Sweet Valentine - Heart Shaped Raspberry Marshmallows and Chocolate Lollipops

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About: Hi, I'm Éva from Hungary. I love baking, cooking, and gardening, not to mention the perfect combination: cooking using fruits and veggies from our garden. I often experiment with new ingredients and try to u...

With Valentine's Day coming up I thought I would share with you my idea of chocolate bark adopted to the celebration - chocolate lollipops.

As for marshmallows, to be honest, I was not a big fan of them, until now. It's not made here traditionally, I tried shop - bought ones a couple of times but I was not really impressed. But it's been in the back of my mind for a while that I don't like shop bought cakes either, so making marshmallows at home - no artificial flavors, no artificial coloring - should make a difference. And oh, yes it does! It makes a huge difference. The outcome of my first attempt to make marshmallows exceeded my expectations.

I think that using a sugar thermometer is a must in case of both sweet treats, but otherwise it's no big deal to make them. I faced one problem along the way: removing the baking sheet from the sides of the marshmallow block after it solidified. So if any of you is an expert marshmallow maker here, please let me know the trick.

Step 1: Raspberry Marshmallows

You can see the outcome in the photo, super soft marshmallows, the sweetness slightly balanced by raspberry flavor, the chocolate and the tiny bits of freeze- dried raspberries on top give an extra bonus. Let's get started!

Step 2: You'll Need

Ingredients:

120 g raspberry puree

200 g + 1 tablespoon sugar

50 g icing sugar

50 g corn starch

8+1 gelatin leaves

1 tablespoon glucose syrup

165 ml water

For the decoration:

30 g dark chocolate

1 tablespoon freeze - dried raspberries

a few dried rose petals

Tools (other than common kitchen appliances like saucepans):

piping bag with an end having a small opening

sugar thermometer

heart - shaped cookie cutter

Step 3: Preparation

Soak the gelatin leaves in ice cold water.

I indicated the quantities in the form 8+1 and not 9 on purpose. I advise you to soak 1 leaf in a separate bowl from the others. So 1 goes in one bowl and 8 in another, yet take good care to place them in one by one, otherwise they tend to stick together and they won't get soaked properly.

Step 4: Raspberry Puree

This summer we had loads of raspberries coming from our garden and we ended up blending and freezing them. You may start with fresh or frozen whole berries.

Put a raspberry puree (or the raspberries) into a saucepan add 1 tablespoon sugar and start heating it until the sugar melts (and juice starts to accumulate when talking about whole berries, then puree it using a hand blender). From here on, procedure is identical in both cases.

Work it through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. Squeeze the gelatin leaf (1), add it to the warm puree, help it dissolve by stirring it. Set it aside.

Step 5: Marshmallow - Starting Point

Add the sugar, the glucose and the water in a saucepan and on high heat cook until it reaches 120 Celsius degrees. For this purpose I recommend to use a sugar thermometer, a simple one is just perfect. Remember that the thermometer should not touch the bottom of the saucepan, we need the temperature of the liquid and not that of the dish. My experience is that every single time I work with sugar syrup I get to the point when I think that the temperature will never get to 120 as numbers on the thermometer seem to stop and at some times even fall back. But don"t give up, it will. The key is really high heat.

Step 6: The Egg White

Meanwhile, it's time to beat the egg white into a fluffy mousse. If you have an efficient stand mixer it is enough to start whisking the egg white when the temperature of the syrup reaches 90-100 C. The aim is to have a nice and stiff foam approximately at the same time when the syrup reaches the desired temperature. So whisk the egg white (no mistake, you need just 1) first on medium then on high speed until peaks are formed when lifting the mixer head. Mix continuously till you add the syrup (next step).

Step 7: Back to the Syrup

Squeeze the water out of your gelatin leaves (8) ad one by one add them to the hot sugar syrup. Combine well.

While mixing the egg white, add the hot syrup pouring it slowly in a way that it flows down on the wall of the mixer bowl. If you pour it straight on, the structure of the foam will be ruined. You will see the foam absorbing the syrup, it will visibly increase in volume and will be thick and shiny. Keep beating until it cools completely (check by touching the outside of the bowl)!

Put parchment paper into a 20x20 cm bowl, spread half of the icing sugar and the corn starch evenly.

Step 8: Raspberry Time!

