Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sundays and Daring Bakers: Cookies and Jam!


Summer is supposed to be relaxing, right? Maybe I just look at past summers through rose-colored glasses, but this summer has been the busiest one on record! Family reunions, summer festivals, out-of-town visitors, trips to the city; I'm amazed I've had time to cook anything! This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Margot of Effort to Deliciousness. She chose Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves, which I happened to make a few months ago! I was excited to make these preserves because, while I've made lots of jam, I've never made it from scratch. I've always used liquid pectin, but in this recipe, we used granny smith apples! It was awesome! And the combination of strawberry and grapefruit made my whole house smell like a candy factory! I do have to say that liquid pectin makes a nice, smooth jam, and cooks up a lot faster. But if we ever have to go back to pioneer times, now I know what to do! You can find the recipe on Margot's site here.


On to Daring Bakers. I must admit that I was not excited about this month's challenge: homemade versions of store-bought cookies. I prefer homemade cookies anyway, so why would I want to make a store-bought cookie knock-off? But I digress. I chose to make the mallows because they sounded easy (wrong!) and tasty (sort of wrong!). The recipe has three parts: a slightly sweet, slightly cinnamon-y cracker-type cookie base with homemade marshmallow piped on top, all covered in chocolate. I thought this recipe would be a breeze, but I hit several roads blocks right off the bat. The dough needed to be rolled ultra thin and cut into little circles, but the dough was so sticky--even after chilling and much extra flour--that I had to scrap my first few attempts. The recipe also said it made 2 dozen cookies, which is exactly what I needed, but it made 200! But the cookies were actually really tasty, and I fed lots of the extras to my kids. That's actually the part of the recipe I would make again, if I were inclined to make homemade crackers. On to the marshmallow!

This was my first time with it, and probably my last! I love store-bought marshmallows, so I'm pretty good just sticking with them. I thought the directions could have said something like, "Watch out! This stuff will harden super quickly when you take it off the heat, so work quickly!" I had to find this out the hard way. About half-way through piping the marshmallow onto the cookies, the little "kisses" of marshmallow started to look like a mess.

Plus, I'm not big on meringue or divinity or anything egg white-y, and that's what the homemade marshmallow tasted like to me. Lastly, the chocolate glaze was a cinch (thank goodness!), but it was almost 100 the day I made these and they were a liquidy mess unless refrigerated. They basically had to go straight from fridge to mouth, otherwise there was chocolate everywhere. Oh well, better luck next month! It is well past midnight as I type this post, just in case anyone is wondering why it's so negative! :) And should you want the recipe, just click here!

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 the Food Network.
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13 comments:

  1. 200 cookies?! Wow, you can send some my way if you're not gonna eat em all ;) They look amazing!

    Your jam also looks lovely. I was impressed with the apple method too :)

    Katie xox

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  2. I think the mallows look pretty.

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  3. It's too bad that this month's DB didn't work out for you, but I'm glad you liked the preserves so much! I've never made preserves before, so I'll try to remember what you said about the difference liquid pectin makes for future references. Thanks!

    -Jen

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  4. The strawberry - ruby grapefruit preserves sound wonderful. I really have a thing for grapefruit right now. Did you like the flavor combo?

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  5. Both the cookies and preserves look wonderful!

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  6. How cool that you had actually made the preserves a few months ago! I'm glad you liked them, I thought they were great. Your marshmallow cookies look really yummy; I'm sorry they were a bit disappointing.

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  7. Everything looks great. Sorry the marshmallows were a bust for you, though.

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  8. Love the color of your jam! Too bad the marshmallow cookies didn't work for you. The picture on the top of the page is very nice though.

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  9. I had trouble with my marshmallows setting too quickly too!! they look great, as does the jam.

    (be mindful of the posting date though, you posted the DB challenge a day early!)

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  10. Your cookies certainly look delicious! My batch also made way more than indicated by the recipe, and my house has been too hot for the chocolate coating to set up too:) The jam recipe interests me....I'll have to got check it out! We are getting ready here to make berry syrups for pancakes so I'm in a canning mood. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I'm anxious to try making the jam recipe. I've always used sure-jell or liquid pectin too so this will be a first for me. Your cookies look delicious!

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  12. Wow I thought I made a lot of cookies by doubling the recipe! Everything looks good!

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  13. Your experience with the marshmallow cookies sounds very challenging but ya know, your cookies ended up looking awesome. I've followed other bloggers attempts with this recipe and yours by far look the best. They really do look professional. It makes me want to try the recipe but I think I'll wait till autumn when the cooler weather starts as I would like to not have melted chocolate everywhere when I eat a cookie. Good job and great photos!

    Heidi

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