Like many others I have a slight Pinterest addiction but I actually try to do some of the things I pin. I am trying to make some Christmas gifts for friends and family. I would like to be able to buy gifts for everyone, I would probably spend at least $50-$100 per person for Christmas but the reality is we can not afford this. So I figured an amalgamation of different luxury hand made items for my loved ones. I have planned on doing some food items, and some bath items. I am going to attempt to share them all with you before Christmas comes. The first is the easiest to make ahead and store.
First up, Marshmallows!
I saw a great idea of caramel and chocolate dipped marshmallows on sticks from A Turtles Life For Me.
|Caramel and Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows|
I thought I would take it one step further though by making my own marshmallows, and caramel and dipping it in Belgian dark chocolate.
First step was to find a marshmallow recipe. There are many out there, I found several on Martha, All Recipes etc but settled on one from The Hungry Mouse. Mainly I chose it because I like the way they look in the picture. Deep I know.
I looked around and found out that apparently they are only fresh for about 2 weeks so I could not make them as far ahead of time as I was hoping so I decided to make a half batch to try them out. nothing like having to wait to the last minute to try them only to find out it wont work.
So they worked out great. I didn’t take a ton of photos because this was a trial. A half batch filled my 9×9 pan to the top.
The results are mixed. they cut up and looked beautiful like the ones in the recipe but I wasn’t sold enough to do them for Christmas. I found them overly vanilla-y I like vanilla ok, but these were not lightly vanilla flavored but highly vanilla flavored If I were to make them again I would use half the vanilla. Plus they were SUPER light and fluffy. Which is GREAT for eating a marshmallow but not if you want to dip it in heavy chocolate and put it on a stick. I think it would have easily fallen off the stick. Plus they are not as cheap as the store bought ones. I ended up making a huge pan of Rice Krispie Squares and didn’t add any vanilla to them and the squares even had a higher than normal vanilla flavor to them.
Next step was to test chocolate dipping. Man my life is tough. I bought some Belgian dark chocolate wafers from Bulk Barn melted them down, dipped and waited for them to dry. Drying took over night and were very melty as soon as you touched the chocolate. I decided to look into tempering which is something I always thought was too complicated to do at home. Tempering is the art of making chocolate shiny, gives it a good snap, and is lest melt in your hands. I read up on it several places and it boils down to take all your chocolate, remove about 1/3rd of it (this is called the seeding method by the way, this chocolate being the seed), and heat the chocolate over double boiler to 120 degrees F. 120 is much much lower than you think and you can go over it very fast. Basically it is JUST the melting point, when it is just barely melted, you have probably hit 120. Defiantly need a good thermometer for this. Once you are at 120, add in your other 1/3rd of the chocolate (the seed) and bring it back down to the 90 degree mark, then start dipping before it cools!
My tips are as follows:
Crush/Chop your chocolate up small so it melts more evenly and quickly with out going over temp.
Get a good digital thermometer.
Prep EVERYTHING else as you go. If you are sticking marshmallows on stick, have all them all sticked up BEFORE you start ANY melting. Have trays, and parchment and EVERYTHING ready before. Seriously. it melts fast, and once you add your seeded chocolate back in you need to stir it constantly until its down to 90 and then you want to get it all dipped asap because if it dips below 88 it will go out of temper and it wont be shiny and can “bloom”, which is funny white spots on the surface of the chocolate.
Results are perfect, and I cant believe It worked!!!!
I am also going to be making some Caramels for my great gift giving, so Ill likely be doing it all again, dipping first in the caramel, and then the next day (or so) doing the chocolate all over. Ill let you know how it goes!