marshmallows. Even Easter Peeps. Isn't that weird? I know. I mean... how do you not like Easter Peeps? Everybody likes peeps. Or at least they should. It's un-American. It's just wrong.

Okay, back to my point - now I could make marshmallow and not have to eat it all myself. Not that that would be a big burden, but it would PROBABLY not be such a great idea. But I wanted to do more than just plain old chocolate coated marshmallows. So I did a little cruising around on the internet and found Truffle Truffle's beer & pretzel marshmallows - and then I found a few folks had already tried to recreate these intriguing treats. Yeah - not so much unique, huh? I copied a copycat. Whatever.

I decided to use Schlafly's Coffee Stout, and there are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, I needed a dark beer so that it's flavor would come through in the marshmallow. But also because the coffee flavor would go well with chocolate. But mostly because I really really like it! So just a side note: if you like dark beer you'll like Schlafly's Coffee Stout. It's their Oatmeal Stout combined with Kaldi's French Roast coffee. Yummy and delicious combine to made amazing.

 Okay, side-tracked again. Back to my point. The beer marshmallow was my first task. I needed half a bottle of flat beer - so I had to drink half a bottle. Gosh darnit, the sacrifices I make for my friends. So I combined the flat beer and some gelatin and let it sit. Separately, I mixed more beer, corn syrup, sugar and a little salt and brought it to a boil.

Once it gets between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit, just let it boil for another five minutes or so.

I know it seems like it's a very big pot for a relatively small amount of liquid - but it really wants to boil up pretty intensely. So the bigger the pot, the better it is.

And then you combine the two mixtures in the bowl of a mixer and use the whisk attachment and just whisk the living bejeezus out of it. I let it go for a good twenty minutes. It did get light and fluffy, but ended up kind of a creamy color.

Once it's whipped, this is some seriously sticky stuff. I mean seriously sticky. To quote a poster that commented on one of the recipes I looked at, I felt like a cartoon character stuck in a a glue factory. But I did manage to wrestle it into a well oiled silicone baking pan, then you just let it sit overnight to cure.

The next day I turned it out on to parchment paper and started cutting it into cubes. Still sticky, by the way. But if you rub some powdered sugar onto the surface it helps. Also, I took a paper towel and blotted away some of the cooking spray I'd used in the silicone baking pan - I was afraid the chocolate wouldn't stick to the marshmallow if there was too much cooking spray.

They looked pretty good once I'd cut them into cubes, but they definitely look homemade, don't they? I'm going to call it "rustic" rather than "amateurish". Just go with it.

Dipped each one in melted chocolate, and then topped with crushed pretzels.

They look pretty, don't they? Except for needing to let the marshmallow cure overnight, they didn't take too long to make - just a little effort. I can't wait to try a few new flavors and ideas.

And I totally want to make these again. But I would make a couple of changes. I thought the beer flavor would be subtle. Too subtle, in fact, to be detected if I coated the whole cube with perfect Ghiradelli chocolate and salty pretzels. But I was wrong - the flavor was perfect and stood up to the chocolate and pretzels. So next time I'll cover them completely in chocolate! More is more.

But now we come to the sad part of my day. Sigh. My stupid dishwasher died on me. And I realized it just as I started making my beer marshmallows. So not only did I spend all Saturday morning in Econ class, I then had to hand wash and entire dishwasher full of dishes that didn't get washed, plus all of the dishes I dirtied making my chocolate dipped beer marshmallows.

Stupid builder grade original dishwasher. And now I'm going to spend my Sunday afternoon shopping for new dishwasher. Argh.