Sunday, May 29, 2011

Honey Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff

Not to be fickle to my past loves, but I have just fallen in love anew. With yet another marshmallow-related treat. That is so, so easy to make - unlike those millions of batches of guimauves I've made in the last few years. Really, in the original recipe, the procedure lists ONE step. Amazing.

If you're a fan of good ole Kraft Marshmallow Fluff, you've got to try this. You could even make it all organic, with agave! It does take raw eggs, so if you are wary of that risk I'm afraid I don't have another option for you yet (haven't tried powdered eggs whites at this time).

All you have to do is throw the ingredients into a bowl and whip them up with an electric mixer, and voilà! Light, fluffy, sweet goo with a hint of honey and a touch of vanilla. Wonderful swirled into ice cream or on top of it; great in peanut butter sandwiches; delightful swiped off the side of the mixer bowl. I'm thinking this will make a yummy gift as well, especially since my collection of glass jars to reuse is starting to fill up their drawer. And this makes a huge amount that I could (well, should) never finish by myself in the 3 weeks it stays good.

Making this reminded me of this episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, in which Duff and the folks of Charm City Cakes get a crazy-looking ice cream sundae called the "CMP" at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, MD. CMP = Chocolate, Marshmallow, & Peanuts. Peanuts steeped in sugar syrup dumped over three scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with organic ganache and marshmallow fluff, sealed into a glass with a disk of cooked hard crack sugar (seriously, blow torched around the edges of the glass!). As soon as I got just a little glimpse of that sundae, I coveted it with a passion. This is me, still thinking about that one minute clip of a TV show 6 months later. So making this fluff was the perfect opportunity to make my own version of CMP. I don't keep peanuts around, but I boiled some pecans in simple syrup, threw them on a scoop of my homemade coconut ice cream, topped it with some bittersweet ganache, and then a pile of this fluff. CMP = OMG. The bittersweet chocolate with the sweet fluff was perfect.

The fluff turned out very sweet for me, so the recipe below includes a tad less agave than I used. If agave is too strong of a flavor for you, you may replace some of it with light corn syrup, or swap it all out for one cup of corn syrup.

Honey Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff
based on this recipe, referral thanks to my friend at Movies and Munchies

2 large egg whites
3/4 C agave syrup
1/4 C honey
pinch salt
1 C confectioner's sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place the egg whites, agave, honey, and salt in a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Use an electric hand mixer or a whip attachment for your stand mixer to whip the ingredients on medium high speed for 5 minutes, until the ingredients have doubled in volume and look pale and thick. Slowly beat in the sugar, then mix in the vanilla.

Store fluff in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Lick the bowl so that none gets wasted.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Royal Wedding Cake: Chocolate Digestive Biscuit Cake

Yes. This is the Royal Wedding Cake that Prince William chose. The one that was not the fruitcake. The one that was not decorated in white icing. The one that is super easy to make, and as rich as a candy bar.

They say that British foodies were appalled at the low cuisine profile of this no-bake digestive biscuit cake, but it cannot be denied that everyone likes this dessert. I mean, who doesn't like candy bars? And I'm sure the royal bakers did not complain that at least one thing about this wedding was simple, even though they did dress it up elegantly (scroll all the way down this article to view the royal chocolate cake).

You can find digestive biscuits (McVitie's brand or otherwise) in the States easily enough; CostPlus World Market has a few brands, and I even found them at a local Persian market. I made the cake with plain biscuits, since the cake was so chocolaty I thought it would be good to add some non-chocolate crunch, but you may use the chocolate biscuits if you want to be completely true to Prince William. And no, they don't actually affect your digestion; don't be driven away by the unappealing name of these cookies, since they are not so different from graham crackers.

I decorated mine with some yummy Belgian chocolate caramel crisps and some more crumbled biscuits, but you could go without decoration, or create a riff of your own. Regardless, it will taste great, and serve a LOT of people; few people can eat more than a small sliver of the dense chocolate.

Royal Wedding Cake: Chocolate Digestive Biscuit Cake
Taken from

800 g bittersweet chocolate (chips work)*
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
2/3 C corn syrup (or golden syrup, if you've got it)
275 g digestive biscuits

Line a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom. You may make a tiered cake with one 4.5 inch and one 6 inch springform pan. This cake would be difficult to remove from a regular cake pan, and the sides come out shiny and smooth, so you don't want the parchment paper to creep up the sides. Break biscuits into bits 1/4 inch or so, as pictured below (for fun, use your bare hands on the biscuits!), and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a double boiler, combine the corn syrup (or golden syrup) and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until all is melted.

Combine and mold:
Pour melted chocolate mixture over the biscuit bits and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Let cake set in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hard and shiny, at least four hours. Unmold and cut with a sharp knife in very thin pieces when serving.

*Gram amounts can be estimated by the weight listed on the package you purchase if you don't have a kitchen scale. This is not a fussy recipe, so don't worry about being accurate to the gram.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Simple Cream Biscuits

I've been trying to get creative recently with the breakfasts that I produce in my kitchen - creative, at least, with the ingredients found on any given day. Having eaten a lot of eggs, toast, pancakes, and waffles, one day it occurred to me that I could pan fry some diced baked potatoes, and go all American with some biscuits.

Since I had heavy cream in the fridge left over from constant ice cream making (I MAY have five kinds of ice cream currently in the freezer), I took a stab at this cream biscuit recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They turned out to be incredibly simple, and fabulously tender and moist. It felt to me like the cream vaporized inside each biscuit to create a warm, rich interior that would happily host any combination of butter, honey, or jam. They were also light enough to fall apart at the touch, so I would perhaps make them smaller around and thicker next time - and there definitely will be a next time.

Simple Cream Biscuits

3 T melted butter
2 C flour plus extra for rolling out dough
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar (optional)
1 1/2 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a small dish.

Mix dough:
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 C cream. If the dough is not soft, or difficult to handle, add a little more cream, about a tablespoon or so at a time.

Roll out and form dough:
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Form into a ball and press into a round of about 3/4 of an inch. Use a round dough cutter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter to cut out biscuits. Gather scraps into a ball and flatten again to cut more rounds until all dough is used. Dip each biscuit in melted butter and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Note: Smitten Kitchen raves about the use of flash freezing - individually freezing items like these biscuits so that they can be served fresh another day. Check out her instructions!