Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mini Marshmallow Brownie Pies - the Marshbrowpie

Orange and chocolate are a flavor marriage made in heaven. With a buttery crust, these bite-sized delights aren't as sweet as s'mores pies made with graham crackers. And since they're made in mini muffin tins, you can grab - and eat - a handful.


Earlier this month, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company held a social media contest. Participants simply had to make something chocolatey and yummy and use the hashtag #SweetestSecret.
After a looooooooong semester of school, work, physical therapy, and general parenting/wife-ing, I needed to relax, and an afternoon spent with Watson and Sherlock in the kitchen was definitely a great way to unwind.
Now, I am good at making exactly two things in the kitchen: marshmallows and pie. I'm terrible at cookies, have no patience to make and decorate cakes anymore, and, more than anything, I just really like marshmallows and pie.
As such, I decided to take the pie crust I had in the freezer and make mini pies. But marshmallows in pie crust? Boring. And not really a great way to feature, you know, Ghirardelli chocolate.
But marshmallows on top of a brownie that was in pie crust?
WINNER WINNER BROWNIE PIE DINNER.
Literally.
Ghirardelli liked one of my Instagram snaps so much that I was one of the winners of the contest.
How awesome is that??????????????

The winning snap!
For my "efforts" (can we really call it that if I was simply having fun in my kitchen?), I received a lovely package of Ghirardelli chocolate and baking supplies, and I'm so excited to use them all.

Clockwise, from top: Williams Sonoma cookie cutters, unsweetened cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate chips, a SILPAT, Williams Sonoma stainless steel spatulas, chocolate sauce
Mini Marshmallow Brownie Pies (Marshbrowpies)
Yield: 4 dozen

  • One batch No Excuses Pie Dough (or enough of your favorite pie crust for a two-crust pie; if you don't have a favorite pie crust recipe, you do now)
  • One batch Perfect Fudge Brownies batter (or your favorite brownie recipe; this should be your favorite brownie recipe)
  • One batch triple orange marshmallows (below)

Note: you're going to have both leftover brownie batter and marshmallow cream, so follow instructions to prepare a pan for the brownies and a pan or moulds for the marshmallows. The brownies will be good snacks to give to people who for some reason don't like pie and/or marshmallows (yes, Virginia, they do exist), and the marshmallows are excellent in coffee or cocoa or as snacks for people who don't like chocolate (or are allergic to it, as some people are).


For the pie crusts:

Roll out the dough (see original post for directions). Using a cookie cutter slightly larger than the diameter of the mini muffin tin, cut out small circles. If you don't have a cutter the right size, you'll find that an average drinking glass will do the trick. Cut out a small triangle so your circle looks like PacMan. 



Using a finger dipped in cold water, seal the two sides together to make a cone shape; place into ungreased, unlined mini muffin tins.
Chill for at least thirty minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375°, and prepare the brownie batter.

For the brownies:

Prepare brownie batter according to directions. When the batter is mixed, add a teaspoonful of the batter to each of the pie crusts.


Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cool for at least ten minutes before adding the marshmallows.
Pour the remaining batter into a prepared pan, and bake for slightly less than the recommended time, checking frequently. I recommend breaking up Ghirardelli peppermint bark and sprinkling it over the batter so that you have peppermint brownies, especially yummy during this time of year.
You want the mini pie brownies to still be soft enough in the middle so that they collapse. If they do not collapse, press down the centers a bit once they cool enough to handle.

For the marshmallows:
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup cold orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups corn syrup (or rice syrup; agave nectar might also work)
  • splash orange juice
  • powdered sugar/corn starch mixture in which to toss the marshmallows
  • Additional zest, for sprinkling
Combine the juice, salt, and orange extract in the bowl of a mixer.  Sprinkle gelatin over the mixture and whisk to combine, being careful to get rid of any lumps.  Set aside.
For the extra marshmallows: spray a 9X13 pan with either pan spray or coat with oil.  Line the pan with plastic wrap, and then coat the top of the plastic wrap with oil.  Coat completely with your powdered sugar and corn starch mixture.  I've played around with how much, and what I've found works well for me is to coat completely and then tap out the excess.  This makes, for me, a less clumpy end product.  Set the pan aside.
Alternately (and this is what I've started doing since my last marshmallow post), you can use silicone moulds, making sure to spray them with either pan spray or coat them with oil. You'll need enough moulds to make approximately 60 marshmallows (this is three Wilton baking moulds or 4 Chicago Metallic marshmallow moulds).
Bring sugar, syrup, zest, and and a splash of juice to a boil.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 244° (the soft ball stage).  
When the syrup mixture reaches about 235°, turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to low.
As soon as the syrup reaches the proper temperature, remove and pour into the mixing bowl, continuing to whisk on low.  
Gradually raise the speed of the mixer.  Continue to whip until the mixture has about tripled inside (read: you're fearful it will overflow) and it starts to come off the sides of the bowl in small threads.

To assemble marshbrowpies:
Working quickly before it sets, add the marshmallow cream to the brownie pies. 
Pour the cream into two 16" piping bags, each prepared with a tip (I use a 5). Pipe a small amount into each brownie hollow.
If you don't have piping bags, you can pour a well-oiled teaspoonful of marshmallow cream into the hollows created when the brownies collapsed. 
Either pour or pipe the leftover marshmallow cream into a prepared pan or moulds.
Lightly dust orange zest over all the marshbrowpies. Follow that by sifting the corn starch-powdered sugar combination over the top of all the marshmallows, making sure that you can't see any of the shiny mallows under the snowy powder.  Allow to sit, uncovered, for several hours or overnight.
To remove, simply use your finger or a knife to pop each one out. Remove any excess dusting powder, and sprinkle with leftover zest if you like.
These will stay in an airtight container for about a week (or however long they last before being eaten).



Of course, you could make almost any flavor of marshmallow here. I have also made these using salted caramel mallows. But I do think that the boldness of a citrus pairs so well with the chocolate that it's worth starting with.

Thanks so much to Ghirardelli for the #SweetestSecret fun, and of course for the wonderful gifts. The contest was a great way to end my semester and get back in the kitchen, and all of the goodies will be used with glee.

Disclosure: While I do use Ghirardelli chocolate for all my baking, my only "earnings" was the items that I won in this contest (all of which are pictured above). I have not been compensated for my enthusiastic use of Ghirardelli in this post or any other posts that may encourage use of their products, although I still encourage use of their products, because it's really good stuff.

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