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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chocolate-covered marshmallow hearts

I had to admit it; I never really loved Valentine's Day.  I'm sure you could say that for many years I was jaded as I didn't have a valentine of my own to spend the day with.  But even now, I am still not a huge fan of the holiday.  There is so much hype around the holiday that I'm pretty sure that the real importance of it is lost behind tons of red and pink hearts, overpriced prix fixe dinners, Valentine's Day cards, and red roses.  Not that's there's anything wrong with those things.  But still, the hype is pretty intense.  There was already an entire aisle of Valentine's Day candies at my local drugstore as early as mid January (it could've been there earlier, it's just that I haven't been in the store in a while).

One thing I do like about Valentine's Day?  All the cute heart shaped treats you can make!  Want something festive?  Make it heart shaped, pink or red, cover it in hearts, or put some flowers it, and voila! it's a Valentine's Day treat!

Last year Valentine's Day fell just a few days after I got back from Thailand, and the day after my mom's 60th birthday (and birthday party).  It was a whirlwind and I was pretty jet-lagged.  B invited me over for dinner and I honestly don't even remember if I made dessert or not.   Tsk, tsk Julie, how bad of me to not remember?!

This year I decided that I needed to make a few Valentine's Day treats.  I think my subconscious realized that I had to make up for last year!  I had a few ideas up my sleeve (stay tuned for those, soon), and kinda dove in head first.  I thought about starting with something a little smaller-scale, but you know me, and that's just not really the way I roll.  I wanted one that would be memorable enough to counteract the fact that I didn't make anything (memorable?) last year.

So what did I make as my first Valentine's Day treat?  Well, remember those raspberry marshmallows I made a few weeks back?  Well, part of the reason I made them was because I wanted to make sure they were good before Valentine's Day.  So that I could make these, clearly.  I mean, duh!

Since I wanted a tasty treat for Valentine's Day, and I wanted it to be heart-shaped, naturally, I decided on pink raspberry marshmallows cut into hearts.  But no, I didn't stop there, I then went and dipped them into chocolate, because it seemed like a good - and clever, if I do say so myself - idea.  Because what's better than a homemade marshmallow in the shape of a heart?  Dipping one in chocolate, and covering it with cute decorations!  Which is exactly what I did!

I dipped half in dark chocolate and the other half in milk chocolate.  Then, I drizzled half of each with some white chocolate, for decoration, and then topped those with some mini heart sprinkles in red, pink, and white!

I was so excited about these that I had to actually post this before Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!  

Chocolate-Covered Raspberry Marshmallow Hearts
Raspberry marshmallows originally posted on the blog here


1 cup of water, divided
3 envelopes gelatin, unflavored
2 cups sugar (granulated)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla (which I left out this time, since the last time I made them I forgot it, and I thought they turned out deliciously!)
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 drop red food coloring (I ended up using about 3 drops...could've used a few more)

Generous amount of icing sugar to coat the marshmallows, about 2 cups (icing sugar = powdered sugar)

Butter for pan (I used Pam)

Chocolate for coating the marshmallows - milk, dark, white, or any combination of them
Sprinkles in different shapes and colors (I used mini heart sprinkles and white non pareils)


Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan with butter (or Pam).  You may want to use a slightly larger pan, since the last time I made them they were insanely fluffy and reached the top of my 9 x 9 inch pan.  I wasn't sure which sized pan to use, so I stuck with the 9 x 9 inch pan and then ended up having to slice the marshmallow into 1" thick pieces, coating them in the powdered sugar, and then using my small heart cookie cutter and cutting the hearts out of the sliced marshmallow.

In a small saucepan over medium heat (I was lazy, I microwaved it in 30 second increments), warm 1/4 cup raspberry jam (or any other flavor) until it becomes runny, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Place a fine sieve over a small bowl and pour the warm jam through the sieve to catch any seeds and create a puree.  Set aside for now.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour in 1/2 cup of the water and sprinkle with the gelatin.
Set aside to allow the gelatin to soak in.

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, add the sugar, corn syrup, remaining 1/2 cup of water, and salt.
Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat.
I pour my sugar syrup into a 2-cup measuring cup, which makes it easier and safer to pour into the mixer bowl.

Turn the mixer to low and mix the gelatin once or twice to combine it with the water.
Slowly add the hot sugar mixture by pouring it gently down the side of the bowl, and continue to mix on low.

Add the raspberry puree and one drop of red food coloring.
Turn the mixer to high and continue to whip for 10 to 12 minutes until the marshmallow batter almost triples in size and becomes very thick.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to avoid overflowing batter.
Add additional drops of red food coloring, if needed, until desired color.
Stop the mixer, add the vanilla, and then whip briefly to combine.  Oops, I forgot that.  It's all good, they're super tasty.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and use a spatula or bench scraper to spread it evenly in the pan.
Work quickly, as the marshmallow becomes more difficult to manipulate as it sets.

Grease a piece of plastic wrap with butter (again, I used Pam) and lay it across the top of the marshmallow.
Press firmly on the plastic wrap to seal it smoothly and tightly against the marshmallows.

Leave the marshmallows to set at room temperature for at least 3 hours, or -- even better -- overnight.
The marshmallow will be too sticky and soft to cut before then.

Sprinkle work surface or cutting board with icing sugar.
Run a knife along the top edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow slab.
Invert the pan and flip the marshmallow out onto the work surface.
Scoop handfuls of the icing sugar and rub all over the marshmallow slab.

Spray a small heart cookie cutter (or any other shape that you'd like to make) with Pam.
Cut out marshmallows with the cookie cutter.
Roll each of the freshly cut marshmallows in the remaining icing sugar to coat them completely.

Let the marshmallows dry for about 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

Microwave the chocolate in 30 second increments, until it is melted and thin.
Dip each marshmallow into the chocolate, making sure to remove excess chocolate.  I do this by removing them from the chocolate with one fork, and then transferring it to another fork, and back and forth until most of the excess chocolate has been removed.
Place them on the wax paper-lined baking sheet.
If using sprinkles or decorations, apply them to the wet chocolate.

Let cool and allow the chocolate to harden (I used the fridge for this part) before removing from the wax paper and packaging them up.

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