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Friday, October 16, 2015

Recipe: Toasted Marshmallow Brains


Toasted Marshmallow Brain with Scalpel

Recipe: Toasted Marshmallow Brains



Who doesn't love Halloween? 

When it comes to perfect holidays, Halloween is the real deal: costumes, scary movies and absurdly creative pastry creations. And while some of us are comfortable enough in our adult immaturity that we do not require an excuse to don pirate attire and sit on the couch with a five pound bag of Candy Corn to watch Hocus Pocus for the 3,214th time, Halloween certainly makes it easier.

Having spent the past week playing with Marshmallow treats in various forms, I'm not exactly sure what synaptic misfire prompted the idea for Toasted Marshmallow Brains. But I'm glad it happened. 

As I've learned, Marshmallow is surprisingly versatile and relatively easy to pipe into different shapes. It happens to be the perfect medium for the squiggly contours of a brain. And when you give those Marshmallow Brains a quick toast using a culinary torch, the details really pop! Before you know it, you'll have a kitchen lined with jars full of miniature Marshmallow Brains. Yes, it's a little weird. But 'tis the season. 



Red Color Gel Dye for Marshmallow Brains
Start by making one batch of Marshmallow. A single recipe will yield about 20 Marshmallow Brains.

Flavor the Marshmallow as you wish. When it comes to Marshmallow Brains, there's certainly no suggested flavor, but you can never go wrong with Vanilla.

You can also color the Marshmallow. While brains are technically "grey matter", no one likes grey food. A few drops of red dye will result in a pinkish hue.. the perfect Hollywood brain. Go green for zombie Marshmallow Brains.

If you decide to color the Marshmallow, use a gel-based dye. These thicker, food-safe dyes are necessary to hold up to the heavily aerated Marshmallow mix. Thinner food coloring will simply disappear.

Piping Tips for Marshmallow Brains
As the Marshmallow whips, prepare two pastry bags. Fit one pastry bag with a larger round tip (#5) and a second pastry bag with a smaller tip (#0).

Dust a parchment lined sheet tray or silpat with a 50/50 mixture of Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar. This mixture will prevent the Marshmallow Brains from sticking as they set and dry.

When the Marshmallow is ready, fill the pastry bags. Put approximately 2/3 of the Marshmallow in the pastry bag with the larger tip and the remaining Marshmallow in the second pastry bag with the smaller tip.

Piped Marshmallow Brain Bases
Form the Marshmallow Brains by first piping egg-shaped bases about 2.5" long and 1.5" wide using the pastry bag with the large tip. Do not hold the pastry tip too close to the surface of the sheet tray or the Marshmallow Brains will be flat. But don't worry about perfect shapes. The bases will be covered with a second layer of Marshmallow.

Piping the First of Four Marshmallow Brain Detail Segments
When you have piped all of the bases, switch to the second pastry bag with the smaller tip. The detail of the Marshmallow Brains is piped in four steps.

Starting at the front center of the base, pipe a squiggly "S" line on the top of the base running all the way to the back of the base. This forms the top of the right hemisphere (very neuroscience-y).

Piping the Second of Four Marshmallow Brain Detail Segments
Repeat the process on the left side of the base, making sure the two segments touch.

Tray of Fully Piped and Base Marshmallow Brains
Pipe similar squiggly lines on the far right and far left sides of the bases creating a total of four squiggly segments.

Tray of Fully Piped Marshmallow Brains
Allow the Marshmallow Brains to set and dry for at least four hours (or overnight). 

The Marshmallow Brains are sufficiently set when they release easily from the sheet tray (if the tray was properly dusted with Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar). The tops should be slightly tacky but should not stick to dry hands. If your hands are damp, all bets are off!

Set Marshmallow Brains Transferred to Cooling Rack for Toasting
Transfer the Marshmallow Brains to a cooling rack placed on top of a sheet tray. Leave several inches of space between each Marshmallow Brain. Do not line the sheet tray with parchment or a silpat. These can easily burn or melt during the toasting process.

Cooling Rack of Partially Toasted Marshmallow Brains
Using a culinary torch, gently toast the outsides of the Marshmallow Brains. Be careful not to place the flame too close to the Marshmallow, or it may ignite. If the Marshmallow does catch fire, quickly blow it out (no need to panic).

Toasted Marshmallow Brain
The contours of the Marshmallow Brain will become very distinct when toasted.

Jar of Toasted Marshmallow Brains
The Toasted Marshmallow Brains can be served immediately after they are toasted. 

They can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. The Marshmallows will continue to dry over time and will eventually become stale. 




- The Recipe -




Toasted Marshmallow Brains:


Yield: About 20 Marshmallow Brains


Ingredients:


Directions:

1. Make one batch of Marshmallow, flavoring and coloring the mix as desired.

Chef's Note: Only use gel-based dyes. Thinner food coloring will disappear in Marshmallow.

2. As the Marshmallow whips to cool and thicken, prepare two pastry bags, one with a larger tip (#5) and one with a smaller tip (#0). Also prepare a parchment or silpat lined sheet tray dusted with a 50/50 mixture of Corn Starch and Powdered Sugar.

3. When the Marshmallow is ready, put approximately 2/3 of the Marshmallow in the pastry bag with the larger tip and the remaining marshmallow in the second pastry bag with the smaller tip.

4. Pipe approximately 20 bases using the pastry bag with the larger tip. The bases should be egg shaped and measure approximately 2.5" long by 1.5" wide.

5. Using the pastry bag with the smaller tip, pipe the detail of the Marshmallow Brains in four steps. Begin by piping a squiggly "S" line on the top right of the base running from the front all the way to the back. Pipe a second squiggly "S" line to the left of the first line, also running all the way from the front to the back of the base. Complete the detail by piping two final squiggly "S" lines on the far right and far left sides of the base.

6. Allow the Marshmallow Brains to set for at least four hours (or overnight). Transfer the set Marshmallow Brains to a cooling rack placed on top of a sheet tray. Leave several inches between the Marshmallow Brains.

Chef's Note: Do not line the sheet tray with parchment or a silpat as these can burn when the Marshmallows are toasted.

7. Using a culinary torch, gently toast the outsides of the Marshmallow Brains.

Chef's Note: If the Marshmallow catches fire, simply blow it out. 


Storage:
- Store the Marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. The Marshmallows will continue to dry over time and will eventually become stale.



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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! They definitely were fun. I've also been toying with making some Marshmallow "Creeps" rather than Peeps, but maybe that will be a next Halloween project!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jessie! Halloween always gets the creative juices flowing ;)

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