Sunday, 26 July 2009

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Covered Marshmallow and Milan Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at sweet tooth . She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of thefood network.
Each month, I seem to find less time for cooking things, and each month I hope the next will be better. Surely, since all of the Universe operates cyclically (what goes up must come down, history is doomed to repeat itself, all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again), I should just need to exercise a bit of patience and wait for that calmness. The month of July wasn't the month during which peace and free time freely reined, though. Mr A&N has started working a second job, and so evenings and weekends are being eaten away with his work and with me watching over Baby A&N. But maybe August will be better, yes?

Without oodles of time to myself, I very much appreciated that the Daring Bakers challenge for the month, as set out by Nicole at Sweet Tooth, had an estimated prep time of 30 minutes for each of the two cookies recipes (one for a chocolate covered marshmallow confection, the other for a milano style cookie). That was an appealingly short length of time that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could pull off a bit of cookie prep while also ensuring there were no big baby bumps on the head or limbs in need of mending. I planned on tackling the milano cookies first since they seemed more straight forward, and would ramp up the effort level to marshmallow making as and when I was allowed.

Sadly, the predicted 10 minute prep time was 10 minutes plus about an hour. Baby A&N was placed in his walker and dragged into the kitchen with me to watch all the exciting goings on. But the child who showed barely a lip quiver at his injections, who didn't even flinch earlier on
when he slammed his head into the side of his cot with a thud loud enough to be heard through closed doors, started crying like, well, a baby as soon as the hand blender turning on. Delicate sausage. And poor mother, who had to carry on with the mixing using only the power in her arms to get it done. It turns out her arms aren't as strong as they used to be (despite lifting a 25lb baby all day long).

The batter looked a bit curdled in a frangipane-esque fashion, but I kept the faith and created a couple of dozen uniform pastry fingers, looking perfect on their entry into the oven. To say they didn't keep their shape once they exited the oven, though, is to say that Delta Burke had a bit of trouble keeping hers during the progress of Designing Women. They expanded. They ballooned. They bled into one another and formed one Uber Milano from which individual forms were hard, nay, impossible to discern. Oh well. I'd just have to practice my best surgery skills and cut cookie shapes out of this vanilla-scented beheamoth.

I made half the cookies with the traditional orange-flavored chocolate spread, and the other half I spread with a bit of melted raspberry jam and dipped them in chocolate. Both sorts were lovely, but it was a shame to have to call half the batch a loss because of the oozy batter. Perhaps a higher oven temperature or a bit of baking powder in the mixture would have helped them keep their shape. I've decided to hold off on having a failure with the marshmallow cookies until I have more time for an afternoon of baking disaster. You can find the recipes for both cookies at Nicole's blog, and thanks goes to her for setting the task this month.


Elra said...

Oh I must say, that I had the same problem. Not from the baby, but from my sister. So, it was taking longer than it should be.

Glad to see that yours actually turn out great! Well done on multi tasking!

sarahe said...

mine came out about the same. yummy, but not the pretty uniform shape i was hoping!

maybelles mom said...

delicate sausage--what a cute expression. I just resigned up for DB after leaving for a difficult pregnancy; I have a feeling I will be having the same experience next month. Your cookies look good to me.

Sue Sparks said...

Good job on the challenge! I really like your commentary too! :)

Anita said...

Sounds like a bit more of a challenge than the baking. You've done a great job though!

Jenny said...

Baking with a baby always has its own unique challenges. At least you were able to get it done.