Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is it marshmallows yet?

Or is it cake?
For some strange reason, my oldest daughter finds cooking to be a very excellent way to relax when she is stressed. That and reading seem to be her top two ways to relax. (Don't ask me. I have no idea where those come from. No idea whatsoever. Really, I don't.) Any way, the last several weeks before her spring break she had been under stress. It might have something to do with taking 18 hours of upper level mathematics and anthropology courses this semester and running tech stuff for two plays back to back, or maybe not. I vote on the side of maybe yes. (Why no, she has not suffered from being bored much in her life. Good thing too, as that is a personal problem and if someone decides to involve me in their personal boredom problem, they get put to work, doing things like cleaning the garage without it being an extra paying job. The alternative would be to ask if I a had any extra chores that needed doing to earn extra money. Either way I got the garage clean, but one way involved a lot less whining. Not that she suffers from problems with whining much either. She, and her younger sister are both pretty good at learning from other people's examples. But I digress.)
So while she was home she spent time reading and some time cooking ('cause really, how much time do you get to cook if you get out of class at 5 PM and call is at 5 PM? Oh, well, for her it was changed to "after you have grabbed some dinner," aka 5:30). She also got to enjoy having someone else cook for her (but you know, it was terrible hardship for me to have to cook for someone I love).
For St. Patrick's day we made a Chocolate Stout Cake, just because, well you know, we could.
So now I suppose you want to know about those marshmallows, don't you? OK, here's the deal. I drove up on a Saturday to pick her up, but we weren't going to leave until Sunday, as she had light board to run Saturday night. The show was sold out several days in advance and she wasn't able to get a ticket for me, so I had some free time on my hands after she reported to call. She told me the best way to get to the Lake/beach, so I could wander about, see stuff, and take pictures. She also told me that if I should happen to wander into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, she would not be opposed to me bringing an Apple Pie (Caramel) Apple back with me, "Or a caramel covered Marshmallow. You decide which one you want. I am fine with either one. But only if you want to." What can I say? She got both. Thus came the inspiration for us to make our own caramel covered marshmallows. (Oddly they aren't on the menu on the website. Maybe they are a specialty to certain stores, or certain times of the year?)
So, really these are pretty easy to make, they pretty much are just like they sound, except for the lack of the word "chocolate" in what I have been calling them. So the basic run-through is stick some skewers (or sucker sticks, but we didn't have any of those around that day) into marshmallows, dip them into melted caramel, let that set up and then dip/drizzle chocolate over them.
You could melt caramels just like you would do for dipping apples, either the unwrapped candies or the Kraft Caramel Bits that they sell in the baking section with the chocolate chips. (What? you didn't know about these? You are missing out on a good thing.) Or you could do what we did and make a batch of caramels from scratch (plus side of that is then you get to have homemade caramels from the leftovers). DTE put three marshmallows per skewer (though you could do just one per stick if you wanted to make them for small people appetites) and I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper and greased the pan for the extra caramels. (Parchment paper is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I buy it by the case. I probably have a lifetime supply unless a bunch of it goes to live at the DT's kitchens in the future.) We used bagged marshmallows; we have never made our own, though they are on the list of "things to make someday." Anyway, then the caramels were made (Joy of Cooking), and allowed it to cool some so as not to melt the marshmallows when the two came into contact. (How cool? That is pretty much a play it by eye thing. I am sure you know what I mean if you really are going to go to all the trouble to make these. Not to be made by people who are not allowed near hot stoves and sugar syrup. I think she put at least some of the marshmallows into the freezer to cut down on the melting of marshmallows, but I am not certain.) Dip marshmallows into caramel, or spoon over, whichever you decide works best for you. Anyway, let the caramel covering set up and then cover with melted chocolate if you want. DTE used dark chocolate (it was left over from the dark chocolate for the cake frosting), though the ones from TRMCF were covered in milk chocolate (they also did three per skewer). As I recall some of he ones they had in the display case also had the ends dipped in sprinkles or chopped nuts.
Given that I hadn't really been thinking about needing to explain this whole process while we were doing it, and that I was enjoying hanging out in the kitchen with DTE, we only have pictures of the finished product, not of the stages. If/when we make them again we might go foe the stage pictures, but no promises.
So now that I have given you all a very long answer to such a short question, I have a question for you. Should I give you some pictures of the still partly frozen lake and the stuff I saw while walking around?


Laura said...

I love pictures of Lake Superior at any time of year.

Channon said...

Yum. Pop would have loved those. He always wanted those chocolate covered marshmallow eggs for Easter...

Bubblesknits said...

Num! Any type of chocolate covered anything is good to me.

MLJ1954 said...

Absolutely! Show us the pictures!

I am not a real cake fan, but caramels and chocolate are some of my most favorite of foods!