Remove the foam from the wires of the whisk, pour over the raspberry and loosely fold it. You don't have to be precise. Spread the mixture evenly in the form prepared. Set it aside, let it dry overnight.

Now, in order to follow the chronological order I jump onto chocolate lollipops, for finishing touches, go to step 16.

Step 9: Chocolate Lollipops

Easiest thing on earth to make, yet they look so beautiful!

I love bonbons. Not only eating but also making them. Cleaning up in the end can give me a hard time, so more and more often I go for a simplified version that tastes just as good but is a real timesaver, chocolate barks. This time I gave it another twist and transformed the recipe into chocolate lollipops. What's more, it can be a gastro gift for chocolate lovers, it looks so appealing. This is my favorite color combination - red berries and green matcha swirls, and with Valentines coming up it also gave me a chance to be seasonal.

If you have all the ingredients on hand it's no more than a 30 minutes work in the kitchen plus the waiting time.

Note:

- consider this recipe as a suggestion in respect of the topping (any nuts, dried or freeze-dried fruits or veggies like carrots or beets for those of you looking for an adventure, or small pieces of caramel). For this reason I am not giving you quantities either. Feel free to scatter as much over your chocolate as you like.

- Using a sugar thermometer is a must. If you overheat your chocolate the cocoa butter will be separated and the shininess will be gone. So take a good care of the temperatures.

Step 10: You'll Need

Ingredients:
250 g Black chocolate chips

White chocolate chopped

2 teaspoon Matcha powder

Freeze- dried raspberries

Freeze - dried strawberries

pink peppercorns

Some smoked Maldon salt

Utensils:

Sugar thermometer - or a kitchen thermometer that can be put in the chocolate and can measure max 44 Celsius

Saucepan (not a big one, I used one with 22cm diameter)

Metal bowl that sits perfectly on top of the saucepan

Silicone spatula

Parchment paper

Step 11: Tempering Chocolate

Take roughly 2/3 of your chocolates (use good quality dark chocolate) put it in a metal bowl that sits perfectly on top of your saucepan. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water to boil then melt the chocolate on low heat. Measure the temperature constantly, remove the bowl from the heat when it gets to 41-43 Celsius. (pic 1-3)

Add the rest of the chocolate take it to a cool place (I do this on the terrace at this time of the year - the biggest fridge ever) then combine and keep stirring till the temperature lowers to 26 C. Put it back on the heat until it reaches 31-33 C (pic 4-6).

Step 12:

Prepare your piping bag by clipping the front side so that the chocolate won't flow straight out when filling from the other end. I usually put the piping bag into a high mixer bowl if I don"t have anyone around to hold it for me. Fill in the chocolate.

Step 13:

Cut 2 20 cm wide pieces from the parchment paper. I used a cookie cutter to draw hearts, their bottom should point towards the side of the paper. Then turn the sheets upside down so that the chocolate won" t get into touch with the traces of your pen / pencil and with tape, stick the sheets to the countertop.

Step 14: The Fun Starts

Remove the clip from the piping bag, and start spreading chocolate on the parchment paper following the heart samples. It's your choice to make full chocolate hearts, or to leave the chocolate lines you draw visible. Then press the popsicle sticks and add the toppings, as much as you like.Finish off by covering the part of the popsicle stick on the chocolate heart with some more chocolate.

To make the green swirls, gently melt 25 g white chocolate (put it in a microwave for 20 seconds then stir and keep doing this until it completely melts), then add matcha tea powder - about 1 teaspoon should be enough. It depends on the tone of the green you like.

Step 15: Patience

Depending on the the thickness of the chocolate it takes a couple of hours waiting until they can be safely removed from the parchment paper.

Step 16: Cutting and Decorating Marshmallows

I had some chocolate in the piping bag that I did not use for the lollipops, so I gently reheated it, put it in a small bowl in hot water. If you have no more chocolate left, then met your black chocolate as described earlier.

Then spread the other half of the icing sugar and the corn starch on a tray, turn the marshmallow block on top and pull the parchment paper off. I needed a knife to loosen it on the sides.

Using a cookie cutter, cut hearts, line them up on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with chocolate (with a teaspoon or a piping bag), freeze-dried raspberries and bits of rose petals.

Step 17: Ready!

Give them as a gift for Valentine or any other time!

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